When the Rams’ 2007 season began, it appeared that Kyle Bell would re-assume the starting tailback position.
The junior, who returned from a season-ending knee injury in 2006, did indeed start at halfback the first five games of the season.
But with the running game struggling, the CSU coaching staff began looking for a spark from someone else.
First, it was freshman John Mosure, whom the Rams inserted midway through the TCU game. Mosure finished with 41 yards on 10 carries.
Then, after another frustrating performance from Bell against San Diego State, the team gave junior Gartrell Johnson III the starting nod week six against Air Force.
Johnson responded with a career-high 147 yards.
Three weeks later the Rams were still searching for a breakout performance in the backfield, and this time they turned to Michael Myers.
Myers, a junior, had just seven carries on the season until Saturday at BYU, when he was given a shot late in the Rams’ 35-16 loss.
Myers provided an instant boost for a stagnant CSU offense, finishing with six carries for 37 yards and the Rams’ only offensive touchdown on the day.
Now the question is whether Myers will be the featured back Saturday when the Rams visit New Mexico on (1p.m., the mtn.).
“I haven’t been told anything,” Myers said following practice Tuesday. “I just go out there every day and practice and whatever happens, happens.”
Co-offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt said Myers will get “a shot” sometime in the first half against New Mexico.
But Johnson is still expected to get the start, and Bell will still see some carries as well.
Hammerschmidt said Myers gives the Rams’ offense a big-play threat.
“If we do block it right I think he brings the threat of a 50-yard run,” Hammerschmidt said. “You can run it inside or outside with him. I definitely think he brings that.”
Myers said he sees himself in the same light, and that all of the Rams’ backs provide a different quality.
“All the running backs bring a different dynamic to the game,” Myers said. “Gartrell and Kyle bring their strength, John brings agility, and I bring speed. If there’s too much of one thing, like if I got the ball 30 times a game, I couldn’t really do as much as I can if I come in after those guys have been pounding away.”
Myers was happy with his performance Saturday at BYU but knows the decision on playing time is not his to make.
“As a moral victory, I feel like I made a statement,” Myers said. “But as far as the game plan the coaches have, I don’t know. That’s out of my hands.”
Hammerschmidt said the coaches will continue to watch all of the backs in practice and see who emerges going into Saturday.
“It’ll be a good competition between all of those guys,” he said.
As for Bell, the frustration of not being in the starting role has not affected his outlook.
“You want to be in there, obviously just as much as the other guys do,” Bell said. “You just keep fighting.”
Whoever gets the majority of carries on Saturday, both Bell and Myers said, all of the running backs will be pulling for them.
“We definitely feed off of each other,” said Myers. “It’s all competition on the field and it’s all love in the locker-room.”