The disclaimer here is that everything depends on the O line and how they perform and execute within the run game.
UCLA could line up Barry Sanders in his prime behind the Bruin line but if they can’t at least be average the successes on the ground will be far and few between.
But let’s focus on Running Back position group not the O line for a minute.
Yes there is an assortment of talent at this position as well as a variety of different style running backs.
But this race only has three real horses, injuries aside, that we can expect to play a major role this season.
Jamabo, Bolu, and Stephen’s clearly are the three horses I speak of. All three bring slightly different styles and gears to the backfield which should be a nice option for Kelly.
Under Mora and the under achieving O line it seemed that Jamabo and Bolu never really were able to shine despite the obvious talent. They seemed to be slightly under coached in the ever changing and questionable offensive schemes and approaches Mora allowed. Did I mention the porous O line didn’t help.
Don’t get me wrong they both had some nice moments but nothing consistent or dominating enough to speak of. If they stay healthy they should be a heck of a one-two punch for Chip.
Lanky Stephan’s probably should have been Red Shirted his Freshman year (Questionable move by Mora) to give his body a chance to develop. I can only imagine if had three years eligibility left? I do get the sense that he is going to thrive in Kelly’s read option. Stephan’s in space should be very productive. Look for a break out year for this kid!
Kazmeir is a tweener when deciding on Red Shirting him or not. Kelly may need him and his freakish speed but it will be for special situations, perhaps more out of the backfield on swings and screens. I can’t see Kaz as a freshman running much inside with his small high schoolish frame. If they RS him I wouldn’t be completely surprised but the selfish part of me wants to see him in action; no doubt Kelly will struggle with this same dilemma.
Besides Stephan’s might be able to fill the role now that I foresee Kaz filling at some point in his Bruin career making Chips decision a bit easier.
Martell Irby is the intriguing back here. His body is a bit more D1 ready and he seems to have a lil more "Junk Yard Dog" in him. I could see him getting good touches if Bolu or Jamabo miss any time due to injury or suspension.
The law firm of Kinder, Kelley, and Higgins will be deep on the depth chart but have a great view from the sideline.