"Don't leave money out on the field," cautions Jay Ajayi. "Each play, I'm trying to make money for myself, my team, and my family."
If it's money season for Ajayi, it would be sound financial advice for the Boise State football team to open up a shared bank account with the star running back. Ajayi rushed for over 1400 yards and scored 18 touchdowns in 2013, earning the junior national attention this off-season.
"It looks like it could be a lot of pressure, but I would like to believe I'm a level-headed guy and I don't let it get to me," explains Ajayi. "I don't really try to stress myself too much on the hype."
Instead, Ajayi is stressing to get better, if that's possible.
"Me and coach Riddle, we've just been working on a lot of secondary cuts. Trying to break those seven yard gains into 15 or 20-plus."
After Ajayi, Boise State's depth chart is a column of question marks. The departure of Aaron Baltazar this off-season further exacerbated the situation.
"If you could have a perfect world, you'd have three backs in there and those guys would carry the ball maybe 17-20 times," says head coach Bryan Harsin. "It's all about what we have to do to get the job done. Some games, Jay may carry the ball 30 times."
Late last season, then-freshman Devan Demas asserted himself as the primary back-up, and Ajayi says he's still clinging to that role.
"Devan has really stepped up big time since the spring throughout the summer. He's working hard and he's really getting to be that number-two back," declares Ajayi.
Junior Jack Fields and redshirt sophomore Charles Bertoli will also vie for carries. Bertoli didn't see the field much in 2013, and Fields maddened coach Petersen with his inconsistency.
"Everybody comes from a high school as a stand out guy that got all the carries and everything but the competition is very stiff," notes Fields. "We have a talented group of running backs from the freshmen all the way up to the juniors."
Those freshmen include Skyler Seibold, Ryan Wolpin, Cory Young, and Jeremy McNichols. McNichols has stood out among the rest this fall.
"We've asked them to do a decent amount," said Harsin of the incoming freshmen. "Not as much as everybody else, but what we have asked them to do, they have done well. At least they're pointed in the right direction and they're going hard. At this point, that's pretty good."
"We just continue to work together hand-in-hand," says Fields. "It's a stable. We're all teammates, and we love working together."