I was able to attend some practices in the Spring and got this video of OC Thomas Brown previewing this very topic. Listen here to what he had to say.
OC/RB coach Thomas Brown on RBs @TheStateOfTheU @Big3Rollup pic.twitter.com/nMqSSMxcG1— Kev Shapiro (@561_Kev) March 23, 2017
When it comes to the Miami rushing attack for the upcoming season the first name that will come up is Mark Walton. The Junior running back will have his work cut out for him this upcoming season. I can tell you that he looks the part and is ready. Walton came into the Spring looking like he has been eating weights since the last time we saw him in December. I can say without losing any quickness or speed. Walton is a touchdown machine and is only 13 touchdowns away from becoming the Canes’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns. With 161 carries gone from last year ( 102 from Joseph Yearby and 59 from Gus Edwards) Walton is expected to get a ton of work this season. I expect him to exceed his 209 carries from last season for 2 reasons. One reason is that Miami will be breaking in a new quarterback and we all know a quarterback’s best friend is an effective run game. The second reason is because behind Walton there are only 30 carries behind him and 23 of those are from the 2015 season from Trayone Gray.
The other 7 are from sophomore Travis Homer. I am a big fan of Homer. He has the ability to take it to the house and every single touch. For my money Travis was the best running back recruit in the state of Florida in the 2016 and 2017 class. In his first game last season against FAMU he fumbled a football. Some think that is why he didn’t get a lot of carries last season. I just think he had upper classmen ahead of him and was waiting his turn. When I say “waiting his turn” I mean being one of our best special teams players on the team. A lot of players might have hung their heads but Trav took advantage of any opportunity and thrived. I expect Homer to be in the mix a ton this we will season. 75+ carries is a reasonable expectation.
Robert Burns the talented freshman can also make some noise if he is healthy. Anyone who follows high school football knows how talented he is. His problem has been availability. Burns has had injuries to his foot, ankle and knees in the past that have kept him off of the field.
Mark Walton will be the work horse for the offena the passing game. Walton has put in the work with Coach Felder to be able to carry the ball 230-250 times this season. Between Trayone Gray, Travis Homer and Robert Burns they will have to get close to 125-140 carries to spell Waton at times.
Walton has played special teams in the past. I am interested to see if they continue to use him in that role given his expected work load.