CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) --UVA’s running back room is now one deeper as senior Ronnie Walker JR has been cleared for contact. The Indiana transfer was forced to sit out both the spring and fall camp due to a broken leg, missing out on his chance to compete for the number 1 spot on the depth chart. With Walker Jr. out it was Perris Jones who beat out the fall camp favorite Mike Hollins for the starting position. Walker Jr now sheds his green jersey and hopes to get into rotation as UVA grows their running back room. 

“We are going to run the ball and we gave everybody a glimpse of what the UVA running back group can do,” explained senior running back Ronnie Walker Jr. “As soon as I get out there I think we can be very dynamic you know, just the rotation the running backs ya know can be useful to the offense in different ways.”

As UVA prepares to head to Champaign for their first road game they're hoping to show that their run game against Richmond was no one hit wonder. UVA ran the ball the most since 2020 with 42 carries for 259 yards. It was Perris Jones who stole the show on Saturday with his first career start but both Elliott and Coach Kitchings have remained steadfast that this will be a running back by committee approach.

“All the guys got ability in that running back room,” started Offensive Coordinator Des Kitchings, “But who's consistent right, who's not making mistakes, who's pass protecting, who's taking care of the football; ball security and then who's maximizing opportunities when they do get it.”

While UVA’s run game looked substantially better than years past, Elliott commented that ball security could use some improvement. Mike Hollins fumbled in the end zone and Perris Jones bobbled a touchdown catch. Elliott chalked some of these errors up to fatigue and says having more fresh legs to substitute will help. As a former running back coach himself Elliott knows just how physically taxing the position is and although he is eager to get Walker Jr. and others back into action he plans to take it one day at a time.

“We do get Ronnie Walker back, so we get Cody Brown, you've got Perris, you've got Mike Hollins, you've got Xavier, so it'll be more of a situation if he's fully ready to go, then we'll turn him loose and try to get him some action,” said Tony Elliott.