Minot State University football coach Paul Rudolph used an analogy from another sport to describe how the Beavers plan to maximize production from the running back position.
Rudolph likened the Beavers' top three options at running back - senior Blake Eggl, redshirt freshman Tyler Molyneaux and true freshman Randel Barber - to different pitches in baseball.
"It's a different look," he said. "This one breaks here, that one breaks there, this one breaks this way and he hits you hard. If you can show (defenses) all those, I think you got a chance."
Minot State University freshman running back Randel Barber runs behind the block of senior lineman Matt Callan during the team’s scrimmage Tuesday at Herb Parker Stadium.
Rudolph said the Beavers will use all three running backs this year. The 5-foot-10 Eggl rushed for 107 yards on 23 carries last season and is the only one to play a college snap.
"Blake's probably not a big-play guy, but at the same token, he rarely takes negative-yardage plays," Rudolph said. "The guy gets what he gets ya and understands the scheme, understands the defense and is an extremely intelligent runner."
Molyneaux is the biggest of the backs at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds and describes himself as "a tough, physical downhill runner."
The wiry Barber is the speediest of the group and most capable of breaking a big play.
Each back has a different skill set, running backs coach Mark Kennedy said.
"Blake's smart on the field. His mind gets him in the right spot to make the right cuts to help our offense produce," Kennedy said. "Tyler, we want him to be more powerful as he is the bigger back, and Randel - he has explosion."
Barber, who also considered Bemidji State (Minn.), Upper Iowa and Glendale Community College (Ariz.), said he's picked up the offense faster than he anticipated.
Kennedy agreed, adding, "I feel like all three can play for us right now and we wouldn't have any issues."
The coaching staff's running back-by-committee approach is fine with Eggl.
"It's positive for our team keeping fresh running backs going against the same defense," he said. "They wear down and we stay fresh. ... Then when you're running the ball, every different running back is different for the defense, too, and they sometimes have a tough time adjusting to different running styles."