While we have a good idea of who will start at tailback, good and important battles for the 2nd (and probably 3rd) guy at RB and the starting fullback are underway. Fullback is a position that we should be paying close attention to because it will be key in the success of our running game and offense overall. Evan Harrington was solid last year, his first at the position, but he lacked experience, size and strength that Eric Bieniemy needs to make this offense go. And I would be willing to bet that we'll see three guys get a solid amount of carries at tailback this year. The Colorado Buffaloes have been at their best when there have been multiple options (no pun intended) at running back, and this staff definitely wants to get back to that.
- Josh Ford, Jr - It's no surprise that Josh earned himself a scholarship (by the way, congratulations, Josh!). He's been the best part about spring football each of the past two offseasons and he has worked hard to get himself in position to see playing time. He was 3rd on the depth chart coming into August camp (before freshmen are thrown into the mix and without Creer being available), but did gain some valuable experience last season, including one spectacular TD run. He needs to continue to work on things like his blocking to keep himself in the mix for playing time, but there's no reason to think that he can't work his way into some carries this season.
Follow the jump to see a long and detailed explanation of the differences between Tailback (TB) and Tuberculosis (TB)!
- Malcolm Creer, So - After burning his redshirt, Creer was starting to look like he could be good for us when he injured his knee and was knocked out for the rest of the season after only two games. But it sounds like his knee is almost healthy and he should be fighting for that 2nd or 3rd spot in the two-deep with everyone else. Again, we should see a number of backs get carries throughout the year, and I think Creer has a very good shot to be one of them.
- D.D. Goodson, So - Was one of the guys last season that was conscripted by Greg Brown to fill in at DB after we were decimated there. He showed that despite not having great size, he has heart, isn't afraid of contact, and has great hips and short area quickness. Those should translate to carrying the ball, and his game experience, despite it being on the wrong side of the ball, gives him an idea of what to expect going into this season.
- Justin Gorman, So - He's a great athlete and he is another guy I wouldn't be surprised to really push the Freshmen for playing time. His first duty with the team is as the pinner/holder on the field goal unit.
- Tony Jones, So - Sometimes organizing these by age and then alphabetically by last name leads to the starter being the fifth guy I mention, but I've got a system and I'm sticking to it! Anyway, Jones looks like he has a solid hold on the starting spot this season, especially with his ability to make receptions out of the backfield. I feel pretty confident saying he'll end the year as one of our top 4 pass-catchers and most likely our leading rusher, but I don't think they'll use him for every down of every possession. He showed us that he has plenty of ability (remember, he was the starting running back for the #1 ranked HS team in the country), and it sounds like he has spent the offseason diligently improving on the things he needed to work on. While he may not hit 1,000 yards individually on the ground, I bet he gets close.
- Donta Abron, Fr - One of the three freshmen from Upland (along with Powell (FB) and Mosley (S)). I'm excited to get updates on all three of the freshmen RBs, but I like Abron's chances to push for some carries right away. He runs with some power and has already drawn some praise from S&T coach, Malcolm Blacken. I think he ends up being a pretty regular contributor at TB this season.
- Terrence Crowder, Fr - He is coming off a knee injury, but it sounds like he's fully healthy and ready to go. He has very good size along with excellent speed and should be an exciting back for us sometime soon. Again, I think all of the freshmen look like the could contribute right away, but there are only so many carries to go around. Maybe he gets looks in short yardage?
- Davien Payne, Fr - In addition to having an excellent name for a running back, he has great size and apparently has also spent a lot time re-apportioning he weight. He has a chance to earn some time early as a short-yardage back as well, something we haven't had on the roster for a few years.
- Alex Wood, Jr - A big congratulations to Mr. Wood for earning himself a scholarship! I know everyone (including myself, for the most part) was talking about how the FB battle was going to be between the two incoming freshmen, Wood has been practicing there longer and may end up with the starting spot. He's got good size, and may also be able to fulfill a bit of an H-back role since he has also spent a good amount of time at tight end. Whether or not he's a starter, he does offer us some flexibility out of the backfield, so it's tough to imagine him not getting time this season.
- Jordan Murphy, RFr - Sitting out the year after transferring from CSU.
- Jesse Hiss, Fr - Walk-on.
- Clay Norgard, Fr - I'm very excited to see Mr. Norgard (as well as the next guy) work his way into the rotation here. He's a beast of a football player and has been on campus since January. He's a legacy, a local guy, and someone that I think we'll enjoy cheering for a lot. He only started practicing at FB once he knew that the coaches wanted him to play it, so he has a bit of a learning curve, but I like his chances to be pretty good at it.
- Christian Powell, Fr - We should all be very excited to see this kid get on the field. He is an absolute beast, was very highly sought after by bigtime schools, and should be very good for us. Additionally, it sounds like he has the ability to play some H-back as well as fullback, and I think we could envision a time in the near future where he and Norgard share the field. He already has experience blocking for Abron in HS.
I think we have some exciting young talent at both tailback and at fullback, along with some solid veterans who should lead the way. I wouldn't be surprised to see two or three backs get a good amount of carries, and I could see it being Jones and two of the freshmen. But I wouldn't count out Creer. And we should have some exciting battles at fullback this August. Tony Jones will start and I think he'll get more carries than anyone else, but he may only get 40-50% of the total carries, with the rest split between 2 or 3 of his fellow running backs. There's too much talent back there to give only one guy all those opportunities. I think our backs will have a big season, though, and I think we easily eclipse the 1400 yards we rushed for last season.