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Badger Bits: Sharing The Wealth Between Running Backs

UW's offense needs to better integrate the running backs and distribute the ball amongst them.

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Eric Francis - Getty Images

While many wish to see more carries for James White and Melvin Gordon, we can't get too carried away. I agree the viable backups should see the field much more often, but I don't want to see a set number of touches for these players either -- which Bielema mentioned in his Monday press conference.

The past couple seasons, Wisconsin has had a backfield loaded with talent and found a way to effectively exploit those different skill sets. With those teams -- particularly in 2010 with White, Montee Ball and John Clay -- the offense typically went with whatever or whoever was having the most success in that game. That's the way it should be; There shouldn't be a set number of touches to get players involved. Instead, it should have more to do with the opponent and how much success each of the running backs is having against the defensive fronts.

It seems this season, the Badgers have found the most success on the ground with two-back sets. When Ball is set in the backfield and Melvin Gordon is lined up wide before motioning behind the quarterback, it sets up two dynamic players in the backfield. This makes it much tougher for the defense to make its reads, and with a successful running game, playaction out of this set can be extremely effective (as we saw in the first half of the Nebraska game).

I want to see more integration with the other running backs as much as anyone else, but substituting Gordon for Ball is not going to create bigger holes and easily fix the ground game woes. There's much more to it than that. Hopefully we see Canada utilize all three backs in a variety of offensive sets to maximize their output.

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