This is the approximate moment when the Cincinnati Bearcats running back by committee approach died a slow and terrible death (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
With two games in the books it is now possible to take some of those long held preseason assumptions behind the shed with a shotgun. The first to meet its fate? The Running Back by committee. With the loss of Isaiah Pead, and what was assumed to be rebuilding offensive line, the position was thought to be ripe for competition.
That has not been the case through two games. George Winn has quietly put together and phenomenal start to the season. He has 35 attempts and 242 yards through two games, and he is getting the lions share of the carries so far. There was, likely, never to be a true three way split. Ralph Abernathy IV is simply too small to get 10 or 15 straight carries, that and he is so much more dangerous as a receiver. Jameel Poteat hasn't been completely healthy. This has been a golden opportunity for George Winn, and he has taken advantage of it, emphatically.
The thought has occurred to me, and it has surely occurred to Mike Bajakian and Butch Jones, that George Winn might just be too good to take off the field. There is plenty of evidence to support to make the point, if you want to. For example Winn is on pace to have 39 runs of 10+ yards this year,* last year Isaiah Pead had 36 such runs.
* Admittedly with a very small sample size.
But its a tricky decision to make because Poteat and Abernathy will be the guys going forward, and to be effective they will need to get live game reps. At current rates Poteat and RDA4 will wind up combining for just short of 200 carries, 182 to be precise. Which would be good, but Winn is on pace for 227.
And you can argue that either could produce at Winn's level, if given similar chances. Though RDA4 won't get those chances, because he is so small. Poteat is the one to watch in this for my money. He is quite clearly chock full of potential, but he needs more reps. It will be his position after this year, that much is certain, but my personally held assumption that he would be starting by the Louisville game is clearly miles off course, and drifting further. Winn is simply playing right now at a level that I never expected him to reach.