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Notre Dame's running backs have had a rough go of it through four games, particularly because of defensive play-calling and spotty play from the offensive line, which I'll discuss later.
Theo Riddick began the season as the starter at running back, dazzling in Week 1 against Navy as he cut and slashed his way to 107 yards and two scores. It has been tough sledding ever since for Riddick and his fellow running backs.
Since that opening victory in which the Irish accumulated 293 net rushing yards, Brian Kelly's squad has slugged its way to 268 rushing yards in the following three games.
The good news here is that the running backs have done an excellent job of protecting the football, as no turnovers have originated from the group.
There is bad news, though.
George Atkinson, one of the Irish's most explosive playmakers, has been a relative non-factor in the past three weeks, garnering a measly 10 carries for 47 yards, 32 of which came on one carry against Michigan State.
Cierre Wood has also been quiet during his first two games back from suspension. An odd sequence occurred on Saturday evening against Michigan, as Wood was benched for all but five seconds of the second quarter and didn't receive another carry until the eight-minute mark of the third quarter.
No matter what may be transpiring behind closed doors, Brian Kelly must find a way to get Atkinson and Wood more touches down the stretch. Theo Riddick simply can't be a one-man show.