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Story Line Countdown No. 15: How Will OSU Use All Its Running Backs in 2018?



Football in Boone Pickens Stadium is only 16 days away.

To help get you through these final few weeks, we decided to count down the top 15 storylines entering the 2018 season. Here’s No. 15.

The Oklahoma State backfield will be crowded this season.

Of course, there is superstar Justice Hill, but there’s also J.D. King, Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown, who no one seems to be talking about. There’s been some talk about J.D. King and his herculean strength, and there’s been some talk about Chuba Hubbard’s speed. Through all of that, though, Brown’s jack-of-all-trades style has flown under the radar.

King is a proven commodity, having rushed for 469 yards as a freshman last season including his breakout 142-yard outing in Morgantown.

Brown also brings a level of credibility, having played in 11 games last season where he had the highest yards per carry (6.6) of all Cowboys with at least 30 carries. He was also OSU’s second leading kick returner, accumulating 177 yards on nine attempts.

Hubbard is the biggest unknown from an experience standpoint, but legends of his get-away-from-the-moose speed and seeing his transformation of adding 17 pounds has the fan base’s hopes high on the former four-star recruit.

Finding roles for all of the backs might be difficult this year, as Gundy has even mentioned he wants to lessen Hill’s carries per game.

During Mike Gundy’s presser at OSU’s media day, he gave some insight in the coaching staff’s strategy of getting the ball to the team’s playmakers:

“What we have done for a number of years is list from one to eight, if you are that lucky, skill guys,” Gundy said. “If you had to say, ‘This is the guy I need to touch the ball the most that help us score touchdowns, who would that be? And then who is second, who is third, who is fourth, who is fifth and all the way down.’ … At that position (running back), we’ve got a number of guys who we are going to find out how good they are because they need to touch the ball.”

After Gundy’s presser, he dove into that idea further with the media who stuck around. He gave to top of his list for this season, but his No. 1 slot was split into four: Justice Hill and three blanks. He said one of the blanks might even speak French, alluding to Hubbard, a Canadian (which who knows if he actually speaks French).

So, it’s obvious all of them will see action, but there are only so many carries that can be handed out. At OSU’s media day, King mention the team was working in new packages to get the running backs on the field. I wouldn’t expect Hill to start at quarterback with the other three around him in the diamond, but I’m sure Yurcich is having a good time finding ways to get the ball to his running backs.

“We have really two guys that are proven with Hill and J.D., having touched the ball on the road in conference play last year 48 times – I think that’s the number,” Gundy said. “Thirty-eight or 48, it’s all the same. He’s a proven player for us, and then LD has done well and we really like Chuba, so as a group they should be very effective if we can keep them healthy.”

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