Story Poster
Photo by The ACC/Notre Dame
Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Running Backs Becoming Gamewreckers

October 13, 2020

Notre Dame's offensive line has received the praise all year and rightfully so, but the Fighting Irish also have a stable running backs that has a knack for creating big plays every week in 2020. 

Sophomore Kyren Williams has rushed for 359 yards in three games, which is good enough No. 12 in the country.

Williams' partner, freshman Chris Tyree, has rushed for 188 yards and both are averaging an incredible 7.5 yards per carry. 

Notre Dame sits at No. 5 in the nation in yards per rush (6.29) and head coach Brian Kelly praised his young running backs for their traits. 

"If you look at Kyren in particular, his rushing yards after first contact are pretty impressive," said Kelly. "And so for a guy that in some circles you may say he's not very big, he plays big from that perspective. 

"And then Chris Tyree, what we've been very, very impressed with are his patience and ability. For example, one of his long runs on the outside zone play, was cut back up underneath the tight end wing block. That requires a lot of patience, confidence and trust. You usually don't get that with a young back. They become impatient. They want to bounce it outside."

There is also a great deal of confidence coming from the running back duo as they know they are dangerous if they can get to the second level. 

"When we can get past the defensive linemen like we do because of our offensive line, it allows us to put moves on the linebackers," Williams stated. "We know that not many guys can tackle us if we put a move on them. 

"Being able to get past the defensive line because of the offensive line allows us to be able to expand our game and play our game." 

And yes, Notre Dame does have a third running back in the wings in junior C'Bo Flemister.

The Georgia native ran for 127 yards against South Florida and Kelly admits it's hard to get them all on the field, but it's also the sign of a good team. 

"There's no clear answer to the balance question when you have good players and great depth," said Kelly. "We have to have selfless players that understand that each and every week is really a different game in itself and how it unfolds. You look at C'Bo Flemister, where he has over 100 yards rushing against South Florida and then he gets three or four snaps. That's hard for a young man, but he's got to understand that we've got talented players and you still have to prepare yourself, but it's a team game—the same thing at linebacker.

"They've got to compete and they've got to know that we're going to make decisions, as coaches, that are in the best interest of the team and not necessarily about the individual, but what's best for the team. Sometimes that is difficult if you're an individual, but you have to understand that is what's best for the team."

subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.