LAFAYETTE — In recent years, Louisiana has been known for pounding the pavement as the Cajuns backfield has constantly produced "three headed monsters".
"We've been really fortunate here at running back to really a stable of guys that could go out there and physically do it", says head coach Michael Desormeaux.
Over the last 4 seasons UL has been ranked no lower than 40th in the nation in rushing yards per game. With the ground game's proven success, the goal for the 2022 Cajuns is to uphold what it's grown to be.
"The room is in good shape. Maybe there's not the years of success that you've seen because they've been behind some guys, but there's positions across our football team that are like that", says Cajuns offensive coordinator, Tim Leger. "What I can tell you is we've got a system of development where those guys have been put in position every day to compete really hard and have to take the pounding and run the ball and do the things necessary to be good at the position."
Returning to take charge in the room is junior Chris Smith. He was the leading rusher in 2021, and is on the Doak Walker Watch List for best running back in the nation.
"He's finally getting his chance to be the guy", says offensive lineman AJ Gillie. "With that chance he has to embrace it and he is going to embrace it and he's gonna show you know why he is an elite running back."
With sunbelt freshman of the year, Montrell Johnson along with Emani Bailey joining other programs, they leave behind big cleats to fill.
Terence Williams being the only other returner to get carries last season and Texas A&M transfer, Jacob Kibodi making his transition back to running back. Michael Orphey Jr., who's going into his 5th year, has taken a backseat but the team has high expectations for him.
"That guy is a sleeper. He came in as a walk on and I think he deserves a chance to play", says Chris Smith. "He played special teams for the past couple of years. He played behind me, Eli (Mitchell), he's played behind all those guys so it's his chance to step up and show the staff that he can do the job and be trusted behind me or whoever is on the field then."
"We've got speedsters in the run game, we've got some guys that can receive out the backfield and we've also got guys that truck guys", says quarterback Chandler Fields. "So I think we have the best of both worlds in every spot on the run game. I think they'll be perfectly fine."
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