Better/Worse/Neutral: Running Back

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskies face the unenviable task of attempting to replace the best running back in the country a year ago, and one of the best the school has ever seen.

Returning: Jesse Callier (SR), Lavon Coleman (RS-FR), Deontae Cooper (SR*), Dwayne Washington (SO)

Losses: Ryan McDaniel, Bishop Sankey

Additions: Jomon Dotson

All the Huskies have to do at running back is replace a guy who ran for 1870 yards and 20 TD's a year ago, and 3496 yards and 37 TD's on his career. Simple, right?

There's a ton of bodies who will be contributing to this effort. Deontae Cooper looked like an All Conference player against Oregon State in taking 11 carries to 166 yards and 2 TDs. Dwayne Washington was Sankey's best backup (when he held onto the ball) a year ago, averaging over 7 yards a carry. Jesse Callier has been a contributor his entire career, and now two years removed from an ACL tear may be ready to have the bounceback we've seen from other Huskies in that situation. Lavon Coleman was one of the stars of the spring "game" and all of spring practices.

This group will also have the benefit of all five offensive linemen returning as well as a quarterback with more mobility than Keith Price, which can at times act as an additional blocker. With the new QB being broken in and the questionable depth at receiver the RB's will be leaned on early, and there's a good chance they'll be ridden through the season.

Verdict: Worse. This group could be really good, and one of the best top-to-bottom RB groups in the Pac-12. But they don't yet have that guy who can dominate a football game like Bishop Sankey could. Maybe that player will emerge as the season gets underway, but if any one back could match even the numbers Sankey put up as a sophomore, it would be a surprise. The depth will be better, but the top end will be taking a huge hit.

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