Lack of RB depth not a concern for Colorado

Tony Jones and Josh Ford will get all the carries for the Buffs during spring practices.

During spring practice, Colorado will have just two healthy running backs.

Redshirt sophomore Tony Jones and junior Josh Ford will get all the carries for CU during spring ball, which begins March 10.

Despite not having depth at the position, coach Jon Embree isn't concerned.

"It'll give those guys some good reps," he said.

Plus, Jones and Ford don't figure to get beat up too much during the 15 practices, because the Buffs don't have the overall numbers to conduct a physical spring.

"We just can't," Embree said.

In addition to the lack of depth at running back, the Buffs will be thin in the trenches. They will have just six scholarship defensive linemen (and 10 total) for the spring, and will go only two-deep on the offensive line.

"We're really going to have to be creative with how we practice spring ball anyway just because of our numbers on the defensive line," Embree said.

In the fall, CU expects to have a stable of six running backs competing. In addition to Jones and Ford, sophomore Malcolm Creer is expected back from a knee injury. The Buffs also signed three prep running backs this week: Donta Abron, Terrence Crowder and Payne, all of which could make a run at the starting job.

"(Spring ball) will give those guys a chance to continue to compete," Embree said of Jones and Ford, "and then when those young guys come in it'll really ratchet up the level."

Regarding the three new recruits at running back, Embree had this to say:

On Payne: "He's a very physical runner. He does have the ability to take it to the house when he gets to that second level. He's going to be in the mix competing early."

On Crowder: "Physical runner. Runs through tackles and has the speed to pull away when necessary."

On Abron: "His tape looked a lot like Maurice Jones-Drew's did (when Jones-Drew was a high school senior)."

NOTABLE

  • Embree said coaches are "anxious" to see freshman Derek McCartney, the grandson of former Buffs coach Bill McCartney, grow. "Our coaches were shocked at how much bigger he had gotten from our summer camps to coming up in January."

  • OL recruit Gerrad Kough received high praise from Embree: "He's nasty, he finishes you to the ground, he gets after you. There's a certain toughness about him. We think that kind of mentality with the offensive line is exactly what we need."

  • As coaches watched tape of new CB Jeffrey Hall, "You could see him getting better each week," Embree said.

  • Embree said DL Kisima Jagne, from Phoenix, "Might have the most upside out of all these defensive linemen."

  • Embree said that CU coaches had 53 players on their recruiting board and wound up getting 20 of them -- a number he felt good about.

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