After a sophomore campaign in which Trindon Holliday worked to the tune of 364 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 53 carries, No. 8 became a jersey that offensive coordinator Gary Crowton rarely called on. As a junior last fall, Holliday finished with 21 carries and no scores - never touching the ball more than three times in a game all season.
Head coach Les Miles has made it clear throughout the offseason that Holliday would get more touches, specifically out of the backfield. Miles kept Holliday with running backs coach Larry Porter throughout the spring, and the senior has yet to stray from the group this fall.
Yet, how will the carries go around? When matched alongside Charles Scott, Keiland Williams, Richard Murphy, Mike Ford, Drayton Calhoun, Stevan Ridley, Richard Dugas and Dominique Allen this spring, it becomes evident that Crowton has a plethora of options to move into the fold.
According to Holliday, you can pick anyone from the bunch and the job will get done.
“All these guys are just good,” he said. “Everyone comes out and we are positive when we practice, and that matters. Now, we have to get the wedges lined up and get all our timing right, but I like where we are at. There is just a lot of talent.”
When the carries will end up in the hands of No. 8 remains a mystery – just like most information from the Tiger staff this time of year. For Holliday, however, acknowledgment that he is part of the mix is all that matters.
“Just knowing that I had a role was something that I have been waiting on,” Holliday said. “I just wanted my fair share of touches in the game. This year, I think that will happen for me.”
To make sure it happened, the NCAA reigning 100-meter champion took his business straight to the headman.
“I went and sat down with coach Miles for a meeting, and I let him know that I felt I could make a difference by touching the ball more, especially out of the backfield,” Holliday said. “[Miles] heard me out, and he is trying to make the best out of a good situation.”
While Holliday said that he prefers to run behind the bigger fullbacks out of the I-formation, taking the ball on sweeps and the likes will certainly come. No matter, the message to Tiger fans is clear: get ready.
“I want everyone to know that it is going to be something special when I touch the ball,” Holliday said. “I told myself that no matter what ever happened with track I was going to stay and finish four years of football, so this is my time.”
Though he lobbied to the staff for quarterback Jordan Jefferson to hand him the ball more, Holliday’s special teams duties remain the same. While Williams shared the return role with the speedster in the past, safety Ron Brooks will step into the spot for the first time. When asked how the pair looked thus far, Holliday could only smile.
“Just get ready,” he laughed. “That is all I can say.”