The news that Charles Sims would be leaving the Houston Cougars was a huge shock to everyone who follows college football and to Houston in particular. The program was excited about possibly their best running back in school history coming back for one more season and staking his claim as the best back in the Big East/American Athletic Conference in 2013. However, things have changed and Houston must adapt. Luckily for head coach Tony Levine, he has some young legs ready to run next fall.
Redshirt sophomore Kenneth Farrow now moves into the No. 1 running back role next fall after finishing second on the team in rushing last season with 86 carries for 466 yards and two touchdowns. When Sims was battling injuries late in the year, Farrow stepped in and started three games down the stretch. He’ll be splitting time with sophomore Ryan Jackson who enjoyed a strong finish to 2012, rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns against the Tulane Green Wave.
The pair combined to take the bulk of the carries during spring practice as Sims was held out of contact drills. The plan was for Farrow and Jackson to get slightly expanded roles in the offense next season to spell Sims and keep the talented back healthy down the stretch. Levine believed that Sims was set to break out as the best all-purpose back in their new conference next season and wanted to keep him upright to prove it. Now, Houston will have to turn the entire rushing offense over to the young legs of Farrow and Jackson a year ahead of schedule.
Houston is fortunate to have some talent and experience in their young stable of running backs that will help the team soften the blow of Sims’ departure. While no one player will have the same impact that Sims has over the last several seasons, the stable of backs available will make the Cougars’ rushing attack viable in 2013.