Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back George Atkinson III has always been a burner. But Atkinson wants to expand his role, and he's been working on becoming a more complete back. The Irish backfield is somewhat crowded already with Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick in the fold, but coach Brian Kelly is preparing to get Atkinson more looks (via CSN Chicago):
"We still have to continue to get more touches for George Atkinson. It's less about Cierre and Theo, because they know their role, they have accepted their role. George has, as well. We just think that from a coaching standpoint, if there is anything amongst the three backs, we have to get George some more touches."
Putting the ball in Atkinson's hands more seems like a no-brainer, considering the speedster has 290 yards on just 32 carries. That's good for a whopping 9.1 yards per carry, which is ninth-best in the FBS.
However, Atkinson had some issues holding on to the ball back in the spring, which set him behind Riddick and Wood on the depth chart. Now that Atkinson has improved in those areas, Kelly should be able to trust the young running back more.
Atkinson and the No. 5 Irish host BYU this weekend at 2:30 p.m. CT.