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Heat Index: Will bell cow emerge at RB? Or will Frost divvy up the workload?
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HEAT INDEX: RUNNING BACKS

Heat Index: Will bell cow emerge at RB? Or will Frost divvy up the workload?

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Husker Extra is running a four-week series called Heat Index, a quick look at the Huskers before fall camp. This week, Steven M. Sipple counts down five position battles of particular interest.

Today, a look at running back, where Nebraska fans may see plenty of different faces.

Let's start by establishing that this conversation is fluid. 

Although nobody on Nebraska's roster has proved himself as a go-to running back who can carry a heavy load (200-plus carries) during a full collegiate season, that doesn't mean new Husker head coach Scott Frost isn't open to highlighting that type of player if one were to emerge.

Exhibit A: Royce Freeman. With Frost as Oregon's offensive coordinator in both 2014 and 2015, the 5-foot-11, 231-pound Freeman was leaned on hard both seasons, averaging 16.8 carries in 2014 and 21.8 in 2015. Freeman was selected by the Denver Broncos in the third round of this year's NFL Draft.

Can Greg Bell, a touted junior-college transfer, carry that sort of load for Nebraska in 2018? Hard-charging junior Tre Bryant averaged 25 carries in the Huskers' first two games in 2017 before a knee injury ended his season. How well will he hold up physically this season? Could senior Devine Ozigbo surprise everyone and become a consistent go-to back? Might sophomore Jaylin Bradley break out in a big way?

Bottom line, this particular battle at running back isn't necessarily about a few players competing for a heavy workload. In this case, it's probably more about several players sharing opportunities and playing defined roles, as was the case last season at Central Florida. Frost generally counted on three or four running backs while quarterback McKenzie Milton also was prominent in the running game -- in fact, Milton had the second-most carries (106) and rushing yards (613) for the undefeated Knights.

Adrian Killins led UCF with 122 carries for 790 yards (6.5), while Otis Anderson rushed 69 times for 494 yards (7.2) and Taj McGowan 69 for 235 (3.4). Anderson was the team's fifth-leading receiver with 30 receptions, and Killins was sixth (25).

The "R" position factors into this discussion, as Frost uses players who can play both running back and slot receiver. Incoming freshman Miles Jones could fit that role perfectly, as could Tyjon Lindsey and JD Spielman.

Yeah, we threw a lot of names at you. But in the end, which ones will get the most touches? That is the question.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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