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USF last in big east at RB position?


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Time to get back to our post-spring position rankings, with running back next up. Remember, we're looking for stars and depth here:

1. Pittsburgh: The Panthers have the Big East's offensive player of the year returning in Dion Lewis, who rushed for 1,799 yards and 17 scores a year ago. Backup Ray Graham, who averaged 5.7 yards per carry, could start for most teams. Henry Hynoski should be the best fullback in the league this year. That's enough to merit the No. 1 spot here.

2. West Virginia: Noel Devine alone would earn the Mountaineers a lofty ranking. But don't forget about bruising fullback/tailback Ryan Clarke, who had eight touchdowns a year ago. Throw in Shawne Alston and Daquan Hargrett, and West Virginia is loaded in the backfield. And that's not even counting Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders, who are considered wide receivers for the purposes of these rankings but who could easily move into running back roles.

3. Connecticut: Jordan Todman (1,188 yards) was the third-leading rusher in the Big East last season. The Huskies are high on Meme Wylie and Robbie Frey, and Martin Hyppolite and Jonathan Jean-Louis could contribute. Fullback Anthony Sherman has 21 career starts. And that UConn offensive line always makes its ballcarriers look good.

4. Cincinnati: I think this is the year that Isaiah Pead takes off and becomes a real star. John Goebel's return adds experience to the backfield, while Darrin Williams is a playmaking spark plug. The only question is how much the Bearcats want to run the ball.

5. Syracuse: Uncertainty over Delone Carter's status -- he has been suspended at least until the fall semester -- makes the Orange a tough team to rank at running back. With Carter, who was a 1,000-yard back last year, Syracuse has a frontline workhorse plus two versatile guys in Antwon Bailey and Averin Collier. Without him, this unit is average at best.

6. Louisville: When healthy, Victor Anderson is one of the best backs in the Big East. He went over 1,000 yards and was the league's newcomer of the year in 2008. He was plagued by injuries last season and was still recovering this spring. If he's back to form, the Cardinals will have a solid trio with Bilal Powell and Jeremy Wright also in the mix. That doesn't count Darius Ashley, whose move to cornerback this spring may be permanent.

7. Rutgers: I put the Scarlet Knights this low despite the return of Joe Martinek, who nearly ran for 1,000 yards last year. But he was far from an explosive runner, and Rutgers averaged just 3.6 yards per carry last season (hurt, no doubt, by a subpar run-blocking offensive line). This backfield needs more playmakers, whether that's from an improved Martinek, a more experienced De'Antwan Williams or one of the speedy freshmen arriving this summer.

8. South Florida: The departure of Jamar Taylor was the latest setback to a position that lacks proven depth. The Bulls will begin the year with a starting tailback (Mo Plancher) who gained just 581 yards last season, and a backup (Demetris Murray) who has 14 career carries. On the flip side, South Florida running backs haven't been given much of a shot to establish themselves under the previous, quarterback-heavy offensive schemes. Perhaps that will change under Skip Holtz, who wants his backs to do more.

I don't think they are the worse, but they are the least proven group.

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USF last in big east at RB position ? .

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I think Syracuse and Louisville and maybe cincy will end up in the bottom 3 at the end of the year.

We just have a lot of unproven RBs and I think Mike Hayes will help upgrade that position quite nicely.

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It's preseason stuff, so don't put much stock in it.

We did lose, IMO, two of our best running backs (on paper). Plancher and Murray are now the guys to go to. Hayes and the others should contribute as well. We'll know a little in Week 1 as I'm sure they'll try to get 3-4 of them in there to see who does the best, but we may not have an established go to runner until Week 3 or 4 (I won't expect tons of cues to come from the UF game anyways).

Syracuse, while not being that good of a team, did have a decent running game last year, it just wasn't super explosive. Carter got over 1K yards though, he was the workhorse.

Louisville has a good running game, when healthy.

Cincinnati's running game was alright last year, but Butch Jones will run a lot more.

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that will changeas usf's days of running gimmick offense is over

holtz will have balanced attack once he can recruit his players

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Guest Scherdin

It's preseason stuff, so don't put much stock in it.

+1, but the article is right from a RB position...our leading runner has been a QB the last 4 years, so no one should be shocked.

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