The Times West Virginian


October 11, 2012

HERTZEL COLUMN: Buie looks back on breakthrough

MORGANTOWN — It was one of life’s moments for Andrew Buie, an ESPN “SportsCenter” blooper in the midst of a game filled with “Plays of the Week,” and it seemed appropriate to bring up because it had both time, 72 hours, and distance, 207 rushing yards against Texas, between the then and the now.

Buie was in the midst of authoring one of the great running games in West Virginia University history, facing one of college football’s most storied teams in the University of Texas and running for those 207 yards on 31 carries against them.

But in the Dana Holgorsen scheme of things, you must play the aerial portion of the game, too, even if you are piling up yard after yard on carry after carry.

So it was on this one particular play the sophomore of Jacksonville, Fla.’s Trinity Christian Academy found himself all alone at the Texas 30 as Geno Smith’s perfect spiral descended into his hands.

At this moment we will turn over what transpired to young Mr. Buie.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that’s actually one of the hardest balls to catch when you’re buck-naked wide open in the middle of the field by yourself with 101,000 people watching,” Buie began. “I thought I was going to walk (into the end zone). When I saw I was open I knew he was going to throw me the ball, I saw the threads spinning, and I’m saying to myself, ‘Catch the ball! Catch the ball! Catch the ball!’”

And catch it he did.

“Then I tripped and fell and it’s like (you are thinking) nobody tackled me,” he said, laughing back at the thought.

Indeed, after catching the pass he lost his balance.

“When I caught that ball I think my feet were off the ground and I got top heavy. When I was bringing the ball in I couldn’t get my balance. The instinct was to tuck and roll to stop myself from falling on my face,” he said.

The tuck and roll looked almost like one of those victory flips into the end zone ... only he was at the 20.

“Of course, you have to make plays in open space like that. Maybe next time I’ll be able to stay on my feet,” Buie said.

In a way, the comical aspect of Buie’s evening in Austin helps put a human face on this engaging young player who has gone through some trying times to become what now must be considered the No. 1 running back on the No. 4/5 team in America.

And while the reputation of this team is as a passing outfit filled with finesse, he actually was given the ball more often against Texas than were Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey combined as the Mountaineers ran more plays than they threw the ball.

What’s more, even though the book says that Buie is just 5-feet, 9-inches tall and 188 pounds, he runs as if he were a big man.

“He’s got good speed, and he runs like a 230 pounder,” Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “He breaks a lot of tackles.”

As often as he absorbs a blow, he delivers one, and that makes for something of a potential problem.

“The concern is the wear and tear. As I’ve mentioned a hundred times, the wear and tear is a little different on running backs than quarterback or a receiver or a corner or a safety that doesn’t take that (hit) every time,” Holgorsen said.

“He carried it 31 times, and he got hit 31 times. He blocks, which is hard, and he runs routes, which is taxing. The wear and tear is something to be concerned with, which is why we need to get Dustin (Garrison) healthy and Shawne (Alston) healthy.”

Buie admits he was aching some on the flight home Saturday night, although he did manage to sleep most of the way, but says he’s prepared for whatever the running back wear and tear is.

“At practice is repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition. I mean, you only play so many snaps on offense per game. It’s not as many snaps as you take in practice. After a while, taking so many snaps in practice, you start to build endurance,” he said.

“Then, when your number is called and you have to be in there play after play after play and you stay on the field, your body is used to it.”

The surroundings at the Texas game were a bit overwhelming, considering that Buie played at a small, small Florida high school just two years ago and found himself out there performing before 101,851 fans and a national television audience.

“I love it,” he said. “When you are on that field you really don’t hear the crowd anymore. You are locked in on what your job is that play, what your assignment is on that play. I mean, the crowd is a factor, but once that ball is snapped, the crowd factor is 150 percent gone. Then it’s mano-y-mano, who’s going to win, who’s going to do their job and who wants it done the baddest.”

Email Bob Hertzel at or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

  • Scott sees swift title contention for Lakers

    Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
    “This organization is all about championships, period,” Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships. And we know we have some work ahead of us, but I’m excited. ... I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Opinion: People running NCAA may not be bumbling idiots

    Two down, one big one to go.
    And with it a growing realization that maybe the people running the NCAA aren’t the bumbling idiots everyone has been making them out to be.
    The NCAA’s agreement Tuesday to create a $70 million fund to diagnose concussions and brain injuries does more than just give some former and current athletes a bit of peace of mind — if no real money. It also extricates the organization from another serious threat to its existence, one that could have potentially bankrupted it if everyone who ever suffered a concussion playing college sports were somehow able to cash in.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers Camp Footbal_time2.jpg Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.
    Sometimes, one would appear. Sometimes it wouldn’t, mainly because whatever sliver of daylight existed had already been swallowed by darkness while Bell was still trying to read the blocks in front of him.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dungy0725 (1).jpg Rice, Dungy sideshows stain NFL

    The National Football League guards its reputation as aggressively as lineman are paid to protect a quarterback.
    So, as training camp opens around the country, how odd is it to see Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 32-team NFL empire battling bad headlines and stinging criticism from all quarters?
    Anyone want to talk to the new quarterback for his early assessment of playing with the best and biggest players in the land? That would be business as usual. Nothing has been routine about the early days of camp this season.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG DeVaul wraps up final season as Post 17’s leader

    If you were to ask players on Fairmont American Legion Post 17’s roster who they looked up to, you’d find a familiar pattern.
    Sure, you may get some Andrew McCutchens or some Derek Jeters as replies. But if you want to find out the real answer, just look into the dugout.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Return to Mountain State exciting for new sports writer

    When I packed my belongings out of my Morgantown apartment in May, fresh with a journalism degree from West Virginia University, I thought I had ended a chapter of my life and closed the book on my experience inside the great Mountain State forever.
    It wasn’t until I received a phone call back in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, from the Times West Virginian that the idea of a return to the area became a possibility. The opportunity to begin my professional career in an area that I’ve become comfortable with for the past several years was too good to pass by.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Photos
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings