Rice football has a stable of running backs, but they’ll have one more mouth to feed in the backfield soon with the return of junior Nashon Ellerbee against Southern Miss.
After missing the first three games of the season, Nashon Ellerbe will return to game action for the first time against Southern Miss. Ellerbee set career highs in carries (22), yards (153) and touchdowns (four) against the Eagles last season.
It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the field on Saturday, Ellerbee is just excited to get back on the field. “We’re a completely different team,” Ellerbee emphasized, “No matter who we play, if we execute our scheme and do what we’re coached to do we’re going to give ourselves a chance to be successful. That gives us a lot of confidence knowing it’s all in our hands.”
As of this week, there are no limitations for Ellerbee, “We’ll see how we can get him in there and implement him into all schemes,” relayed head coach Mike Bloomgren, “He is available and good to go.”
Ellerbee hasn’t been sitting idly during fall camp of early season practices. He’s been participating in drills with a no-contact jersey and taking as much as possible in during film sessions. “Getting a lot of mental reps has been good for me. Watching the guys in front of me make plays and execute the scheme has been something that I’ve had to focus on and I’ve just had to put myself in their shoes for the reps that I couldn’t get. That’s been super useful and helpful for me.”
The Owls’ backfield could be their deepest position group on the team. Emmanuel Esukpa has been a workhorse up the middle while Austin Walter has been an explosive runner and pass catcher out of the backfield. Ellerbee is going to have to work his way into more touches in a crowded backfield, but regardless of what his role is, he says he’s ready to help the team win.
“It’s been a while. It’s been a long process,” said Ellerbee. ” I feel good. Special teams, running back, whatever the coaches need me to do, I’m ready to go. I’m excited.”