Got to love **** like that. When I was in Atlanta in 2019, my girlfriend and I were walking around Midtown and a guy rode his bike past us and said go Irish. So I yelled back 41-8 bud.I love walking through Wal-Mart in one of my U shirts and getting a snide remark from a VT fan.
Considering the fact that bith RBs are giing to touch the ball. Also, whoever is running the best will get the ball. So what does this story try to accomplish besides BJ trying to fill in space during a slow news period....
▪ The toughest call (on offense) that offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and coach Manny Diaz need to make during the next four months: Whether Jaylon Knighton’s big-play ability, high-end speed and elusiveness make him the better option to be UM’s bell-cow back over the more physical and experienced Cam’Ron Harris.
Keep in mind that Knighton started ahead of Harris against Duke because UM believed he earned it. So any notion that Harris is a clear front-runner to be UM’s starter likely isn’t accurate.
Knighton appears to at least have pulled even, if not ahead. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Harris is the starter.
Unlike last season, Lashlee has said he wants to give much of the carries to one player to allow that player to get into a rhythm.
The issue with Knighton is whether he would be quite as explosive (as opposed to exhausted) and as dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield if he carries 15 to 20 times a game instead of six.
Last season, he had only one game with double figures in rushing attempts — against Virginia, and he had just 37 yards on 12 carries in that game (just 3.1 per carry). His next-highest workload came against UAB: nine carries for 59 yards (6.6 average).
Though he started against Duke, he ran only twice for 11 yards before leaving with a season-ending shoulder injury.
Harris averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season, compared with Knighton’s 4.0, but had a midseason slump (28 carries for 35 yards in three games) and lost his starting spot after the program returned from its COVID stoppage in November.
Say this for Harris: In his games with his heaviest workloads last season, he was very good. Harris averaged a robust 7.9 per carry on 17 carries against UAB; 4.1 on 15 carries against North Carolina State and 6.4 on 15 carries against Duke.
In his heaviest workload game of 2019, Harris averaged 7.6 yards on 18 carries against Georgia Tech.
So we know he can be effective with high volume. And Harris is by no means slow; he can accelerate past defenders for long gains, like he did against UAB.
What isn’t known yet is whether Knighton can be effective with high-volume carries.
For what it’s worth (not a lot), Knighton had seven carries for 43 yards during UM’s spring game, Harris four for 9.
Even if Harris starts, expect UM to maximize Knighton as a receiver out of the backfield. That should be one of the offense’s strengths.
“Rooster, he moves so fast,” striker Gilbert Frierson said of Knighton’s value in the passing game. “He’s explosive; you’ve got to watch him. He turns plays that may be a loss of two to a play that can be a gain. You’ve got to put a hand on him” or you don’t have a chance to slow him.
The hope is that Don Chaney Jr. returns from shoulder surgery in time to challenge both Harris and Knighton for carries by mid-September. He’s iffy for the Sept. 4 opener against Alabama.
One UM source said Chaney might be the best of the three for the bell-cow role.
But whether he will be able to be full-go by the second half of fall camp is very much in question after the recent shoulder procedure.