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Chris Rodriguez Jr. said he’s ready for more responsibility and a bigger role, and offensive coordinator Liam Coen is prepared to feature him in UK’s new offense.
“Chris Rodriguez needs to touch the ball as many times as possible,” Coen said on Tuesday. “I do know that we want to get Chris over 25 touches a game.”
Coen said it’s his job to to find unique ways for the redshirt junior to get touches this season, though Rodriguez knows that there are other running backs who can contribute as well.
“It feels good, but at the end of the day, it’s not just me back there in the backfield,” Rodriguez said. “If I’m not able to get those carries, those other guys can step up.”
Coen knows it will be important for the running backs to be involved in a number of different ways, including in the passing game.
Rodriguez led the team in rushing last season and had 119 carries for 785 yards with 11 touchdowns. He had a career-high 149 yards, with two touchdowns on 12 carries against Vanderbilt last season.
Kentucky’s Running Back Room
Junior Tyler Markray practiced with the team last season. In 2019, he saw his first collegiate action during a game against UT Martin, where he had two carries for 52 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown run.
Freshman running back Jutahn McClain, who enrolled mid-year, played in all 11 games this season and totaled 16 carries for 62 yards. He also had one kick return for 26 yards and two tackles on special teams.
Junior running back Kavosiey Smoke played in seven of 11 games in 2020 where he had 47 carries for 229 yards and one score. The junior RB also had five receptions for 25 yards.
Sophomore running back Travis Tisdale saw action in seven games and marked six carries for 21 yards. He also had three kick returns for 42 yards.
Sophomore running back Torrance Davis saw action in five games last season, while freshman running back La’Vell Wright will be joining the group as a three-star recruit who was the No. 28 running back in the class of 2020.