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2015 Football Preview: Running Backs

Three headed attack.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina offense should be the strength of the team this year as it was last year. However the Heels do need to improve their ground game so they can kill the clock in games where they are ahead--something they were either unable or unwilling to do last year.

Half of the battle for an improved ground game will be determined by improvement or lack thereof from the offensive line. But the other half will come down to how the running backs play. Carolina has three returning runners and one incoming freshman who should be the brunt of the Carolina offense this year. The three returners are T.J. Logan, Romar Morris and Elijah Hood while freshman Ty'Son Williams (#15 RB in the country as a recruit last year) joins the team.

While most of the Heels' rushing attack will come from Marquise Williams, the Heels will probably look to T.J. Logan as their primary runner since he was their best back last year; he averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 119 rushes with three touchdowns. Romar Morris was much more of an average back; he produced four touchdowns, 278 yards on 65 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. The Heels most disappointing running back last year was Elijah Hood who came in as the Heels' #1 recruit as a top 10 running back prospect but only averaged 3.9 yards per carry as a freshman. Hood may improve drastically in his second season and last year could be attributed to freshman struggles. Ty'Son Williams is a relative unknown at running back since we have not seen him produce against college defenses yet. However, he should get some reps due to his pedigree and could become a breakout player in this offense.

The running backs all figure to serve as limited receivers as safety valves for Williams this season. Last year, T.J. Logan and Romar Morris combined for more than 300 yards receiving last year with Morris averaging 8.5 yards per reception. Hood curiously did not catch a single pass last year, so when he comes in the game, expect him to run or block rather than function as a receiver. No matter who gets the most reps at running back, the Heels will not rely on them as receivers as they only got about 20 receiving yards a game from the position last year.

For the offensive to maximize its potential and find consistency, the running game will be crucial. The talent is there, now the stable of runners need to produce.