This season, the runningback position is arguably Miami’s most loaded on offense. Travis Homer, Deejay Dallas and Lorenzo Lingard all figure to get a big chunk of touches in 2018. That doesn’t even include talented freshman Cam’ron Davis and RS freshman Robert Burns. This no doubt means a huge season, filled with long touchdown scampers and plenty of SportsCenter worthy plays right?
Unfortunately, the success at the position of runningback goes hand in hand with that of the offensive line. If the line creates holes and can consistently block well for Miami’s talented batch of ballcarriers, then a big season could be in the books. And if they can’t? Then that might be what the worst case scenario looks like. Here is what that, the best case and the most likely scenario should look like for the 2018 group of rushers.
Best Case Scenario
Miami’s runningbacks dominate the opposition, regardless of what the offensive line does. Homer gets the bulk of the carries as the all-around back and respected vet and does a great job in pass protection. In addition to churning out consistent yardage down after down, he manages to keep Malik Rosier upright.
Lorenzo Lingard shows flashes of greatness, displaying his combination of speed and power that could make him the starter in 2019. He’ll have moments where he looks like the best back on the roster and could very well turn games in the Canes’ favor.
Deejay Dallas is the X-factor, able to change games in a blink and shift momentum with his Alvin Kamara-esque ability. Not only is Dallas explosive, with tremendous speed, agility and acceleration, but he has great balance and power in his running style.
Rosier doesn’t need to do too much and the Canes’ ride to an ACC Championship appearance on the backs of their rushers.
Worst Case Scenario
The backs are badly beset by ineffective run blocking and the general inconsistencies of the offensive line. Travis Homer is solid but can’t churn out big plays on the ground with enough regularity. He’s a solid but unspectacular starter for Miami.
Dallas doesn’t take the next step forward and is a bit too impatient in his rushing, leading to a lot of runs for loss. He has the athleticism to make plays here and there but they are too few and far between. Lingard doesn’t show he’s ready for primetime yet and has a difficult time adjusting to the college game.
The Canes’ have a running game that can’t take pressure off the passing game and the entire offense suffers for it.
Alternatively, injuries strike the position hard and Miami has to turn to inexperienced players like Burns and Davis to be the primary ballcarriers. The results are similar.
Mark Richt has proven he will give his veterans first crack at the starting job and Homer does exactly that. He’s as solid as last season but doesn’t show the same playmaking potential that Dallas and Lingard do in their touches. Homers maintains a steady role all season but eventually cedes it to Dallas or Lingard.
Dallas is an all-purpose threat and makes plays both out wide and in the backfield. Richt dials up more touches for him, like the wildcat he ran expertly in limited opportunities, and he proves to be one of the best two or three playmakers on the team.
Lingard is the perfect change of pace back for the offense and makes his own plays here and there. He isn’t a big part of the offense just yet but looks to compete for the starting job in 2019.
Miami’s ground game proves stronger than the pass game but not quite so overwhelmingly dominant on a consistent basis. The o-line has good games and bad and Richt needs to shift through his runners to find who’s running hot and who’s running cold. Miami’s offense looks a lot like last years, but likely a little improved.