Position Preview: Running Back

A look at the running backs for Syracuse football entering the 2015 season.

Returning Starters: None.

Projected Starter: DeVante McFarlane

Top Reserves: George Morris, Jordan Fredericks

Biggest Question Mark: Can Devante McFarlane and George Morris carry the load? As freshmen just a couple of years ago, both McFarlane and Morris flashed a lot of ability. Many thought the running back position would be in great hands going forward. Enter their junior seasons, and both remain unproven. Both still have question marks surrounding them. This is their year to shine. With Fredericks emerging behind them and other talented backs like Dontae Strickland waiting in the wings, the time is now for McFarlane and Morris. The question is, are they ready to be the main guys?

Most Important Player: Devante McFarlane. He is the starter, and will therefore likely receive the majority of the carries. Both Morris and Fredericks will get their share as well, but it is important that McFarlane establishes himself right away. That takes pressure off of the other backs and gives the Orange a runner they can trust. A solid running game takes pressure off of the quarterback and allows the offense to run a lot of counters and playaction.

Outlook for 2015 Season: Syracuse had an average rushing attack last season, but are looking to ramp things up this year. New offensive coordinator Tim Lester is looking for a more downhill approach, which could yield more productivity. Most likely, the 2015 season will see Syracuse rotating multiple backs and incorporating the h-backs into the mix as well.

What will constitute a successful season for this position group: A successful season will see this running backs total over 1,000-yards on the ground, average over four yards per carry, limit fumbles and hit double digit touchdowns as a group. Receiving consistency from McFarlane and Morris while having Fredericks show the same flashes that he has during training camp scrimmages.


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