Logjam at running back?

Logjam at running back?

Colorado running back Rodney Stewart is 1,197 yards from becoming the leading rusher in school history, but it appears he will have a lot of competition for playing time during his senior year and might not be able to be on the field enough to set that mark. Get inside for more analysis of the CU backfield.

Colorado is likely to sign two running backs in the 2011 class to add to a decent group of backs already in the program. Assuming there are two new additions and the current cast remains with the program with no position changes, there should be at least seven scholarship running backs on the roster when fall camp opens in August.

With those kinds of numbers, it's a virtual certainty that Stewart won't be carrying the ball 290 times again next season as he did in 2010. It was the second highest number of carries in a season in CU history, trailing only Rashaan Salaam's 298 in 1994.

Colorado received an oral commitment over the weekend from Rashad Hall, a product of Oak Ridge Military Academy in North Carolina. The program also is hoping for a commitment from Malcolm Creer, a tailback from Pacific Palisades, Calif. Both would be expected to play running back in Boulder.

They would join a group that includes Stewart and fellow senior-to-be Brian Lockridge as well as redshirt freshmen Cordary Allen, Trea Jones and Tony Jones.

That's a solid group of players for new offensive coordinator and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy to tutor, and we haven't even mentioned walk-ons such as Quentin Hildreth and Josh Ford, both of whom were listed as running backs on the roster at the end of the 2010 season.

Colorado will be looking for a couple fullbacks to emerge from a group of players who will give the position a try in spring ball. Maybe one of the bigger backs can make the move to blocking back. Maybe not.

Coach Jon Embree has made it no secret that he won't tolerate miscues off the field or poor performance in the classroom. There is no reason to think any of the players mentioned would have an issue there, but overall numbers could fall if one or more players does have a problem in the coming months.

It's also possible that a recruit could fail to qualify. Football program sources have indicated that Hall is a borderline prospect academically in his final semester of high school.

Embree also has made it clear that spring ball won't be easy. How will those running backs react to a more physical style of play and more aggressive practices under Embree? One would think football players would love that change, and challenge, but it's another unknown at this point.

The bottom line is that it's always better to have too many good players at any position than not enough of them. Colorado fans know that all too well from the recent past.

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