We began our position previews this fall camp on Monday with a look at the quarterbacks. Today, we turn our attention to Liberty’s running backs.
Liberty had one of the most explosive rushing attacks in the country in 2020, and that unit should be even more dynamic this season. Quarterback Malik Willis led the team in rushing, but the running backs will provide plenty of competition for the talented signal caller to lead the team in rushing.
Last season, the Flames had a three-headed monster at tailback in Joshua Mack, Peytton Pickett, and Shedro Louis. The plan will be the same for the team this season though Utah transfer TJ Green will replace Pickett alongside Mack and Louis.
Running Backs Coach Bruce Johnson – “It was three backs we used last year with (Joshua) Mack, Peytton (Pickett), and Shedro (Louis). Nothing will change with that, all we did is with Peytton gone we’ve added TJ Green. It will keep rolling the same exact way. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but those top three guys are definitely the dudes. Hopefully we can maintain that depth throughout the season with Mack pushing the load and TJ Green and Shedro being added.”
8 Joshua Mack R-SR 5’11” 200
J-Mack has returned for his super senior season. He started 7 of the 10 games he saw playing time in last season, leading all running backs with 797 yards rushing. He had five 100-yard rushing games. It was his first year as Liberty’s top back after splitting time with Frankie Hickson in 2019. Mack transferred to Liberty after playing two seasons at Maine where he rushed for 2,047 yards and 15 touchdowns while leading all of the FCS in rushing yards per game at 133.5 in 2017.
Running Backs Coach Bruce Johnson – “He has changed himself, body-wise. His body is totally different than what it’s been in year one. Keeping him conditioned throughout the season and the maintenance of his body when we get to week 8, 7, 10, and 12. He’s doing a good job of mentoring the young guys. He’s doing a good job of mentoring number 15 TJ Green, the transfer. He’s doing a good job of that. He’s doing a good job of being locked in on the details. He’s doing a really good job. I’m proud of him. He’s got to maintain in the little things. He’s improving.”
15 TJ Green R-JR 6’1″ 200
Green will attempt to slide in for the Flames among the top three running backs this season and take the place of Peytton Pickett. Green joins the program after spending two seasons at Utah where he played in 25 games with 59 rushing attempts for 258 yards and a touchdown.
Running Backs Coach Bruce Johnson – “If you watched anything he did in the spring, you can see how explosive he is. We watched a gamut of guys in the transfer portal, watched quite a bit. (Green) stuck out the most. As guys were getting added to other rosters at other schools, we were able to jump in on him and had to battle it out with some schools. He is a great asset to this football program and this offense. Really excited about watching him and seeing all the improvements we can make with him. He definitely has a tool set with the things he can do with his size and his speed.”
1 Shedro Louis SO 5’8″ 175
Louis has solidified himself as one of the top kick returners in the country over his first two seasons with the Flames, and last year he broke out in a big way as a running back after beginning his career at wide receiver. He started 2 games in 2020, finishing with 61 rushing attempts for 429 yards and 3 scores. With Mack out in the game at Syracuse, he finished with 10 rushes for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Running Backs Coach Bruce Johnson – “Shedro has been really explosive, really explosive. Watching him on those outside zone plays and inside zone when he breaks it…”
20 Troy Henderson R-SO 5’8″ 165
Running Backs Coach Bruce Johnson – “Troy has improved a lot. He has a tool set. He’s fast and has a twitch and can do some things for us.”
33 Frank Boyd R-JR 5’11” 200
Running Backs Coach Bruce Johnson – “I really liked what Frank Boyd did. It was a big improvement. He didn’t play last year, he was injured or what not.”
23 Malik Caper R-FR 6’1″ 240
Running Backs Coach Bruce Johnson – “His body has changed as well, he’s shed some weight. Malik might be down to 220, 215. He’s a bigger back that can do some things. These last few days, watching him run the ball, he made some sudden moves and some quick moves on some jump cuts on our inside zone. It looked nice. Just getting him in the groove, moving him over from linebacker, it’s been awesome to watch him grown and mature. He has come a long way since spring. It’s an adjustment from linebacker. He did play some tailback in high school, as a bigger back, and he weighed a lot more. I’m looking forward to seeing how he can improve the next few weeks and seeing if we can get some more out of him.”