A telling stat from Notre Dame's 45-10 win over Air Force on Saturday: Freshman Tarean Folston had the most carries of any Irish running back.
Cam McDaniel was Notre Dame's most effective running back, rushing 10 times for 61 yards. And to be sure, six of Folston's runs came after Notre Dame inserted its second-team offense late in the third quarter.
But with the first team still in midway through the third quarter, Folston rushed for 29 yards on four consecutive carries. With George Atkinson (six carries, 18 yards) and Amir Carlisle (three carries, three yards) having uninspiring games, the door was open for Folston to make an impression.
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That door will stay open, too, seeing as coach Brian Kelly said Folston is taking practice reps away from Atkinson, Carlisle and McDaniel.
"You have to be really good to take reps away from each one of those guys, but he's done that," Kelly said. "He's ran the ball well, effectively. He continues to get better each and every week."
It's been a month and a half since Carlisle garnered more than three carries in a game, while Atkinson's struggles came on the heels of a 40-carry, 242-yard three-game stretch.
"As it relates to George, we keep coming back to we want him to be physical," Kelly said. "We want him to use his size and strength with his speed. We're always consistently reminding him of that."
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McDaniel, meanwhile, leads Notre Dame with 91 carries for 412 yards. Among Notre Dame running backs, he's established himself the best, while Atkinson has struggled with consistency and Carlisle hasn't made an impact since early in the season.
Folston has only appeared in four games, but has 110 yards on 22 carries. As long as the established guys ahead of him keep scuffling, expect him to get more and more work in November.