Spring Football Analysis: RB

Spring football is over. We learned a lot about the team during their last 15 practices. CanesTime's Mike Bakas breaks it down, focusing on the running backs in this piece.

Gus Edwards had a tremendous opportunity from the start of spring due to the injuries to Miami's other scholarship running backs. He made the most of it. Edwards came to Miami with an impressive combination of size and speed but he didn't really capitalize too much on his chances as a true freshman in 2013. He wasn't running behind his pads and just didn't show signs of being a natural runner.
Those things changed some this spring. He ran with better pad level, he broke more tackles by looking like a more physical runner, and he saw the holes better. He's still very limited in terms of his ability to catch passes from the backfield but he showed signs of being more than just a short-yardage option for the Canes. He ran it 19 times for 70 yards in the spring game. He's not going to be a game-breaker but he's a kid Miami could really use to become a workhorse, as someone who can effectively spell the guys ahead of him.

De'Andre Johnson came to Miami as a walkon after spending time at Iowa as a scholarship player. He saw an increased opportunity this spring but didn't really capitalize. He wasn't able to assert himself as a legit option during the spring and finished the spring game with just 11 yards on five carries.

Walter Tucker has a very impressive combination of size, speed, and athleticism. He came here as a linebacker but was quickly moved over to offense where he spent time at both running back and fullback this spring. He's a kid who can run, catch, and block but isn't a great blocker yet so he might have a hard time seeing the field a whole lot, especially early in the season. He had 36 yards and a score on 11 carries in the spring game. He'll need more time to prove where he's most valuable and to give the coaches time to find out what his exact role will be.

Duke Johnson and Joseph Yearby are clearly the two most talented running backs on Miami's roster. Johnson, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury against Florida State last season, was back on the field in a non-contact role toward the end of spring. He's up to 210 pounds and is expected to be 100-percent for the start of fall camp.
Yearby suffered a similiar injury in November. One of Dade County's most productive runners in recent history, Yearby was recruited nationally and has similar ability to Johnson. He's expected to play a key role in 2014.


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