Michigan to use Multiple Running Backs

Michigan to use Multiple Running Backs

STORY: Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said U-M would like to use multiple backs this season. ***Read Inside***

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier didn't name a leader for the starting running back today – but he did say the Wolverines will be running by committee next season.

"You would like to use multiple backs," Nussmeier said. "I think if you look at the pounding that the running backs take these days, and how physical the game is, one back carrying the load all the time makes it awfully difficult to stay healthy and sustain success over a season. I think you can accomplish the same things and get more guys touches."

To say Michigan struggled running the ball last season is an understatement, the Wolverines finished 11th in the Big Ten in rushing and averaged125.7 yards per game. And with the departure of Fitzgerald Toussaint to graduation, sophomore's Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith are the early favorites to get the touches next season.

"When you look at this group as a whole, we really haven't (got an) established a runner," Nussmeier said. "There is a group of running backs right now. And that will be an interesting competition to watch develop. I think those guys have worked extremely hard. They're learning the system.

"And the younger players, you're talking about Derrick (Green), you're talking about a true freshman playing, anytime you do that – it's difficult. You don't want to make too much of an evaluation, cause you know there is still a lot growth in the player."

Offensive Line growth could go a long way into Nussmeier getting his offense where he envisions them to be. But at the moment, he says it's about fitting the right "pieces" in the "puzzle."

"Obviously, you try to plug guys in and out," Nussmeier said. "And in spring ball it's really trying to find the pieces of the puzzle. And then put the puzzle together as we get into the fall. Right now with injuries and those type of things, you're a little limited with the guys not being able to go full speed or go through all the reps. What we're trying to do is develop depth within our offensive team."

And part of that development, is learning the base system of the offense.

"You have to start from a teaching premise," Nussmeier said. "You have to start form a base system. And so maybe some of the plays we are running here in the first day or two, may not be plays we major in as we move forward, they're the base of the foundation. You got to start with the foundation and then will grow from there."

Michigan's spring game is scheduled for April 5.

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