On the eve of the first day of SMU spring football practice, assistant head coach Ra'Shaad Samples views the running backs room noticeably different this year than he did last year. There was a time in 2020 when SMU's running backs were looking for internal answers.

There was no identity, and with no identity, there was a question mark when asking what the expectations were with the group. And that doesn't even include the devastating hand that COVID-19 played in spring workouts -- or lack thereof.