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Evolution toward offensive balance reduces carries

The quest for offensive balance coupled with increased specialization has ushered in the era of the Incredible Shrinking Tailback, writes Ivan Maisel.

Updated: August 11, 2006, 1:41 PM ET
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

It was an throwaway comment made by Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino during the Big East Conference preview last month, yet it said volumes about the state of the running game in college football.

Petrino spoke of his senior tailback Michael Bush, a 6-foot-3, 247-pound tailback who delivers punishment and first downs in equal doses. Bush rushed for 1,143 yards and 23 touchdowns last season despite missing four starts because of injuries. He is the kind of tailback that every college coach ...

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