Even after losing running back Steven Manfro for the season with a torn ACL, and even after averaging just 3 yards per carry on the ground against Virginia, offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone says that he isn’t worried about his team’s running game.
“Historically, it's not like we haven't been able to run the football around here,” Mazzone said after practice on Wednesday. “Back to Johnathan Franklin, and last year, it's always been something that we've been able to do. It's not like, oh, hell, all of a sudden we forgot how to do it. We just have to be a little bit better at what we are doing at this point."
Manfro got just two carries last week, but was on the team’s better pass-catching options out of the backfield and was going to have a bigger role as the season went on.
“What an awesome young man. He was very valuable to this football team, but there will be somebody who steps up. That's the game, right? Somebody will step up, fill in."
One of the players who could fill in is Nate Starks. The freshman is 5 feet 11, 205 pounds, and has impressed head Coach Jim Mora the last couple weeks. With Manfro on the sideline, Starks will see more playing time against Memphis.
"It'll be fun to watch him play Saturday night,” Mazzone said. “It's a bigger kid for us, out of our norm. It will be fun to hand him the ball. Note to self: Hand him the ball."