2013 Spring Football Roster Breakdown - Running Back

Jonathan Ferrey

Spring football is underway in Boulder. It's time to take a look at each position for the Colorado Buffaloes and see how they stack up. Today we've got the running backs.

With the quarterback position completely in flux, let's take some time to examine the rest of the offensive backfield: The running backs and fullbacks. The Pistol offense that Coach Mike MacIntyre and his SJSU staff is bringing to the Buffaloes doesn't use the fullback quite as much as the pro-style we attempted to go with the past two seasons, but I don't think that means we've seen the end of the position in Boulder. And at running back, we have a group comprised of very different types of players, from the big and bruising Powell to the smaller, faster Tony Jones. A bunch of guys have logged carries there the last couple of years, and we have a perennial spring star, but we don't yet know what to expect from the ball-carriers of the Buffs in 2013. But let's look anyway!

Spring Roster Breakdowns: Safety Tight End

Running Back:

  • Josh Ford, Sr - Mr. April is at it once again, dazzling us with his spring football performance. But this year he seems to be solidly in the mix for playing time come fall. He's listed as the co-#3 back and I have to imagine that he'll keep the pedal to the metal in his final year. He has the tools as a runner, so hopefully he can make strides as a blocker and receiver out of the backfield to solidify his spot in the backfield rotation. He was put on scholarship before last season.

  • Malcolm Creer, Jr - Creer has had a tough go of it since he got to CU. His redshirt was pulled midway through his freshman year because of injuries and poor play at the RB position. He showed some promise in the 1.5 games that he played in, until he injured his knee and was knocked out. That injury kept him out for most of the offseason and when he finally got ‘healthy' and back on the field, he didn't look remotely like the same player. If he's truly healthy, he has good size, solid speed and it looked like he had pretty good footwork. He's currently listed 5th on the depth chart (and this coaching staff has talked about getting their top-4 RBs ready to be used throughout a season), so we'll see how he competes over the next few months. Honestly, a redshirt might finally be good for him, and for the sake of class-balance, might not hurt either.

  • Tony Jones, Jr - Last season was 2nd on the team in carries and 3rd in catches, and yet he still ended up with fewer than 500 total yards (but let's not dwell on our offensive performance from last season too much). He has the most experience of the guys here and does a little bit of everything. Currently listed as the co-starter at tailback with Powell, he is a good bet to see plenty of playing time, at least early in the year. He's a solid all-around back, and his ability to stay on the field in multiple situations guarantees him snaps, especially in a new offense. And if he can improve on his patience and decision making, he may be involved more in the run game than he was last year.

  • Donta Abron, So - He is currently fighting with Ford for the 3rd guy in the backfield rotation, but I think he can make a push for more playing time. He had some nice runs last season and showed some moves with the ball in his hands. I'm quite interested to see how he looks as a blocker this offseason, and I think that could be his key to overtaking someone on the depth chart.

  • Christian Powell, So - The accidental star of our backfield in 2012, Powell is a good bet to be the primary back once again. Just imagine what he could do with consistent blocking up front. I wouldn't be surprised to see him line up alongside his fellow RBs occasionally as a blocker and decoy, or get some touches from the fullback position just to change things up. He seemed to make some improvements throughout the year, so I'm looking forward what a full offseason can do for the kid.

  • Terrence Crowder, RFr - He's coming back from some injuries and has been held out of spring practice thus far. I haven't seem him yet, but he was good in high school. If he can recover, he has a nice combination of size and speed.

Fullback:

  • Alex Wood, Sr - After moving from tight end to fullback (a good move), he earned a scholarship last year and had a nice season at his new position. He will probably be counted on to flex out to TE some this year as we're very thin there, but I like him as a fullback and think he can contribute in this offense. He still hasn't logged any carries, but he does have a few catches to his name and he likes contact. He has good size for the position and even though fullbacks aren't a big part of the pistol offense, I think he can still be effective for the Buffs in 2013.

  • Clay Jones, So - He moved from linebacker, but I haven't seen him play.

  • Jordan Murphy, So - Transfer from CSU and it was mentioned that he might be tried at linebacker some. Sat out last year after the transfer.

We have a number of guys at tailback that are capable of contributiting in 2013. The new coaching staff has mentioned that it expects to use four RBs throughout the course of a season with some consistency, and I expect those four to be Ford, Jones, Abron and Powell, plus Wood at fullback (and some TE). I'm not sure that there will be many surprises here as the pecking order has been pretty well established, though I do think Josh Ford will finally get some playing time.

Bold Prediction:

I think that Donta Abron works his way up the depth chart and is poised to get as many carries as Powell by the end of the offseason.

Next time I'm going to break down the defensive t


ackles.

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