Henne, Peterson making an impact

Updated: November 1, 2004, 3:48 PM ET
By Rod Gilmore | ESPN Insider
As a freshman in 1980, Herschel Walker ran for more than 1,600 yards and led Georgia to an undefeated season. Many thought that never again would a freshman lead a top team. Today, playing freshmen has become more than just a trend, it's a necessity.

For years, there was an accepted truism among coaches that a team would lose one game for every freshman in its starting lineup. It was believed teams vying for a championship could not afford to play freshmen. That's no longer the case.

Two freshmen running backs are not only among the top 15 rushers in the country (Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma and Michael Hart of Michigan), but both of their teams are in the Top 12 of the BCS standings.

Rod Gilmore

College Football analyst
Rod Gilmore serves as an ESPN studio analyst on SportsCenter and College Football Live, and provides commentary on ESPN's Friday night game telecasts. He writes regularly for ESPN Insider.