Running backs carrying offensive attack
Scott Satterfield knew Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall would be Louisville football’s two running backs this fall. The first-year Cardinal head coach might not have known how dynamic of a combination the two ball carriers would be.
Hawkins has rushed for 1,278 yards and seven scores while Hall has rushed for 468 yards and five scores for a Louisville offense averaging 214.9 yards per game.
Hawkins’ style of running has worked perfectly for Louisville’s zone running scheme. The redshirt freshman has rushed for over 100 yards in six games this season, the only freshman in program history to do so.
“He just got a knack for finding those holes within our scheme,” Satterfield said. “He’s a powerful runner you know we’ve mentioned that he’s not very big but he’s a very strong compact back.”
Hawkins rushed for 233 yards against Syracuse in Louisville’s 56-34 victory. His best run might have come late in the third quarter when he broke several tackles for a 44-yard touchdown.
Louisville’s offense is designed to utilize the physical running back with a 5-foot-9, 182-pound frame.
“He always runs with a chip on his shoulder, several of those runs the other night, he broke tackles where he spun off guys,” Satterfield said. “They kind of had him hemmed up and he just refused to go down.”
Hawkins has been the featured back of Louisville’s offense, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, but Hall has been used as well, carrying the ball 98 times and averaging 4.8 yards per run. Hall, a sophomore, was Louisville’s leading returning rusher from a year ago.
“Coming into the fall we thought Hassan would be the guy, but he gets dinged up a little bit,” Satterfield said. “Then Hawkins kinds of plays a little bit better, and we knew we had both. It was going to take both of them this year.”
Hawkins showed his ability in Louisville’s season opener against Notre Dame. He rushed for 122 yards against the Irish to solidify his role as the top running back.
Whether it was Hawkins or Hall, Satterfield wanted a running back to play a large role in the offense. Louisville is averaging 34.5 points and 453.4 yards per game.
“We’ve kind of leaned on that,” Satterfield said. “You put those two together and it’s been a great combination. I think we’re sitting here at number two in the ACC in scoring offense and I don’t think anybody would have thought that starting this year.”