Abdullah's workload

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah's carries are already piling up.

LINCOLN, Neb. - Through six games, Nebraska junior running back Ameer Abdullah has carried the ball 114 times. If Abdullah has the same amount of carries in the Huskers' last six contests of the regular season compared to the first half of the year, he would have two more carries than he did last season – not counting a possible Big Ten Championship game and bowl appearance.

Abdullah's number of carries is quickly racking up and on Tuesday, running back coach Ron Brown was asked how the Alabama native's workload might be handled going down the stretch.

"It's really hard to predict, you really don't go into a game saying ‘this is the number of carries this guy is going to get,'" said Brown. "It's sort of the flow of the game. I try to work it out so that there is pretty good distribution. I want Ameer carrying the ball the number of times he does. I don't want him to get too few carries, I want him to get the flow of the game and some rhythm. But I want those other guys to make sure they aren't wearing him out and to get some work as well."

Brown, who's in his third year as a running back coach, has seen how a high amount of carries can affect a running back over the long haul.

"There is a attrition, especially in this conference. This might be the best run defense conference in America arguably," said Brown. "It's very physical. I saw what 30 carries [a game] did to Rex and Ameer has done it three or four times in his career. There are times a guy is hot and you want to keep them in, but even though you are tempted and want to do that, you have to get those other guys in and take some hits off of him to stay fresh. It's a long season."

Nebraska has always been a school who has asked their number one running back to be a guy capable of handling a big portion of the game plan. Because of this, Brown looks for a special player when recruiting the position.

"One of things I look for in running backs during the recruiting process is I want gym rats. I want workout freaks," said Brown. "I want guys who have a chance to be lifter of the year. Because if they have this, I know they have a work ethic. I don't want a lazy streak in my room at all. The lazy people in my room will eventually want to leave. You get a like a guy Ameer who's busting his tail all the time, Imani [Cross], C.J. [Zimmerer], Jano [Andy Janovich], all those guys are constantly working out.

"The big thing I want to do is to teach them how to train. I don't want them to over train. I would rather teach them how to back-off as a coach. If I have to spur on a guy, it usually spells trouble. I want a guy who's got a tremendous work ethic."

Currently Abdullah is rushing for 7.1 yards per carry and has already 816 yards.

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Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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