It just seems as if Kansas football simply can not catch a break. As is expected from every college football team ta this point in the season, optimism is high and the Jayhawks are no different, but that took a big hit this week with the loss of Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox, the team’s top two running backs heading into the season to season ending injuries.
Bourbon tore his ACL in a scrimmage Sunday, while Cox ruptured his achillies tendon in a non-contact drill the following day. Both injuries stunned the KU football family.
“I feel bad for both Brandon and Taylor,” Kansas coach Charlie Weis said in a press release. “They were looking forward to the opportunity to be the replacement for James Sims. I sat down with each of them individually and talked through their options and was happy that they chose to further their education while attempting to play again next year if things work out.”
Bourbon’s story is heartbreaking, as he has battled injuries since day one and finally seemed prime to have his day in the sun in his senior year. Cox was also ready to have a big 2014, after missing most of the season after the second game due to a hamstring injury.
The question becomes who fills the void at running back for Kansas this season?
The focus will shift to JUCO transfer De’Andre Mann who had high hopes of making a big impact since his commitment last winter. The other back will be true freshman Cory Avery, who has made an impression through fall camp.
“While De’Andre and Corey lack experience on the Division I level, they both have had excellent camps,” Weis said. “The team is well-aware of this situation and is excited to make the run game successful.”
The injuries also resulted in the moving of true freshman Joe Dineen from safety to running back, a move that has been done out of necessity. The good news for him is that he had ample experience handling the ball as a standout at Lawrence Free State’s High School, where he excelled as a quarterback, as well as on the defensive side of the ball.
The key, however, will be how each individual can adjust to big time college football and whether or not they can handle the workload and learn on the fly.