Pressing on with my position-by-position preview of this year's Montana Grizzlies, here's part 8 of 15.

The running backs, well, they have to be able to run the ball. That means picking up 3+ yards per carry and keeping fumbles to a minimum. In Coach Robin Pflugrad's offense, the running backs have to also be able to pass protect and excel in receiving the football. Last year's starter, Chase Reynolds, led the team in total receptions with 40.

So, without further ado:

Lance Carl, Sr.
Pete Nguyen, Jr.
Nelo Butler, Fr.
Jordan Canada, Fr.
Gavin Hagfors, Fr.
Brett Kirschner, Fr.


PLAYER TO WATCH: Jordan Canada

SLEEPER: Lance Carl

FUTURE STAR: Nelo Butler

As you can tell, the Griz have a lot of underclassmen at the running back position. Right now a very strong battle is brewing between Pete Nguyen and Jordan Canada for the starting position. Regardless of who is named the starter, both players will see plenty of snaps, as will freshman Brett Kirschner. Senior Lance Carl has taken a pretty interesting path to his senior season of football. He originally ran track and field at the University of Washington, before transferring to Missoula. Last year, Carl showed promise but suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the year. Nelo Butler and Gavin Hagfors were both accomplished high school players, and will likely redshirt this season.

In other roster news, sophomore Ethan Pateman, who was expected to see time at middle linebacker suffered a season-ending injury last week. Freshman defensive tackle Jesse Ginn was lost for the year as well. To add additional depth in Ginn's absence, freshman Christian Licciardi has been moved from offensive guard to defensive tackle.