Heading into the season's third game, Air Force's tailback situation remains uncertain.
Both Anthony LaCoste and Jon Lee, still listed equally on the depth chart, have had 18 carries over the first two games. Lee has turned those chances into 149 yards and two touchdowns. LaCoste has 89 yards and hasn't scored.
In last week's lopsided loss to Utah State, the two combined for 14 carries and 29 yards.
"We want our tailbacks and fullbacks to be drivers," said coach Troy Calhoun, emphasizing that the team has for years been moving away from a triple-option offense. "When they are, you've got a chance to have a quality day. If not, it's safe to say there are going to be some struggles."
Calhoun has said all along that both players would see a number of carries this season, but few would have guessed the carries would be exactly the same. Calhoun said that won't likely be the case throughout the year.
"It starts with performance and productivity, but durability will factor in as well," Calhoun said.
Lee, who ranks second in Air Force history with 7.2 yards per carry, isn't complaining about his limited touches.
"It is easier when you get a few more carries to get into that groove," the junior said. "This is the system we have now. As the season goes on that might change a little bit."
Everything about the offense continues to be developing in pieces. Against Colgate, the Falcons ran for 409 yards. Against Utah State they threw 10 times in the first half and tried a variety of looks, including a wildcat formation.
The expectations on the tailback position might hinge on the play of new quarterback Jaleel Awini. If he can throw as well as was hinted in stretches during his first start, the offense truly could have a diversified look and the running backs could stand to benefit from fewer defenders near the line of scrimmage. Consequently, that might open the passing even more if play-action becomes useful for its deception.
"I'm excited to see what he (Awini) does this week," Lee said. "How he matures and gets better week to week, that will show if he'll be good or great."
More telling for Awini might be how the running game behind him develops, whether that be LaCoste, Lee or a continued even split of the two.