Notre Dame kept things relatively equal between its three running backs during Saturday's 48-17 win over Rice.
Taraen Folston was on the field for 21 snaps with the first-team offense, while Cam McDaniel and Greg Bryant each played 19 snaps. Folston led the Irish with 12 carries for 71 yards, while Bryant had eight rushes for 71 yards and one touchdown -- though Folston had three carries with the second-team offense and Bryant rushed for his touchdown with the same unit. McDaniel had eight carries for 40 yards, with nearly half those yards coming on a 23-yard run in the second quarter.
Outside of McDaniel being subbed in on a handful of third downs, each running back rotated in and out on a series-by-series basis. Coach Brian Kelly said after Saturday's game, though, that he and his coaching staff are still working out the best way to deploy those three backs.
"We are trying to figure that out as well. We don't have an exact science," Kelly said. "I wish I could be that smart. But we are really trying to figure out how to get them the carries that they all deserve, and also keep them in the flow of the game."
Notre Dame coaches like McDaniel's leadership, patience and pass protection skills, while Folston is a smooth all-around back and Bryant is a tough, explosive home run hitter. Given all three players bring qualities to the offense that make them deserving of carries, Notre Dame did that series-by-series rotation to keep them both involved in the game and well-rested for when it was their turn.
That strategy may change and evolve as the season goes on, but against Rice, Kelly said the rotation made sense.
"They are all deserving of carries," Kelly said. "We all believe that they bring something to the game and that's what we kind of felt like that was the best way to start this game."