MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Even with the news out of Tigers practice that University of Memphis top running back Patrick Taylor, Jr. is most likely out for Saturday’s game at South Alabama due to a lower leg injury, the U of M is still confident in its ground game.
That’s thanks to the readiness of a number of reserves at the position, most notably redshirt freshman Kenny Gainwell. He had his second straight game of more than 100 total yards offensively, plus 2 touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air, in the win against Southern last Saturday 55-24.
Gainwell is backed up by even more talent. Redshirt Freshman Kylan Watkins from Whitehaven powered his way for a score on 10 carries vs the Jaguars.
And then there’s true freshman Rodrigues Clark. The Starkville, Mississippi, native could turn out to be the most explosive of the group, and not just on offense.
Clark blew up Southern’s punting game with a Block that turned into a scoop and score by Keith Brown. He also scored a touchdown of his own late in the game on the ground, making the most of his first time in the spotlight.
“I’m just playing my role right now,” Clark said. “I’m not asking for too much. I’m going to just come out here an do my job, and whenever coach feels I’m ready to get more touches, then I’m going to do that.
Head coach Mike Norvell said Clark looks ready to play.
“He’s already coming along in special teams,” Norvell said. “And as a running back I like what he’s put on film from the last game, so I think he’s going to play.”
Norvell says he wants to keep the running back rotation rolling at South Alabama on Saturday. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. in Mobile on ESPNU.