Suitable Replacement

The last two seasons the University of Minnesota alternated a pair of running backs – Marion Barber III and Lawrence Maroney. Each of those seasons, each runner gained over 1000 yards rushing, the first time that had happened in NCAA history. This year, with Barber having elected to move to the NFL, Maroney has become the featured back and is a Heisman trophy candidate. Even though Maroney is the featured back, the coaches hoped they would find someone who could spell Maroney from time to time. It appears they have located a suitable replacement in Gary Russell. In the first four games, Russell has carried the ball 40 times (Maroney has carried it 113 times). Russell has gained 324 yards, and has scored a pair of touchdowns in each of the first four games. Averaging over 8 yards a carry and scoring 8 touchdowns suggests that Maroney can safely be given a breather from time to time. Not that Maroney has been getting fat while sitting on the sidelines – last Saturday he carried the ball 46 times against Purdue.

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