Spring Review 2012: Running Back

Our post-spring series continues on offense today with the running backs.

Projected starter: LaDarius Perkins, Jr.

Backups: Nick Griffin, So.; Derrick Milton, R-Fr.; Josh Robinson, R-Fr.

The skinny: I’m having a hard time deciding who will actually be the No. 1 back, but exiting the spring, that distinction belongs to the more experienced Perkins. I just don’t know that he’s an every-down back, and I can’t see him giving you consistent yards between the tackles.

And that’s why the question of who’s No. 1 isn’t all that important. Perkins and Griffin will both get plenty of snaps. Perkins (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) will be more of an outside runner who can occasionally venture between the tackles. Griffin (6-0, 225) will be more of a power back, a role he said he’s trying hard to embrace.

That’s how I think it’ll pan out, and that’s largely based on what I saw this spring. Perkins and Griffin should make a nice one-two punch out of the backfield, both can break off big runs, and both will be utilized to some degree in the passing game. Can this duo be as effective as Perkins and Vick Ballard were? I don’t see why not, because I love what Griffin can do.

Perkins rushed for 452 yards at 4.9 yards per carry last fall, while Griffin gained 108 yards in limited action. He didn’t play until the sixth game of the year as he recovered from a knee injury suffered last spring. He was cutting just fine this spring.

As for Robinson and Milton, I don’t know that there will be many carries left over for them, especially with the Bulldogs expected to pass it more this year than in the past. But Robinson wowed in the spring with his speed; what will limit his snaps is his pass blocking. Milton looks like another Griffin in the making.