The running backs look a lot different without Javian Hawkins in the lineup. It was the three-headed approach of redshirt freshman Jalen Mitchell, redshirt senior Maurice Burkley, and junior Hassan Hall.
Hall played his first game since an Oct. 9 meeting with Georgia Tech while Mitchell and Burkley built upon their great play from the Virginia game.
Burkley provides a very strong presence with excellent power and contact balance. He’s also elite in pass protection where he gives Malik Cunningham all kinds of support when he’s back in the pocket.
Mitchell is providing good burst, strength, and a willingness to get north-south in a hurry. That’s all you can ask for out of your young running back.
Mitchell needs to develop an aspect of vision he does not yet have. He has some issues seeing rushing lanes on cutbacks. That may be something that just comes with experience for Mitchell. Either way, it is something to keep an eye on for the future.
Hassan Hall looked rusty in his return and that is understandable. He looked to get his footing as the game went on. He’s definitely Louisville’s best big-play threat at the position.
The three backs combined for 124 yards on 30 carries. Not a bad performance as the coaching staff looks to find the right balance of the three with the departure of Hawkins.
Overall, these backs all have a different flavor to them. Burkley is all power and pass protection, Hall is a home run hitter, and Mitchell is a mix of something in between. The running back position is in good hands for the rest of the 2020 season and beyond.
Overall Grade: B+