Luke Fickell looks to get Cincinnati Bearcats running back Jerome Ford more involved
University of Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford said he was "impressed" by the environment fans created during the Bearcats' 52-3 win over Temple on Friday night at Nippert Stadium.
Ford responded to his first "Nipp at Night" experience by having the best game of his career. The Alabama transfer rushed for a personal-best 149 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
The effort led Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell to naming Ford the team's Offensive Player of the Game and earned Ford the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honor. Now, will it earn Ford more carries?
Fickell said Tuesday he would love to see Ford carry more of the load, but the defensive-minded head coach said he isn't a part of the offensive play-calling.
"They don't always listen to me," Fickell said with a laugh. "No, I think that's what those guys have done a great job of, and that's what Des (senior quarterback Desmond Ridder) has done a great job of is being able to handle the balance to that. I don't know that we're going to be like we were three years ago, where it was Michael Warren and he's going to get the ball 34 times. If we have to, I don't think that Jerome could do that. But just where we've grown as an offense, I think we're still better when we have a chance to move the ball around and not be as one-dimensional as maybe we had to be in the past."
Fickell said his staff is always looking for ways to get Ford more involved, particularly early in games.
"Like anything, there's a balance to all that you've got to do if you want to do it well," he said.
Ford has 516 rushing yards and eight touchdown this season. He had 483 yards and eight touchdowns all of last season. Those eight rushing scores this year are tied for second most in the AAC.
Ford is averaging 6.3 yards per carry, which is the third most in the conference among players with at least 55 carries. Ford has 82 rushing attempts this season. Ford's career high in carries in a single game is 20. That came on Sept. 18 at Indiana.
CFP National Championship Trophy will be at Nippert on Saturday
The College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy will be on the sideline for the sold-out, nationally televised showdown (noon on ABC).
Ridder said he's not going to touch the trophy or even acknowledge it until it's truly his.
"I'm sure it's going to look pretty and going to look shiny and everything, but we still have a long way to go till we get there," he said. "Hopefully one day we can hold that and it will be ours."
The trophy's presence is a bit of a consolation prize for Cincinnati, which was a finalist to be the host for this Saturday's "College GameDay" broadcast on ESPN. Instead, GameDay will be in Athens, Georgia, for the Southeastern Conference clash between No. 11 Kentucky and top-ranked Georgia.
UC to host Bearcats Air Fundraiser at Lunken Airport
The UC athletic department is looking to add a private plane to its growing list of resources.
Cincinnati will host the Bearcats Air Fundraiser at 6 p.m. Thursday inside Hangar C at Lunken Airport.
The event is to raise money for the Bearcats Air Fund, which was established to ensure the university's coaches have the access to a private plane for nationwide recruiting purposes.
Thursday's event will feature a panel discussion featuring Fickell, UC men's basketball coach Wes Miller and UC women's basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard. Dan Hoard, the play-by-play radio voice of the Bearcats, will host the discussion.
To join the event or to donate, visit https://foundation.uc.edu/bearcatsair.