WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — If he could, Dave Clawson would have to consider wrapping Cade Carney and Rocky Reid up like a Christmas present with a note saying, “Do not open until Sept. 1.”
Clawson always says that it’s impossible to have too many running backs, and that’s holding out to be true, as Reid and Carney are the last two standing for the time being.
Clearly he needs someone available when the Deacs open the season at home against Tulane in less than a month.
True freshman Arkeem Byrd missed practice Tuesday with a minor quad issues, and according to Clawson sophomore running back Matt Colburn is “going to be out for a little bit.”
That’s in addition to returning frequent starter from last year Tyler Bell missing roughly the first couple weeks of practice and Isaiah Robinson being dinged up.
The Deacs have went from six competing at tailback to just two.
“Instead of it being a four-way role, it was a two-way role, and those guys got a lot of work,” Clawson said Tuesday after practice.
But the good news is not only will most of those guys be back in the mix soon, but that Carney has thrived since arriving on campus in the spring as an early enrollee.
“Obviously, it’s fast when you jump in like that, but we have upperclassmen who understand what it’s like to play young,” Carney said. “So whether it’s taking time to hit the meeting room with me, or coming out here and working. It’s great that those guys know the situation we’re in, and that I need to come on faster than most guys. I appreciate those guys working with me. That’s been the biggest help, is the supporting class of upperclassmen working with me.”
He feels he’s positioned himself well with the work he’s put in, but know there are other talented backs in the mix as well.
“I’ve done the best I could. You see where we’re at. We’re down to three or four guys. Me and Rocky (Reid) are getting close to 50 percent of the reps each,” he said. “It’s great practice to work with the 1s and go live in practice. I feel like I’ve competed the best I could, so we’ll see what happens. Stay healthy.”
Carney’s default style is that of a bruising back that often prefers to go through opponents instead of around them. It’ll be interesting to see if that style continues to be successful when the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Carney meets top-level ACC defenses.
“I try to play my style, and it tends to be a little more downhill,” he said. “I have to work on missing guys.”