Last season, Seminole fans experienced something that the offense had been lacking for quite a while. A running game.
I still remember the days of Warrick Dunn, Travis Minor and Greg Jones. The quick elusive backs and ones that could pound the ball for the short yardage situations at will. Chris Thompson, Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones gave us more than a little taste of that last season
Each of the three backs averaged over 5.5 yards per carry. Thompson led the way with a total of 845 yards on 134 carries, averaging 6.3 yards every time he carried the ball. Thompson and Thomas were the elusive backs while Jones was a back that could pound with the best of them.
Let's not forget about Lonnie Pryor either, while he had 112 yards on the ground with four touchdowns. He's a fullback with the speed of a running back and the blocking ability of a seasoned vet.
Now you throw in newcomers Devonta Freeman and James Wilder, Jr. and you have not only a deep backfield, but one that doesn't have much of a drop off from top to bottom.
Thompson was slotted to be the starting back come opening week, but he has been struggling with a lower back problem much of the offseason. There is no telling how long he is going to be out for, according to head coach Jimbo Fisher.
Who will lead the Seminole backfield in rushing for 2011?
"We can't figure out what is going on with his back, but all we can do is take it easy and not risk further injury," Fisher said after Monday's practice.
He hasn't been the only one struggling with an injury. Chronic migraines have limited what Thomas has been able to do in recent practices. Speaking from experience, migraines are no joke and not the easiest problem to deal with, even with medication.
With those two missing an extensive amount of practices, the likes of Jones, Freeman and Wilder, Jr. have all been receiving plenty of snaps with the first-team offense. Running backs coach Eddie Gran has been speaking very highly of Jones lately and believes he will be the starting back to start the season.
All expect to have plenty of opportunities to showcase their talents this season. Some will get that chance more than others, but one thing we will never have to worry about is a lack of talent if someone goes down with an injury.
So you want to know who will be the featured back?
Your guess is as good as mine, and I don't believe there will be one featured back this season with the depth they have in the backfield. It's a crowded backfield that will work on who has the hot hand that game. The good thing is Fisher won't have to worry about managing who plays more than the other.
"I don't manage it. They determine what happens, not me," said Fisher.
Either way you slice it, the backfield is loaded and will be primed for a dominate season. One that could lead the Seminoles back to the glory days.
A National Championship perhaps?