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Buffs Preview 2014: Breaking down the running back position

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Colorado has underperformed on the ground but the 2014 crop may be ready to turn it around.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In recent years the running back position has been a huge inconsistent for the Buffs offense. In 2012, not many positives came out of the worst season in Buffs history, but we did discover a freshman power back in Christian Powell. The 6'1" 235-pound back led the Buffs in rushing with 691 yards and showed great power by breaking many would-be tacklers. He's as powerful as a fullback, but can also show the finesse of a tailback.

His numbers dipped in 2013, mostly in part to the emergence of another freshman back. Michael Adkins II, was a pleasant surprise rushing for 535 yards and six touchdowns, four of them coming in the 43-10 win over Charleston Southern.  Senior Tony Jones is also still on the roster and expected to some playing time. Although I expect him to play behind Adkins and Powell, his leadership should help the youngsters and he also provides a solid receiver coming out of the backfield.

Starter: Christian Powell - 6'0" - 230 - Junior - Upland, Calif.

Named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List, Powell has led the Buffs in rushing the past two seasons. He plays with an aggressive running style, and is very tough to tackle on first contact. Powell should start the season as the starting back, but his carries could be decreased to just short yardage due to the possible impact of speedster Michael Adkins II.

Michael Adkins - 5'10" - 195 - Sophomore - San Diego, Calif.

The excitement over the emergence of young players like Adkins and Sefo Liufau give Buff fans some serious hope that the future is looking bright in Boulder (it is for me at least!). Adkins played high school at Helix, the same school that produced Reggie Bush and Alex Smith. That alone, gave me some excitement when he signed with Coach MacIntyre's first recruiting class. He has already been named to a few preseason magazine's All-Pac 12 teams. He rushed for 535 yards last season, and missed only the first two games and the UCLA game due to a concussion. I am eager to see if he can continue his success, or if he will have a sophomore slump, which seems unlikely. Adkins looks to be a stud and a future star for the Buffs.

Tony Jones - 5'7" - 185 - Senior - Paterson, N.J.

Jones had a lot of excitement coming to Boulder from New Jersey high school football power Don Bosco Prep. He has played every season since his redshirt season in 2010. Jones and Powell were the workhorse backs in that forgettable 2012 season. His numbers dipped in 2013 and he had no starts, but I look for him to come in for Adkins on a few plays. Jones is a great receiving back, and makes plays coming out of the backfield. His leadership will help in the locker room. He was awarded the Iron Buffalo for his hard work in the weight room this past spring.

Phillip Lindsay - 5'8" - 175 - Redshirt Freshman - Denver, Colo.

Denver South product Phillip Lindsay has some big expectations this season. He showed great speed and quickness this past spring and Coach MacIntyre praised him numerous times. He could be rotating in with Jones and Adkins and competing for that second spot on the depth chart. He has greatly improved from high school, where he suffered a knee injury in the first game of his senior season, and was nursing the injury most of last season while being on the scout team. His athleticism could really help give Sefo another weapon on the field.

Malcolm Creer - 5'10" - 210 - Senior - Los Angeles, Calif.

Expected to redshirt his freshman season, he came in late in 2011 but suffered a nasty knee injury that has delayed most of his college career. He has played mostly on special teams, and this season should be no different. He did have a solid spring and scored a 6-yard touchdown in the Spring Game, which helped give the Black team a 21-17 win.

Terrence Crowder - 5'10" - 220 - Sophomore -Galena Park, Texas

Crowder is another accomplished high school running back that suffered a torn ACL during his redshirt season. Last year he spent most of the season rehabbing his knee after surgery, but had a solid spring and I look for him to hopefully make an impact on special teams.

Other running backs:

Kyle Evans - 5'6" - 175 - Freshman - San Jose, Calif. (PWO)

Fullbacks:

FB1 - Jordan Murphy (Jr. 6-foot, 235 pounds)

A transfer from Colorado State in 2012, Murphy is atop the depth chart at fullback. Although he might not get any carries, he will in a blocking role on offense, and will be an important blocker on special teams for the kickoff returner.

FB2 - Clayton Jones (Jr. 6-foot, 230 pounds)

FB3 - Jesse Hiss (Soph. 6-foot-1, 230 pounds)