In 1998, Justin Fargas was a hotshot true freshman running back. He rushed for 277 yards on 77 carries (3.6 ypc) and 1 touchdown. However, in November of 1998 against Wisconsin, Fargas' season was cut short when he suffered a gruesome broken leg that had doctors considering amputation. Fargas redshirted in 1999 as he rehabilitated his broken right leg. In 2000, Fargas returned but was stuck behind the A-Train (Anthony Thomas) on the depth chart at running back. Midway through the 2000 season, Fargas switched to playing at safety. After the season, Fargas transferred to USC. Because of transfer rules, Fargas had to sit out the 2001 season. That left Fargas with only one season to make an impression. Fargas made the most of his opportunity as USC's main man in 2002 as he rushed for 1,677 yards on 257 carries (6.53 ypc). That season was impressive enough to help Fargas get selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2003 NFL draft. Last season, Fargas was a thousand-yard rusher for the Raiders and he began this season as the #1 running back before suffering an injury.
Carlos Brown (Jr./Jr.) is a man looking for playing time. He is stuck on the depth chart at running back behind Sam McGuffie and Brandon Minor. Returning from injury, Brown was expected to have a significant impact on the Notre Dame game. However, he only took took one direct snap from center that went for no gain. When asked whether he will be used as a running back more in the future, Brown responded,
"Hey, I'm clueless. You have to talk to coach Rod about all that."
When Coach Rod was asked at the Monday Press Conference about how he plans to use Carlos Brown, Coach Rod answered,
"You know, Carlos, he can play a couple positions. Obviously at quarterback, the situation in the game, the wet ball, the way we thought they were going to defend us, didn't lead to him playing more there.
"I still think he'll probably get more reps at runningback this week. We're also trying to teach him the slot. So depends on how much he can learn, again, how productive he'll be out there. Martavious played more than we wanted him to, but he's awful productive when he's fresh. So that's why he's out there."
When Coach Rod was asked whether he felt Carlos Brown had done a good job at the quarterback position, Coach Rod responded,
"Yeah. But he's very limited with what we're doing. It's not like you think he's going to line up, the guy knows everything. If you put a guy in there, all you're going to do is run right or run left, they're going to put everybody in there, load the box up. You have to have some answers for that. Not as simple as throwing him out there, okay, run this play. They can out number you. They know that. They can out number you defensively and you've got to have an answer for that. You've got to be able to execute that answer."
In light of the above, Brown does not appear to have prospects at converting to QB and his playing time at RB will be limited by playing behind McGuffie, Minor and possibly Grady. To get on the field, Brown (like Fargas before him) even tried defense last season. In a short lived experiment during 2007 Spring Practice, Brown practiced as a cornerback. By the end of Spring Practice, however, Brown was back at RB after Grady was lost to a season-ending knee injury. It was rumored that Brown was considering transfering last season prior to Grady's injury. When Grady went down, Brown stayed and saw his first significant playing time of his career at running back. However, the handwriting is on the wall and if Brown wants to establish himself as a prime-time running back he will evidently have to do it at a school other than Michigan. Brown has not used a redshirt season yet meaning he could transfer to another school next year and sit out while having one season of eligiblilty remaining. Brown could then try and duplicate the feat of Fargas who proved himself in his final year and was picked up by the NFL. Although I would like Brown to stay, I don't see that he has much of a future as a Wolverine. He may want to follow the lead of Fargas if he wants to ultimately play on Sundays. Go Blue!