Plancher leads South Florida tailback derby

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Senior Mo Plancher has pulled ahead in the competition for the tailback job at South Florida, Brett McMurphy reports in the Tampa Tribune.

Running backs coach Carl Franks told the paper that if the season began today, Plancher would be the starter.

"Mo has demonstrated he's a little sharper on all his assignments, great on pass protection and a solid runner," Franks said. "I trust him. That's a huge thing for a coach to say about a player is that you trust him.

Other candidates for the job include Mike Ford, Jamar Taylor, Aston Samuels and true freshman Lindsey Lamar, who has been impressive so far in camp. The Bulls have been waiting for a couple of years now for somebody to step up and establish himself as a true, every-down No. 1 back. Ford looked like he'd be that guy early in his career, but both he and Taylor were banged up most of last season.

Plancher, meanwhile, has overcome injuries and a family tragedy during his career. He's not flashy but is a steady senior.

A reliable running game would provide a huge complement to Matt Grothe and the South Florida offense this season.