College football analyst says Utah has one of country's best running back rooms
A few weeks ago, we wrote “you’d be hard-pressed to find a better running back room in college football” than the one Utah currently boasts.
CBS Sports would seem to agree. According to CFB insider Barrett Sallee, the Utes’ running back room is one of the five best at the FBS level. He ranked them fourth, behind Texas, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Here’s what Sallee wrote:
Coach Kyle Whittingham has established his program as the most physical team in the Pac-12, and he will have a brutal one-two punch at running back again in 2022. Tavion Thomas is one of the best running backs in the country but doesn’t get the respect he deserves after rushing for 1,108 and an FBS-best 21 touchdowns last season. Micah Bernard will back him up after he ran for 529 yards and two scores during his redshirt freshman campaign last season. Pac-12 defenses aren’t used to taking that kind of punishment, but Utah is ready and willing to dole it out on a weekly basis this fall.
Perhaps the most lethal part of the Utah rushing attack is its versatility. The Utes have a thumper in Thomas, a multi-tooled threat to line up anywhere in the formation in Bernard, and a true freshman ready to run defenders over in Jaylon Glover.
At 5.6 yards a carry, Utah had the second-best rushing attack in college football last year. The three-headed backfield monster of Thomas, the since-departed TJ Pledger, and Bernard combined for 2,331 yards.
That helped the Utes to the 17th-best success rate in the country. The offense was in standard downs at least 70% of the time in seven of its last nine games, including the Pac-12 title game and the Rose Bowl. (National average last season for standard downs rate was 68%,)
With Pledger (NFL) to replace in the rotation, it seems likely Glover will play some kind of role right away for this offense, especially so after the spring he had.
Utah gets its season rolling on Sept. 3 against the Florida Gators on the road.