Four Running Backs, One Ball

CORAL GABLES – Javarris James has emerged out of a crowded Miami backfield.

After rushing for 148 yards in Saturday's 14-13 win over Houston, James has solidified his spot as the top tailback on the team.

James, a true freshman from Immokalee and the younger cousin on Edgerrin James, had six carries of at least 10 yards including a 44-yard run on a key third down. In his 18 carries he did not have a rush for negative yardage.

"Obviously Javarris James is a special player," Coach Larry Coker said.

While James has emerged, senior Tyrone Moss has plummeted on the depth chart.

Moss, ranked 12th on UM's all-time rushing list with 1,741 yards with 25 rushing touchdowns, did not play in the game while three backs played ahead of him.

"I felt like he wasn't ready to play from the standpoint of physically he has some concerns," said Coker who made the decision not to play Moss during the game.

Moss suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 5, 2005 against Virginia Tech and was the leading rusher in the ACC at the time with 701 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games.

Although Moss suffered the injury just 11 months ago, he has rushed for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns this season on 15 carries. In the last game against Louisville he had seven carries for 20 yards and UM's lone touchdown.

However, Moss is clearly not in UM's plans right now as he sat on the same spot on the bench for the majority of the game with a towel over his head.

"You can't get everybody ready and our two best backs now are Javarris James and Charlie Jones so they are going to get the bulk of the work," Coker said. "We need to play the best combination to win games, this is not the time to experiment."

With James earning his first career start, he took the place of Charlie Jones, who started the last seven games.

Jones rushed for 402 yards and 7 touchdowns in the seven starts failing to rush for 100 yards in a single game while averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

Against Houston, Jones rushed for 46 yards on 14 carries with 27 yards receiving on four receptions.

"I was really impressed with the way Charlie Jones came in and contributed," Coker said. "He came in during key times for us and contributed."

Derron Thomas, UM's fastest and quickest back, came off the bench to finish the game as UM was trying to run out the clock. He had Miami's final three rushing attempts and picked up 23 yards.

"Derron actually brings another little dimension to the table," said Coker as Thomas is averaging 9.4 yards per carry this season. "Obviously he has a lot of speed and quickness. He is not as physical as the other two, but Derron is a good player.

"Again, you just can't get everybody ready and everybody snaps."

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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