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Running Back Situation: Questions About Christian Ramirez

<em>Christian Ramirez getting tackled for no gain by David Carter. Photo Credit: <a href="" target="new">Scotucla03</a></em>
Christian Ramirez getting tackled for no gain by David Carter. Photo Credit: Scotucla03

Wanted to follow up on a specific story line from Saturday. Let's revisit and repost what CRN said leading up to the scrimmage about Christian Ramirez and our running game:

"He’s got to play tomorrow," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He has to play and play a significant amount." That means "with four backs, if we get 80-90 plays, I hope he can get somewhere around 10 carries." [...]

"Johnathan Franklin has had an unbelievable camp, and Milton Knox has been unbelievable," Neuheisel said. "What’s the pecking order? Everyone deserves a chance to show something."

Ramirez's chance needs to be Saturday.

"We can’t stir around and put a blind eye the way the other kids are running," Neuheisel said. "I think he is eager to get going and hopefully Chris gets rolling tomorrow night."

Well the scrimmage didn't go so well for Christian. From Chris Foster in the LA Times:

Christian Ramirez suffered what was called a mild sprained ankle in the first series and did not return. Ramirez, who tops the depth chart at tailback, has been slowed the past week with a sore hamstring. [...]

Redshirt freshman Johnathan Franklin had 99 yards rushing in six carries. That included a 60-yard touchdown run, though it came against the second team defense.

Asked whether Ramirez can miss anymore time, Neuheisel said, "It is what it is," adding, "We’re going to have to play any way."

In case you are wondering how the rushing game shaped up number wise, the official site posted the stats:

Johnathan Franklin-----6 rushes for 99 yards and one td
Milton Knox------9 rushes for 34 yards and no td
Derrick Coleman----5 carries for -6 yards and no td
Damien Thigpen----7 carries for 41 yards and no td
Christian Ramirez----2 carries for -1 yards and no td

Now let's keep some factors in perspective before I get to a poll question for this community, which hopefully will lead to a productive discussion. Carrying on after the flip.

As impressive Thigpen, Knox and even Franklin might have been keep in mind Ramirez and Coleman might have been going up against Price and the first time. I already talked about in my previous post about how offensive coaches keep the plays extremely vanially giving the defense an inherent advantage. So with that we have to keep the numbers for the first and second team RBs in perspective.

Still, now that is out of the way we have to revisit what CRN said leading up to the scrimmage (which I excerpted above). Given the fact that Neuheisel was going to use the scrimmage from yesterday to determine PT for other backs, I wonder if the rotation will look different for the San Diego State game.

I have added a poll below to take temperature of BN wrt to this question because I feel like this is the main issue out of the first two weeks of camp that is somewhat puzzling. I personally am in the not sure category because I am not comfortable chiming in a black and white way without seeing what Christian can do. I also trust Chow and Neuheisel to make the right decision. However, at the same time it is hard to miss the news Franklin, Knox and Coleman have been making from these camp. Plus Coleman's production as a freshman with last year's tattered line when he averaged almost 5 ypc, was nothing short of remarkable. So I can see why he has made a good case to headline the RB rotation.

What do you all think? I am especially interested in those who have been to practices frequently or more than twice in last two weeks. Do you think Coleman should get the start over Ramirez? Do you think Ramirez's workload should be reduced a bit and shifted a bit over to Franklin and Knox?

Let's hear it.