Buffs Football Offseason 2011 Positional Breakdowns: Running Backs

BOULDER CO - NOVEMBER 20: Running back Rodney Stewart #5 of the Colorado Buffaloes celebrates after he threw an option pass 23 yards to Toney Clemons for a touchdown against the Kansas State Wildcats at Folsom Field on November 20 2010 in Boulder Colorado. Colorado defeated Kansas State 44-36. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Hello, Buffalo fans. How's it going? I hope this (football) offseason is treating you well. I know I've been having some ups and downs, sports-wise (thanks a lot, Buffaloes BBall...), so now I've decided to turn my attention to something that can't really disappoint me: The CU Buffs offseason roster breakdown. I did this just before last season started. Here is the last one, which contains links to that round of breakdowns. Since they finally published the first 2011 team roster, I think now is a good time to get to work on these. I'll start somewhere besides QB, because I like bucking trends. So F-you, establishment!

After the jump you'll find breakdown number one...the Running Backs

Running Backs:

  • Rodney Stewart, Sr - Speedy, as you all know, is the man. He is our feature back, despite his size, and he will get a lion's share of the carries once again in 2011. He is pretty impressive for his size, and has improved as a RB each season. He finally began following his blocks last year, which means he'll have an excellent chance to finish his career as CU's all time leading rusher, passing his new Position Coach and Offensive Coordinator, Eric Bieniemy. Stewart stayed healthy all last season, which was the biggest concern most of us had about him. Our other concern, his size, was validated occasionally in short yardage situations, though not all of that can be put on him. He will be one of the top returning RBs in the Pac 12, and should have been named All-Conference last season in the Big 12 (just another reason why I'm glad to be moving). His strengths are his speed, feet, and his aggressive running style. He should improve even more under Bieniemy, and I think he will like running behind a Fullback in our new Offense.
  • Brian Lockridge, Sr - We get him back from injury, which is good because nobody else on the roster has any experience. He's not any bigger than Stewart, but can take some of the pressure off of Speedy. He has developed slowly as a RB. He is very fast, but hasn't shown great change-of-direction ability. He started to demonstrate some of that before he was sidelined with a broken ankle/leg thing last year, so I'm excited to get him back. He won't offer a huge contrast to Speedy, but having him around will be a very good thing. Also, he has contributed on Kick Returns throughout his time at CU, taking one back for a TD at the end of the 2009 season. At the very least, he is an experienced guy who has seen the field. If his patience improves, he should be able to give us meaningful snaps in place of Stewart throughout 2011.
  • Quentin Hildreth, So - He is a walkon that has similar size to Stewart and Lockridge. His style of running is a little more physical, but only a bit. With the two seniors in front of him, he may find himself in a bit of a logjam this year. I have no doubt that Bieniemy will be looking for a bigger back to get the carries that the 1 & 2 backs aren't getting, and to take on a short-yardage role, so Hildreth may have to wait another year before he gets a chance to carry the ball for the Buffaloes, but then again, we have no idea how this Offense will use RBs. I liked some of the things I saw from Hildreth, and he is listed at 190 lbs, now, which is definitely bigger than the two Seniors. But is it bigger enough? We'll see. He is a local kid-a Denver East alumnus-so he's one to cheer for, so we'll see if we get chances to do that.
  • Josh Ford, So - He has walked on after originally committing to K-State out of Mullen (hooray for local kids!). He is here now, but I know little to nothing about him. He's 5'9" 195, so he's right in the middle size-wise of our Running Backs and at the very least helps with the class-gap among the RBs. He has bounced around a bit which may be good for his attitude and work ethic, while also possibly being a negative with regard to the amount of time he's consistently spent in the weight room or on the field. Here's hoping he comes in and pushes the other guys and works hard. Who knows, he may be able to earn himself a scholarship?
  • Cordary Allen, RFr - Speaking of bigger backs, Allen is the biggest of the bunch at 6'1", 225 lbs. He is high cut, but was able to run with some power when I saw him last summer. The hope is that he can come in this season and be that bruising type of short-yardage guy for us, but he will have competition there. He seemed to be fast for his size, but not particularly quick, if I remember correctly (there will be a lot of that, sorry. My memory is only OK), so hopefully he's been working on that. I'd love to see a guy his size to be on the field at least 4 or 5 times each game.
  • Trea' Jones, RFr - Now I predicted last summer that he could be the best of the four RBs we signed last season and I'm sticking to that prediction. Not because of any new information, just because I feel like it! He's now up to 205 lbs, and he looked pretty good all-around last summer. He seems like a workhorse-type of guy. That won't be this year, but he could also be that (slightly) bigger guy that comes in for Speedy. We'll have to see what role (if any) he is used in during the Spring and Summer.
  • Tony Jones, RFr - He is up to 180 lbs, at just 5'7", and I have a feeling he can put on even more weight. He reminded me a little bit of Maurice Jones-Drew, only not nearly as physical yet. He is pretty fast and has quick feet, but I don't know if he's faster or quicker than either Stewart or Lockridge right now. He is a clone of those two guys, so I don't see him getting on the field much this year, but I think he can continue to pack on muscle and be a pretty good Running Back.
  • Malcom Creer, Fr - One of the two RBs in the class 2011. We had to fight off Washington right there at the end, but he decided he wanted to be a Buffalo. He has good size at 5'11", 200 lbs, and he looks both fast and powerful on film. I will hopefully get to Boulder for some of the Summer practices and I can give more impressions on him then (as can anyone else, of course).
  • Rashad Hall, Fr - The other new back in 2011. He's just an inch taller than Creer and listed at the same weight. He is fast, though. Really fast. You can see it in his highlights, and he also seems to have a pretty good ability to not let guys get good shots on him. That's a big thing to have as a RB. In the Recruiting Roundup on AllBuffs.com that I did for TRR, I said he was one of the guys I have penciled in to contribute early. His speed was the main reason for that, but also his size. He is a big guy, especially when you compare him to Speedy and Lockridge. The Coaches want to make the team faster, and this kid is really fast.
  • Tyler Ahles, Sr - He has been moved to Fullback, where he practiced a little bit this past Spring. He's a big guy, at 6'2" 240 lbs, and has been a physical guy on the field. He was always bigger than Beatty, but didn't quite have the instincts at OLB that you wanted to see, so hopefully this move will be good for him and for the team overall. He liked contact, which is good at FB, so lets hope he takes to his new role. It seems like a good idea, though it leaves us a little thin experience-wise at OLB (which I'll get to at a later date). He may be new to the position, but he has gotten enough playing time to be considered a veteran.
  • Evan Harrington, Sr - I wish he'd redshirted last year. He played mostly on Special Teams, but did get in on Defense a little bit. Either way, he now has two years to play one at a new position. They may try to redshirt him (we don't have any other FBs on the roster, so having two that we can only use for one season doesn't make much sense), but that's totally unsubstantiated speculation. I would, but I'm just a (sometimes) humble blogger. Anyway, he's pretty physical, so the move to FB makes sense.

Hopefully that helps you see how we're set for RBs going into the Spring here in 2011. They may try to add a FB walkon, or use one of the TEs we have there (there are a few shorter ones that I'll talk about in the TE breakdown). I know Scott (Scooter) Fernandez was used as a FB in our big short-yardage situation, but he's still listed as an Olineman on the roster, while Matt Bahr is listed as a TE after getting a little time there. They may still use Scooter as a FB (though he definitely needs more work there), but we won't know until Spring ball gets going.

And as always, GO BUFFS!

-D

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