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Projecting the Depth Chart: Running Backs

The two guys at the top are locked in, but there will still be a few carries that don’t go to Gerrid Doaks and Michael Warren II.

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Losing your starting running back would usually put an offense into a bit of a bind entering a new season. For the Cincinnati Bearcats, that is not exactly the case. Thanks to the promising freshman debuts of Gerrid Doaks and Michael Warren II, the backfield is in good hands in the wake of Mike Boone’s graduation.

Even with familiar faces back to man the running back posts, that doesn’t mean there won’t be some changes to the personnel supporting them. Doug Phillips’ role on the coaching staff has changed for this year, as he is no longer special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. He is now an assistant with responsibility for the running backs. We’ve already gone over who Phillips will be working with, but now its time to take a peak at what to expect in terms of playing time and depth chart positioning.

Definite Starter

Gerrid Doaks

It would be pretty foolish for the Bearcats to start anyone besides Doaks in 2018, assuming he is able to fully heal from a shoulder injury. As a freshman, he led the Bearcats in rushing yards and averaged a very pleasing 5.9 yards per carry. He is going to get a big workload in 2018. Based on what we saw last year, he will be more than capable of handling it.

Position Battles

While Doaks is the surefire No. 1 back, Warren is definitely the No. 2 back, or the No. 1B if you will. Both will take on the bulk of the rushing duties, but there will still be some opportunities behind them. That’s where the real competition can be found. Finding a No. 3 back will involve testing out some veterans like Taylor Boose but also throwing promising recruits like Charles McClelland and Tavion Thomas into the deep end early on. It certainly worked last year with Doaks and Warren.

Final Projection

Starter - Gerrid Doaks

Backup - Michael Warren II

Third-String - Taylor Boose

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tom Groeschen, Boose played well in a recent scrimmage and that, coupled with strong work in camp, could help him win more playing time than some of the true freshman. Additionally, Doaks and Warren II both seem well on their way to big years and you could easily put Warren in as the lead back if need be. Expect plenty of opportunities for both of them.