Brian Maddox can do the math.
He looks around at fellow returning running backs Kenny Miles and Jarvis Giles, as well as highly acclaimed freshman Marcus Lattimore, and knows there are only so many carries to go around.
So the 5-foot-10, 230-pound senior from Anderson is hoping to take advantage of his greatest strengths -- experience and reliability -- as he battles the two sophomores and freshman for playing time.
"I'm definitely doing everything I need to do to win carries," Maddox said. "Like I said, I'm very reliable. I keep harping on that. If they need something, they can come to me and I can get the job done."
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Maddox rushed for 307 yards last season, second behind Miles, and a team-high six touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 135 yards and two scores. Maddox is a hard worker who has a nose for the goal line and first-down marker, and he's a solid run and pass blocker. He's hoping to surpass the 500-yard mark and score more touchdowns than he did a year ago.
"I feel like I can do everything," he said.
Maddox understands, however, that the backs who emerge are going to be the ones with the hot hand at key moments in games, when the chains are moving and the offense is putting points on the board.
Running backs coach Jay Graham isn't ruling anyone out, especially his most experienced back, midway through preseason camp.
"We're in the middle of a competition here, and we're going to see what happens. We've still got two weeks left before we make some decisions here," Graham said. "(Brian's) really been doing a good job of being prepared and knowing he can do all the things. He has a lot of experience, and he's been competing at a high level. He's had a lot of really nice plays out here."
When Maddox first arrived on campus, he had to wait his turn. He admitted having to exhibit patience wasn't always fun, but he understood. A four-star recruit who rushed for 4,200 yards and 50 touchdowns at T.L. Hanna, he wasn't used to watching and waiting. When running backs enter programs, they dream of 1,000-yard seasons and all-conference honors.
"I thought all that stuff, but I was behind two good running backs when I first got here, Cory Boyd and Mike Davis. I got put in place a little bit," he said. "Over the years, it's gotten better each year. So I expect it to get even better this year for me."
Ultimately, Maddox realizes he has a greater responsibility than simply winning a starting job. He wants to go out a winner, which means he has to lead the way for Miles, Giles and Lattimore so they all can be successful.
"I definitely feel like a mentor to all these guys out here," he said.
It's that sort of positive attitude that Graham loves to see in his senior.
"That's the thing he has really taken on. As a coach, you can say it, 'I want you to be a leader,' but they don't always take it and go with it," Graham said. "He's really taken it and worked really hard at making sure the guys are focused on their goals. He's getting them together and talking about and reiterating things we've discussed as far as what's going to make us successful."
Along with team captains and fellow seniors Patrick DiMarco and Cliff Matthews, Maddox is excited about helping show the way. He exudes optimism about the team's offensive potential, which includes an experienced quarterback and talented receiving corps to go with depth at running back.
"We can do a lot of great things this year. It's all up to us. We can definitely make some things happen this year," Maddox said.
Graham knows it takes more than talent for everything to come together, however, which is why he's glad to have Maddox with him one final season.
"He's a guy you can trust because he's going to do things the way you ask him to do them," Graham said.
"He's going to try as hard as he possibly can to do things the right way."