New Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford was the head coach at the University of California for 11 seasons before coming to the pros. His philosophy with running backs at the college level was simple: One man can't get the job done. Tedford gave a single running back at least 60 percent of the carries just twice during his tenure.
Adimchinobi Echemandu and J.J. Arrington in 2003. Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett in 2005. Lynch and Justin Forsett in 2006. Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen in 2008 and 2009. C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele in 2012.
Each of those players handled at least 100 carries in their split backfield. It sounds like something similar is forming in Tampa Bay. ESPN.com Pat Yasinskas listed running back as one of the team's best competitions to watch during next month's training camp.
"Doug Martin is the starter, but the Bucs want to use a rotation," Yasinskas wrote Friday. "Bobby Rainey , Mike James, Charles Sims and Jeff Demps will all be vying for carries."
It should be noted that eight Cal running backs rushed for at least 1,000 yards under Tedford. But it's clear that Martin is going to be sharing quite a lot this season. Tedford has already praised Sims, a third-round rookie, for his performances during OTAs. And both Rainey and James shined during brief moments in the spotlight last season. As Yasinskas said, Martin is the starter; there's no disputing that. But perhaps he will be only an early down player. Martin should be drafted closer to RB2 range than RB1 in standard leagues.