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Who Should Be the Backup RB in 2017?

There are more than a few candidates for the job.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Tulsa Joey Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Spoiler alert. Mike Boone is going to be the starting running back for the Cincinnati Bearcats this season. Of that I am certain. Even if he had a down year in 2016, he’s the most experienced and talented back on the roster now that Tion Green is gone, so the job is his.

But the Bearcats have made a habit of featuring more than one running back heavily in the offense. It’s possible that that was just a symptom of Tommy Tuberville-itis, but in 2015, Hosey Williams, Green and Boone each had at least 100 carries and 700 yards. In 2014, Boone and Rod Moore each had at least 100 carries and 600 yards. In 2013, Williams had 655 yards, Ralph David Abernathy IV had 518 and Green had 412. Are you seeing the trend? Good. You get a gold star.

A new offensive scheme may change things up, but we can be certain that Boone won’t record every single carry for UC in 2017. Now that Green and Boone can no longer be partners, the Bearcats have to figure out who will be the second option on the ground. Who should win that competition?

Gerrid Doaks appears to be the leading candidate. He redshirted in 2016 after coming to UC as a three-star recruit. With Boone and Green holding court, not to mention Deionte Buckley and Chad Banschbach hanging around, there wasn’t a lot of chances for newcomers, and Doaks was a victim of that. However, he didn’t just rest on his laurels and wait for a chance to open up. He practiced hard and ended up being named the co-offensive scout team player of the year. It’s not the Heisman Trophy, but its a nice thing to add to the resume, especially with a new coach coming in.

But Doaks isn’t going to just run away (get it? GET IT?!) with the role. Taylor Boose certainly wouldn’t let that happen, especially considering how fast the redshirt sophomore running back is. Boose actually played in four games last season and got a handful of carries while averaging 4.5 yards per attempt in a microscopic sample size. He was also a three-star recruit like Doaks and rated as the 2015 class’ No. 67 running back.

If Fickell decides to start from scratch completely, he’s got two pretty good freshmen he could lean on. While it seems unlikely that either Jaelen Greene or Michael Warren II will eclipse Doaks and Boose, its not out of the question yet. Greene is the quicker back, while Warren II is more of a goal line pounder. Each would present a unique skill set to the offense, with Warren probably a better change of pace to Boone.

As Fickell and new offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock plan their strategy for the season, they might be best served by giving all of these guys a shot or turning to whoever they feel has the higher ceiling. If you were Fickell, who would you go with?

Poll

Who should be the backup running back?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Gerrid Doaks
    (26 votes)
  • 26%
    Taylor Boose
    (13 votes)
  • 20%
    Michael Warren II
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaelen Greene
    (0 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now

And who do you think has the higher ceiling?

Poll

Which RB has the higher ceiling?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Gerrid Doaks
    (9 votes)
  • 19%
    Taylor Boose
    (8 votes)
  • 43%
    Michael Warren II
    (18 votes)
  • 14%
    Jaelen Greene
    (6 votes)
41 votes total Vote Now