Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Sevion Morrison running down the field for kick off drills during football practice
Photo Credit: John Peterson

The State of the Running Back Room Halfway Through Nebraska’s Fall Camp

August 11, 2021

There are several questions about the 2021 Huskers. It doesn’t take long before you get to the running back room when thinking about them.

The Huskers struggled to run the football from that position during the 2020 season. Getting that cleaned up was a point of emphasis for running backs coach Ryan Held. That’s given his room a bigger chip on its shoulder.

“We always are going have a chip on our shoulder but when the season ended we weren’t satisfied with what that position needs to be in Nebraska,” Held said.

“We went out and got more guys in the room. Got guys that were in the room healthy. Now we just got to go out there and be able to run the ball in this league. We got to have running backs to run it. We can’t rely on Adrian to run the ball all the time. There’s times we need him to but in the quarterbacks but we got to be able to run the football.”

Held has narrowed it down to four players right now that are battling to be the lead guy when the season starts. No one is quite out of the race yet. We’ve heard a lot about Gabe Ervin and Markese Stepp during their time at Nebraska. Both spoke to the media after practice on Wednesday. So, did running back Sevion Morrison who is having a good fall camp.

“I’m not going to give you the depth chart right now, but it’s starting to work itself through,” Held said. “It’s a very competitive group and they’re very supportive of each other in the room through the good and bad.

“So, it’s fun. It’s fun coming to work every day because I don’t have a guy that’s played a million snaps. Every day is a new opportunity for us to look at a situation and have it presented to us, and then go out and execute it in the way we need to.”

At the end of spring practice Held challenged his group to stay focused over the summer. He wanted them all working out on their own and taking care of their bodies. He was happy with how his unit responded to the challenge, ready to attack the work in fall camp. There was another reason the guys were locked in so much. They hear the outside noise of questions surrounding the room.

“There’s a lot of stuff out there, ‘We don’t have a very good group. What’s the group?’ Everything is a little unproven,” Held said. “So our guys want to go out there and prove that we have talent in the room and be able to be a position that helps our football team. We need to be.”

Having his players out there consistently all fall camp has helped the room. That’s helped Held quickly see who is rising to the top of the depth chart. Held thinks things are right on schedule for deciding who the top guy will be for him against Illinois.

“I’d say it’s coming very quick down the train tracks,” Held said.

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