UNC Football Position Preview: Finally Another 1,000-Yard Rusher?

Matt SmithSenior Analyst IJuly 20, 2008

A little known fact about North Carolina was that before USC took over the moniker, the Tar Heels were known as Tailback U.

It's been over 10 seasons since the Heels had a 1,000-yard rusher, but this season could end that streak, as running back Greg Little looks to take over for a less than productive 2007 tandem.


Greg Little

2007 Statistics

59 Rush Attempts

300 Rushing Yards, 5.1 Yards per Rush Average

Two Rushing TDs

After no one stepped up to become the feature back in 2007, head coach Butch Davis decided to ask freshman wide receiver Greg Little to step up and try his hand at the running back position.

And you know what?  It worked.

Little rushed for 200 yards and scored two touchdowns last season in only two games last season, including the game-winning score in overtime against Duke.

Now I don't want to go crazy and say Little will be an instant star, but with a more experienced offensive line, Little could be more than just "productive" in the Carolina offense.

Little should be the feature back this season, but look for him to split carries with incoming freshman Jamal Womble, as Little's "stand-up" style of running works great in space but may be troublesome between the tackles.


Anthony Elzy

2007 Stats

92 Rush Attempts

321 Rush Yards, 3.5 Yards per Rush Average

Five Rushing TDs

Elzy may have been the most productive back last season, rushing for the most touchdowns on the 2007 squad and coming in second in total rushing yards.

But Elzy failed to secure his starting job during the offseason and may drop all the way down to third on the depth chart this season with the addition of Jamal Womble.

Elzy is a very capable runner between the tackles, but he needs to prove to the coaching staff that he is capable of being productive every time he gets his hands on the ball.

Look for Elzy to be a contributor this season but not have as large a role as he did last year.


Jamal Womble

2007 Statistics

DNP—Incoming Freshman

Womble, the 13th-ranked running back out of high school last season, looks to make an instant impact for the Heels.

The 5'10", 220-pound running back is touted as having great cutback ability and good tackle-breaking ability.

Look for Womble to get a shot as a freshman at running the ball, possibly taking some third down reps and carrying the ball at times when Little is slotted at receiver.


That's it for the 2008 Tar Heel running backs.

Due up next, the men that block for them, as I examine the Heels' offensive line.