The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

August 27, 2013

Buie to redshirt this season

MORGANTOWN — A year ago, quarterback Geno Smith passed for 4,205 yards and 42 touchdowns.

He is gone now.

A year ago, receiver Tavon Austin caught passes for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns, rushed for 643 yards and three touchdowns, returned 32 kickoffs for 813 yards and one touchdown, and returned 15 punts for 165 yards and one touchdown.

He is gone now.

A year ago, receiver Stedman Bailey caught passes for 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns and returned kickoffs for 146 yards.

He is gone now.

A year ago, Andrew Buie rushed for 851 yards and seven touchdowns, leading the team in rushing.

At least he’s back.

Not so fast.

In a stunning announcement, West Virginia University coach Dana Holgorsen announced Tuesday during his press conference, almost in passing in the midst of an injury report, that his leading rusher from a year ago would be redshirted this year.

That came on the heels of an equally stunning announcement Sunday night that last year’s leading rusher was the fifth running back on a four-deep depth chart, ranking behind three players who had never carried a football for West Virginia, let alone gained 207 yards on the ground in a stunning road upset of Texas.

On the surface that announcement would seem to indicate an end to Buie’s 2013 season, but you have to wonder if it isn’t the end to his West Virginia career, even though all through spring practice, summer drills and camp there was no indication that anything was wrong.

True, Buie has that redshirt year available, but three of the players ahead of him – freshman Wendell Smallwood, junior college transfer Dreamius Smith and junior Dustin Garrison — are back next year.

And that does not account for incoming transfer Rushel Shell, who gained more than 600 yards as a true freshman at Pitt after being a 4- and 5-star recruit out of high school.

It would seem very unlikely that Buie will return to WVU looking at more of the same in a year.

Holgorsen was asked how you handle telling a kid who led you in rushing the previous year that he had fallen so far he would not play this year.

“He had some decisions,” Holgorsen said when asked how you handle your leading rusher when you are dropping him out of the picture. “Some of these are decisions he makes, too. Did we force him to (redshirt)? No.

“Again, I’m looking forward to talking about Charles Sims, Wendell Smallwood, Dreamius Smith and Dustin Garrison. With that said, you just felt it was in the best interest of him and of our program to save his year.”

Funny. He didn’t mind talking about Buie after the Texas game last season.

“He’s just got to develop mentally and physically, and we’ll leave it at that,” Holgorsen said.

Develop mentally and physically? He’s a junior.

Holgorsen would go no further.

“I fully expect him to be ready to roll in the spring,” he said.

What really did happen is hard to say, but certainly a year ago Holgorsen did not have much to choose from at running back.

Garrison was coming back from knee surgery and not ready when the season started, and Shawne Alston, a bigger, different style back, was often injured.

Then bringing Charles Sims into Morgantown gave Holgorsen a different kind of back, a breakaway runner who is an outstanding pass receiver. The versatility angle is large in Holgorsen’s offense.

He also added a big back in Dreamius Smith and a speedster in Wendell Smallwood, the freshman who is fastest of the bunch.

“I think both (Buie) and Dustin Garrison have proven to be guys who have gotten experience, but any time you add guys like Charles Sims, Dreamius Smith and Wendell Smallwood, it changes the dynamic of that room,” Holgorsen said.

Today, as difficult as it is to imagine, Holgorsen has more depth than he could have realistically wished for.

“We have bodies that can give us snaps back there, and I feel very good about it. I haven’t been able to sit here the last two years and say I feel good about it. I have always had about two or three, and now I feel like we have that depth, and I’m excited,” he said.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads