At this point, it's no secret that Louisville has one of the best running back duos in all of college football.
After rushing for 1,525 yards & nine touchdowns in 2019, the seventh-most yardage in the nation & a UofL single-season record, redshirt sophomore Javian Hawkins will continue to get most of the reps for the Cardinals heading into the 2020 season.
But right behind him is a guy who has just as much speed & agility, and is one of the most versatile players in the program. Junior Hassan Hall notched 501 rushing yards with five touchdowns, as well as 793 kickoff return yards to earn All-ACC second team all-purpose & third team specialist honors.
"I think he's a really good compliment to Hawkins. They're 1a and 1b so to speak," running backs coach Norv McKenzie said in a teleconference following Wednesday's practice. "That kid can start in a lot of programs, we're gonna play him a lot. He got dinged up a couple games and that kind of hurt him last year, but I look forward to him getting a lot of carries and a lot of playing time."
Despite competing against each Hawkins for playing time, Hall has far from a contentious relationship with him. In fact, the duo is one of the many examples around the Louisville program of the coaching staff cultivating a family atmosphere.
"It's a brotherhood. When it comes to those two guys, they're very supportive of each other," McKenzie said. "You know you have sometimes where a guy wishes he would have had more carries or wish he would have been in that limelight, but Hassan isn't like that. He supports Hawkins, and Hawkins supports him."
Not only are they supportive of each other, but the duo also does their part leading the rest of the guys in the running back room who are further down the depth chart.
"They lead by example by how hard they practice. I think the guys that's behind them are trying to match their ability and intensity," McKenzie said. "They've done a really good job in term of bringing those guys along from a mental standpoint and also a physical standpoint."
Louisville will return to the practice fields on Monday, Aug. 24 after having the weekend off, and are set to kickoff the season against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Cardinal Stadium.
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