USA TODAY Sports
RB Byron Marshall takes a handoff from Marcus Mariota.
I touched on the backfield earlier as one of the strengths of this team, but the experience at running back especially is a question mark heading into the 2013 season.
It may not be a weakness in the sense that Colorado's quarterback situation is a weakness, but this season will mark the first time in the last four that neither LaMichael James or Kenjon Barner has a home in the backfield.
We know how special De'Anthony Thomas is, and it's fair to be optimistic about Byron Marshall's potential as well. Tyner at peak performance gives the Ducks one of the best running back stables in the country.
But the talent is not the question.
The question is, who will be able to take five or six carries in a row and pick up several first downs, as Kenjon Barner did against USC last season? Can someone replicate what LaMichael James was able to do at Cal in 2010 late in the fourth quarter?
The guys can play, but none of the three has ever had a game put on their shoulders. Nobody has been given 20 carries through three quarters and then be told they might get 10 to 15 more in the fourth.
Highlights are going to come in bunches, and carries may be split somewhat evenly throughout the season. But there's going to come a time where one of the backs has to step up and take a game over as we saw both Barner and James do many times. All three have the talent to do it, but none has actually had to do it.
Which makes the lack of experience of the running backs one of the weaknesses heading into 2013.