JHoo’s Summer Reading ’08: Running Backs

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There are some positions where Virginia is trying to find enough bodies. There are some positions where we are hoping we have enough talent. There are some positions where we are not sure we have the right mix of what we need.

The running backs? No issues there. A lot of bodies. A lot of talent. A lot of versatility.

The Starter(s)

Cedric Peerman showed some breakaway ability with this 58-yard TD run against Duke.

I refuse to say that Cedric Peerman is not the starter, and I cannot credibly say that Mikell Simpson is not the starter. After all, we are talking about two backs who each started half of last season, each gained more than 500 yards on the ground, each averaged more than 5 yards per carry, each were threats to break a long run, and each were factors in the passing game. So when it comes to naming a starter, I am going with both. My column, my rules.

Cedric Peerman was the starter to begin the season, having clearly earned the job during an offseason when some thought he might look to transfer elsewhere. Instead, Peerman dedicated himself to getting into the best shape of his career … or maybe more accurately, the “right” shape, as he actually was taking off some of the muscle he had built up during his endless sessions in the weightroom. He also recaptured the one-cut running style that had made him so successful in high school and early in his UVa career.

Peerman’s hard work showed on the field. After an 18-yard dud of a game against Wyoming (when the whole offense seemed to be operating in reverse), Peerman went on a tear: 137 yards rushing against Duke, 186 yards rushing on the road against UNC, 138 yards rushing against Georgia Tech, and 87 yards rushing to go with 44 yards receiving in a blowout win against Pitt. Particularly telling to me, for a running back who was questioned as