Coming into this season, running back was one of the biggest question marks on this team, a team that has depth at most positions. Desmond Roland, who graduated last season, took most of the carries and yardage from last season, leaving only Rennie Childs with any experience.
Before Carson changed his committment from Georgia to OSU, Childs was the only running back that had experience in this offense and running with Mason Rudolph in the backfield, even if only for three games. After this past season, Childs only returned with 294 yards and three touchdowns.
And so, with the obvious talent Carson showed and his impressions through spring and fall camp, Carson got the nod from Mike Gundy to start for the Cowboys. So far, the results have been, and I wish I had a better word for this, meh.
Whether it be a weak interior offensive line or adjusting to D-1 game speed, Carson has struggled to perform at a high level so far for the Cowboys. Fans have seen spurts of greatness, spin moves and hurling over 6-foot-plus defensive backs, but have yet to see the break away speed and big runs needed with a star running back.
Against Central Arkansas, Carson made some improvements, showing off his hurdling skills and scoring a touchdown on a nice breakaway in the red zone. Yet, most of the game was mired in short runs for Carson, only averaging 2.8 yards per carry.
So is it time for a new starter?
Buy- Rennie Childs becomes the starter next game or sometime this season.
It might be too soon to tell, but Rennie Childs looks like the most comfortable running back on the field so far.
Whether its breaking longer runs or grinding for yards, Childs has been the more impressive running back in the first two games. That is if you don't include pure athletic ability into the mix (see: hurdling a DB).
From stats alone, Childs is the more impressive of the two. Against Central Michigan, Childs averaged 7.2 yards on only 5 carries, and had a long of 26 yards. Carson posted a 4.2 average with a long of 11.
Against Central Arkansas, Childs had 50 yards on 8 carries, averaging 6.2 yards per and a long of 35. Carson did score a touchdown but only averaged 2.8 on 15 carries, ending up with fewer yards than Childs, even with his higher number of carries.
From sight alone, Carson might be the flashy pick to start for Oklahoma State, but Childs has looked much more accustomed to this offense than Carson. Whether it be finding holes in a line that has struggled so far this season or knowing when to break outside for a big run, Childs has showed his experience, something many people thought he lacked. Childs has, even though Carson was touted as the more physically impressive in the offseason, been the faster of the two as well, especially outside of the tackles.
Sell- Chris Carson stays the starter, Childs continues to back him up
Its only been two games.
Yes, looking at only stats gives you the notion that Rennie Childs is the better back, but the sample size for these two running backs is still so small. It is hard to know who is the better back when you have only faced two sup-par defenses.
To continue with that idea, many of the factors that play into having a good running game have been hurting Carson's production. Through the first two games, the passing game has struggled at times as well as the run blocking. Central Michigan and Central Arkansas made it their mission to stop the run of this team, even if they allowed OSU to defeat them through the passing game.
Combine these together and you have circumstances that make it difficult for any starting running back to have a good run game. Deeper into the season, conference opponents will respect the passing game and not sell out on the run, which should open up the run game more.
Also, stats at this point in the season can be skewed. Although Carson has fewer yards than Childs, much of the defenses that Childs has rushed against have been later in the game, where fatigue and substitutes factor into how successful a running back can be.
If anything, Carson is the only one of the two who has shown the athletic ability to make the big plays that OSU needs to take pressure off the quarterback and receivers. Whether it was hurdling a DB or making a nasty, NCAA-spin move-esque move against Central Michigan, Carson has showed OSU fans the star they expected coming into this season.
So, Buy or Sell?