Selvin Young plans to carry the load for Broncos

Eddie GriffinSenior Analyst IJune 17, 2008

Once Travis Henry was surprisingly let go by the a few weeks back, that made Selvin Young the starting tailback in Denver. And you know how Mike Shanahan loves his running backs.

The Broncos do have Andre Hall, Michael Pittman and Ryan Torain also in the mix, but Young says the No. 1 job is his to lose.

“In my mind, I feel that way,” he said. “Whenever it’s etched in stone, I hope I’m going to be the guy that’s going to be leading.”

Yet you have to wonder, because after last season Shanahan said he didn’t think Young could carry 20 to 25 times per game as a featured back because “his body just wouldn’t hold up.”

Young, 6-feet, 212 pounds, rushed for 729 yards on 140 carries last season, a nice 5.2-yards-per-carry average as an undrafted player out of Texas. He became the sixth undrafted running back since the inception of the common draft in 1967 to crack 500 yards as a rookie.

Young worked out feverishly in the offseason, increasing his weight to 212 pounds from 207, engendering hope that he can carry the ball 20-25 times a game.

“I feel like, if I come out here and take care of business, I’m talented enough to be the guy for this team and lead this team for years and years and years.”

Young has been working with the first-team offense, and he isn’t lacking in confidence, predicting he could rush for 2,000 yards this season.

“I’m coming out and taking the reps with the ones (starters), and I feel like it is my job to be a leader, be an example for the guys that are behind me, and continue to put pressure on those guys, because they’re putting pressure on me, also,” Young said.

The Denver running game has finished in the league’s top five in yards rushing per game in nine of Shanahan’s 13 seasons as head coach - and 12 times in the top 10.

“We’ll do what we need to do to be effective,” Shanahan said. “If that’s one guy, it’s one guy; if it’s more than one guy, it’s more than one guy. I always say it - not everybody believes it - but it will sort itself out.”