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Bearcats Breakfast 4.12.12

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Headed out to practice today as the team wraps up on their way to Bearcat Bowl VI this Saturday. Hope to see many of you out at Nippert for that.

Will be a great chance to catch a glimpse at the progress of the returning players and a first look at the early enrollee freshmen attempting to make an Alex Chisum-like impact next season.

That's 4 p.m. at The Nipp with activities going on all afternoon prior to that.

Let's eat...

--- Thinking about the three-headed monster idea at running back made me want take a deeper look at the distribution of carries across college football.

In the NFL, the devaluing of the bell cow running back has been obvious for years, but how important are the contributions of one true back in the college game. The lack of superior talent like that at the NFL's disposal makes many more teams feature one back and one back only on the ground.

For instance, UC didn't have another Isaiah Pead last year, so Pead took the ball 18 times per game.

But how essential is that to winning? Specifically in the pass-happy landscape the game has become, reliance on a single running back has become less and less. Utilizing two or three backs per game can absolutely be a recipe for success.

In fact, it's the norm.

Take a look at the top 10 teams in the country last year in the final AP poll and how many running backs they had with at least six carries per game (none missed significant periods of time to create misleading stats).

And for the reference, UC averaged 18 carries for Pead at running back and the next closest back was George Winn at 3.

1. Alabama: Trent Richardson 22
2. LSU: Spencer Ware 9, Michael Ford 14, Alfred Blue 6.
3. Oklahoma State: Joseph Randle 16, Jeremy Smith 8
4. Oregon: LaMichael James 21, Kenjon Barner 13
5. Arkansas: Dennis Johnson 10, Ronnie Wingo 9, Broderick Green 7
6. USC: Curtis McNeal 12, Mark Tyler 12
7. Stanford: Stephan Taylor 18, Tyler Gafney 6
8. Boise State: Doug Martin 20, DJ Harper 10
9. South Carolina: Marcus Lattimore 23, Brandon Wilds 8
10. Wisconsin: Montee Ball 22, James White 11

--- That's right, of the top 10 teams in the country last year, all but one of them had two backs averaging at least six carries per game. Two of those ten had three backs carrying the load. That includes national semifinalist LSU who blew through the regular season undefeated and really without much of a quarterback to speak of, either.

--- Four of the top 10 teams had two backs lugging double-digit carries every game. Depending on a team's style, there are numerous ways a team can add its way up to 25-30 rushes. And the vast majority of the most successful teams in the country don't do so in the hands of one back.

--- The 2:1 method became the most popular among the group as seven of the 10 broke down the carries about that way and most still handing it to the back at least 15 times per game.

--- In a similar survey of the situation, let's take a look at the top xx teams in rushing average from BCS conferences and see how they distributed the carries:

1. Oregon (6.6 ypc): LaMichael James 21, Kenjon Barner 13
2. Georgia Tech (5.7): Orbry Smith 10, Embry Peeples 10, Roddy Jones 8 (Triple-Option)
3. Alabama (5.5): Trent Richardson 22
4. Wisconsin: (5.4): Montee Ball 22, James White 11
5. Oklahoma State (5.4): Joseph Randle 16, Jeremy Smith 8
6. Missouri (5.4): Henry Josey 15, Kendial Lawrence 12
7. Baylor (5.3): Terrance Ganaway 19
8. Stanford (5.3): Stephan Taylor 18, Tyler Gafney 6
9. Michigan (5.2): Fitzgerald Toussaint 16 (Denard Robinson rushed 17 times per)
10. Texas A&M (5.1): Cyrus Gray 18, Christine Michael 15

--- Not shockingly,
many of the teams from this list overlapped with the previous. Even in the video game, spread offense era running the football effectively equals wins.

Yet again, however, only three of the top 10 rushing teams utilized one primary back. One of those was only because Denard Robinson was dreadlocking all over the field 17 times a contest.

Add Missouri and Texas A&M to the teams sporting a two-pronged running attack with the carries spread relatively evenly.

--- Bottom line: What occurred last year with Isaiah Pead taking nearly every snap at running back proves to be much more the exception than the rule for winning college football. The majority of the most efficient, successful running games in the country use at least two backs to drive the offense and in some cases more than that.

What does that mean for next year? Whether it is a two-back combination of Winn, Poteat, RDAIV, the choice of rotating backs can't be blamed for winning or losing games. Perhaps picking two out of three to create the optimal 2:1 ratio will be the toughest decision Butch Jones faces.

--- Dan Hoard wrote about the growth of Camaron Beard -- one of the more interesting storylines of the spring as he attempts to fill in for Derek Wolfe.

He also talks extensively about late-night eats. Beard was setting his alarm to wake up in the middle of the night to eat PB&J sandwiches. If I were told late-night eats needed to be my method to success, everyone would run to buy stock in Waffle House.

There is no better late-night combination of butter, deliciousness and atmosphere than the House. I've said this many times and I'll do so again, if I were on Death Row (not with Snoop, Dre and Suge Knight, with, well, probably soon to be Suge Knight) and given my final meal choice I would ask for a trip to the House at 2 a.m. Nothing like it.

--- Wanted to apologize
for not being able to come up with the name of Burnett Woods during the podcast with Whit Babcock. (If you haven't listened yet, seriously, what's going on over there?)  It was the area Whit said he's been told UC should build two new arenas when we were discussing some radical suggestions. While Burnett wouldn't be the answer to construction, it does own some potential in the tailgating arena.

Whit mentioned his desire to improve the tailgating experience and while Burnett wasn't specifically talked about, be sure he's taking all ideas into consideration when it comes to that. Be sure, it's a top priority.

--- Andrea Adelson on UC safety Drew Frey. (http://espn.go.com/blog/bigeast/post/_/id/31914/cincinnati-s-drew-frey)

--- How's Munchie progressing
as a leader on the field? Here he is mic'd up at a recent practice via CoachButchJonesBlog.com.

--- UC officially announced the signing of JC forward Titus Rubles (ROO-bulls) on Thursday as UC continues to build its reputation as the sponsors of the all-name team.

Here was Mick Cronin's analysis:

"Titus is a versatile wing forward who fits our style of play. He has outstanding athletic ability and brings great physical toughness. He doesn't mind battling bigger players for rebounds. He also has the ability to guard different positions and excels at making his teammates better."

A 6-7 forward owning athleticism with a penchant for shot-blocking and rebounding sounds like a nice fit for the new high-octane offense Cronin talked about. Not having seen him play, it's tough to make an analysis, but when you averaged 14.5 and 9.8 at Blinn CC, you can ball at the DI level.

--- Randomness....

--- The Chili Peppers
talking about their next chapter. As long as it continues to involve tours like the one this summer, I'm on board. Plus, they make for a great triple headline at Lollapalooza in Chicago this year: RHCP, The Black Keys and Florence+The Machine.

--- Did you want to know what to do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs? Did you wonder why they were calling again? Frasier secrets revealed. Sometimes the Internet just goes too far with information.

--- Mentally tortured cat videos with a dark, French peril theme. Surprisingly, I like it.

--- Don't Stop Believin' sung
by the movies. Have a good one.




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