The Texas Longhorns are definitely not short on talent when it comes to the running back position. Early in the season, though Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown emerged as the team’s premier backs, fellow running back Joe Bergeron got a fair amount of playing time and usually made the most out of his opportunities. However, after a couple of fumbles in key moments, he appeared to have earned himself a spot in the “doghouse.” Since then, his play has been limited to mop up duty.
In today’s press conference, head coach Mack Brown praised Bergeron for the way he responded to that adversity. Instead of moping around, as many young players would do, he asked instead to play on special teams as much as possible. His hard work and “never quit” attitude earned him the respect of his coaches and teammates, and with Gray’s season-ending injury, Bergeron will get his second chance.
Though he may not necessarily be the home run threat that Gray and Brown are, one could make a case that Bergeron-while not the best runner on the team-is the hardest runner on the team. This season, Bergeron is averaging an impressive 5.5 yards per carry and has scored three touchdowns, one of which came on an 8-yard run late in the third quarter vs. the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Horns’ overtime victory. He fights through tackles and gains tons of yards after contact, making him the team’s best third-down-and-short and goal line option, assuming he is able to hang onto the ball. In fact, in his limited action, the Longhorns have often struggled in such situations, and Bergeron could be exactly what they need.
Though Brown will be the premiere back for the remainder of the season, Gray’s absence allows Bergeron to prove himself once again , and with the Longhorns in an extremely tight Big 12 title race, he appears ready and eager for the task.