The West Virginia Mountaineers, despite finishing just 7-6 in 2012, had a very prolific offense led by the passing of Geno Smith, the receiving of Stedman Bailey and the all-around playmaking of Tavon Austin. With all three of them off to the NFL in 2013, head coach Dana Holgorsen will need to find his offensive production from somewhere new. Could a running back duo of Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison be the ticket?
Buie led the team in rushing last year as a sophomore, gaining 850 yards on 181 carries with seven touchdowns. He also added 28 receptions for 318 yards while taking back a kick return from time to time. He saw his workload diminish as the season wore on and Austin was used in more and more situations at running back, but he shouldn’t have any dynamic slash players stealing his spotlight in 2013.
Garrison finished fourth on the team in rushing last season, gaining 207 yards on 46 carries with two touchdowns in just nine games of action. He saw more and more of the field as he recovered from a knee injury that cut his freshman season short in 2011, but wasn’t able to get back to that explosiveness that made him the starter two years ago. Now, he is back and 100 percent in spring practice, ready to step up and replace some of the missing offensive production next fall.
Together, they rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2012 and with a void of offensive playmakers heading into next season, they are in line to become major contributors for Holgorsen in 2013. The Mountaineers will likely have to go a more run-oriented offensive attack next fall as they break in a new quarterback, so the opportunities will be plenty for both backs.
How well Buie and Garrison capitalize on that opportunity will determine just how successful the West Virginia offense will be next season in a wide open Big 12.