In Trent Richardson's ideal world, he'd be running through defenses and threatening records the way he did at the University of Alabama.

But in reality, the Indianapolis Colts running back has been struggling to gain traction as the team tries to breathe life into its running game.

Richardson likely isn't living up to his own — or his team's —expectations. His 2.8-yard per carry average since joining the Colts via a trade with the Browns in September has sparked significant debate among fans and media about Richardson's ability to be a true franchise back.

But Monday he offered a vigorous defense for himself.

"I'm not frustrated at all because I think I've been playing good," Richardson said. "If you turn on the film, I don't have any missed assignments. I haven't had any missed reads. I've been playing good. Stuff just hasn't matched up like we thought it would when I'm in there. I think teams match up differently when I come in.

"But if (running back) Donald (Brown) is having a good day or (quarterback) Andrew (Luck) is having a good day, I think that's a good day for me even if people are keying on me. That might let Donald get going or let Andrew have a big day. That's a good day for me, too."

Coach Chuck Pagano seems to agree. He said Friday that Richardson has been, for the most part, a victim of circumstance, suggesting there hasn't often been room to run for Richardson.

"You look at Trent's runs, for whatever reason, there's penetration (by defenders)," Pagano said. "You feel bad. A guy gets the ball handed off to him and all of a sudden, there's a guy sitting there for whatever reason."

Richardson suggested opponents have sold out against the run, particularly on early downs. That's when he gets a majority of his carries.

"If I don't have big runs because they're trying to stop the run, then I feel like I'm doing my job," he said. "Now, if I'm out there missing my reads and not blocking and not being a (complete) back, that's different. Being an all-around back, you have to be able to block, be able to catch, you just have to make plays every way you can.

"I think I've been on my job the whole time."