10 College Football Coaches Who Overuse Their Star Players
Everybody loves to watch the star football players.
We all want to see the big names, the explosive athleticism and the guys who have the ability to make game changing plays every time they are on the field. Nobody really cares about the average guys that don't play with much energy or excitement. After all, some of us don't even know how to pronounce the second string receiver’s name.
There is a reason coaches play these guys as often as they do, as star players really make the difference for your football team. Sure, everybody plays a part in helping a team win, but it is the top players that butter the bread and really make the impact felt in the victory.
But some of these players are relied on way too much and the team really wouldn't be as successful without them.
Here are 10 coaches that need to find other playmakers besides the ones they are currently relying on.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.
Brady Hoke, Michigan
Player who rarely gets a break: Quarterback Denard Robinson
Denard Robinson is simply the face of this Michigan offense and the team is really going to go as far as he carries it. He has thrown all but three of the teams overall passes in the first four games and leads the team with 66 carries. What is bizarre is that Fitzgerald Toussaint, a running back who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, is averaging only 12 touches in the first three games he has played.
Robinson has proven to be one of the more exciting players on the football field, but has also shown time and time again he will turn the ball over and cost the Wolverines some games. He already has thrown eight interceptions. Maybe including Toussaint a little more in the offense can help Michigan rebound from such a disappointing start to the season.
Chip Kelly, Oregon
Players who rarely get a break: Running back Kenjon Barner, running back De'Anthony Thomas and quarterback Marcus Mariota
We know the Oregon offense is extremely explosive and anyone is capable of taking the football the distance, but the offense consists of mainly just three guys. The names above have combined for 163 of the Ducks 259 carries in the first five games. Not to mention that Thomas also leads the team with 19 receptions and three receiving touchdowns, while also playing the role as the leading kick and punt returner.
When you average over 50 points per contest, you are going to go with what works, but that is a lot of production being provided by just three players.
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Players who rarely get a break: Quarterback Geno Smith, wide receiver Stedman Bailey and wide receiver Tavon Austin
Similar to the situation in Eugene, although the offense of West Virginia is extremely effective, it basically relies on only three guys. Smith has thrown the ball 169 times in the first four games, which is by far the most of any other quarterback in the Big 12. And while the running game is averaging over five yards a touch, the Mountaineers are throwing the ball 15 more times a game than they are running the ball.
As for who is catching those passes, Bailey and Austin have hauled in 89 of the 147 receptions, including 17 of 21 receiving touchdowns. When you are third in the country in scoring offense, you obviously have something going for you, but as West Virginia enters the heart of the schedule, this unit must develop some type of consistent ground game.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Player who rarely gets a break: Quarterback Braxton Miller
Quick question, name somebody else on this Ohio State offense besides the sophomore quarterback.
Can't do it, huh?
Miller is the heart and soul of this unit, as he makes nearly every play possible in this Urban Meyer spread offense. It is great to see how quickly he has matured in just one season, but we are talking about a guy who is fifth in the Big Ten in rushing attempts and fourth in pass attempts. If he isn't passing the ball, he is running the ball 41 percent of the time in the Buckeyes offense.
Meyer has certainly raved about his new offensive weapon, but Ohio State must find some other playmakers for this offense to be able to take that next step.
Al Golden, Miami
Player who rarely gets a break: Running back Duke Johnson
Rarely do you see a true freshman hit the field as often as Duke Johnson. The former 5-star recruit has received 52 of the 156 touches as a running back, is fifth on the team with 15 receptions and leads the team with 14 kickoff returns.
Um, Golden, the kid is fresh out of high school.
With Johnson solidifying himself as a playmaker on this Hurricanes team, you can expect to see him on the field even more with conference play arriving.
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Player who rarely gets a break: Running back Montee Ball
Despite Montee Ball leaving a game early and dealing with injury issues to his head, the Heisman candidate running back is still fourth in the country with 125 carries. To put into perspective how much the Badgers rely on him, the second most used rusher on this Wisconsin team is James White, and he has a whopping 31 touches.
Ball has played in a total of 125 plays in the first five games and seems to remain the go-to guy in this offense, regardless of how healthy he is. I guess when your passing game is ranked 109th in the country, you have to do what you have to do.
Lane Kiffin, USC
Players who rarely get a break: Wide receiver Marqise Lee and wide receiver Robert Woods
With a USC offense that is so talented, it is also thin in many areas. This would explain why it seems like there are only two wide receivers on this football team. Quarterback Matt Barkley has thrown the football 143 times and the USC offense has run the ball 123 times, which does show great balance.
But every time the ball is in the air, you can expect one of two names to catch it, either Robert Woods or Marqise Lee.
Out of the 91 receptions in the first four games, Woods and Lee have combined for 65 of them. There is no other player on this roster that has caught double-digit passes and there are only two receiving touchdowns out of the 12 that have gone to someone other than the star receivers.
Maybe this is the scholarship sanctions playing its part, or it could be that USC has two of the most NFL ready receivers in the country.
Doc Holliday, Marshall
Player who rarely gets a break: Quarterback Rakeem Cato
With all of the high-powered offenses we have seen lately, you would probably think a quarterback in the Big 12 has thrown the most passes early on in the season. But the single-caller that has received the most work is Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato.
He has thrown the ball a ridiculous 268 times in just five games, which equals out to an astonishing average 53.6 times per game. In only five games, Cato has thrown the ball 86 times less than Tim Tebow has thrown in his entire NFL career.
The Thundering Herd have a scoring defense that is ranked 124th in the country, which would likely explain why the sophomore is being worked as much as he is.
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Player who rarely gets a break: Running back Le'Veon Bell
What do you do when all of your top receivers and starting quarterback graduate at the same time? You feed your star running back the football over and over. And just when you think he has had enough of running the football, you give him a few more carries for good measure.
Le'Veon Bell is third in the country with 134 carries, which is at least 44 more than everybody else in the Big Ten. Senior running back Larry Caper is second on the team in touches and he has only received the ball 16 times. Bell is also tied for second on the team with 20 receptions.
Bell has quickly become the workhorse for the Spartans, as he was even given the ball 14 times in the fourth quarter to help knock off the Boise State Broncos in Week 1. At this rate, Bell will go well over 300 carries by the time the season is over.
Chris Ault, Nevada
Player who rarely gets a break: Running back Stephon Jefferson
If you thought some of the previous numbers were incredible, you have yet to see anything. Nevada running back Stephon Jefferson leads the country with 162 rushing attempts in just five games, which is more than players such as Cam Newton, Peyton Hillis and even Tim Tebow had all of last year.
As we approach the halfway point to the season, Jefferson is only a 123 yards away from the century mark, as he looks to become the fastest player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in school history. In case you are wondering, the Wolf Pack has only thrown the ball 108 times.
There is nobody in the country that is used more than Jefferson, which makes him the ultimate workhorse for the 2012 college football season.