Buie Making Waves
- By Brian Kuppelweiser
- August 18, 2011 01:23 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - One of the most speculated position battles during West Virginia’s fall camp has been the four-way fight between sophomore Trey Johnson, and freshmen Vernard Roberts, Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie for the starting running back position.
Both Johnson and Roberts shined in the spring game as they racked up a combined 121 yards rushing, 106 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
With the arrival of Garrison and Buie, however, the running back battle has broken wide open, and it appears that the freshmen have begun to make a push for the top spot on the depth chart.
Buie, in particular, has caught the eye of the Mountaineer coaching staff.
“Buie took about three to the house today,” said Coach Dana Holgorsen after Friday’s practice. “The two freshmen running backs have grown for sure. Those guys are good.”
Holgorsen’s comments humbled Buie, but he credits the coaching staff and teammates for putting him in a position to succeed.
“Coach Holgorsen has a great offense, and I have just been going out and practicing hard every day so I can help this team accomplish the goal of winning a BIG EAST championship,” said Buie. “The line has done an awesome job of blocking, and they have made it really easy for me to run and assert myself.
“Coach (Robert) Gillespie coaches all the running backs hard. He is a hard-nosed coach that drills us. He is getting us ready to play big-time football.”
Buie also credits Gillespie for helping him discover just how great of a place West Virginia can be.
“He was at the head of my recruiting,” Buie said.
After rushing for more than 3,600 total yards in his junior year, along with 48 rushing touchdowns and 18 passing touchdowns, Buie was recruited by some of the top football programs in the nation.
“South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia were some of the main schools,” Buie said. “There are too many to name off the top of my head.”
As Buie’s list of suitors lengthened, however, West Virginia still stuck out to him.
“It was a pretty strenuous recruiting path,” Buie said. “A lot of schools offered me scholarships, but along the way, some schools started to veer off. Coach Gillespie stood strong and let me know that I have a home here at West Virginia. It all ended up working out for the better, and I love it here, so far.”
Despite Buie’s youth, Holgorsen has said that he has no qualms about using freshmen in his backfield.
“The last three years we have had a true freshman that is either the guy or is one of the main guys,” Holgorsen said. “Running back is a position that is pretty easy to develop. It is probably the one position you can do that in.”
Although Buie envisions the chance of becoming the starting tailback, he says that he will continue to put in hard work and heed the advice of Gillespie.
“I leave it all up to coach Gillespie,” Buie said. “He is going to put the best player on the field. It is my job to go out and give it my all every day.”