West Virginia running back Andrew Buie can’t wait to get more work.
Thrust into the starting lineup due to injuries, the sophomore has infused some critically needed balance into the Mountaineers’ offense over the last two games.
He ran for a career-high 207 yards and scored twice in Saturday’s 48-45 win at No. 15 Texas. In one game he eclipsed his yardage total for all of last season. A week earlier he had 82 yards against Baylor.
Buie said he’ll be ready to handle the load again when No. 5 West Virginia (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) plays at Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1) on Saturday.
“I’m going to try to play like that every week,” said Buie, who credited his success to his blockers. “If the opportunities are there I just want to make the most of them and play ball. I’ll take it as long as they’re giving it to me.”
Buie also caught three passes for 66 yards against Texas, giving Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville more to worry about in terms of slowing down the high-scoring Mountaineers.
“He breaks a lot of tackles. He’s got a good burst of speed,” Tuberville said. “They’ve got a good counter punch in terms of running delays and draws and those type of things with him, and also have good screens with him.”
So far, Buie has proven he can do handle the task that coach Dana Holgorsen had hoped could be spread among several backs.
Shawne Alston had 123 yards in the season opener against Marshall, hurt his right thigh the following game against James Madison and hasn’t had a carry since.
Dustin Garrison underwent offseason knee surgery after being injured in practice leading up to January’s Orange Bowl. The coaching staff has brought him along slowly. He’s played in three games and has eight carries for 42 yards.
“You have to be ready at any moment when your name is called,” Buie said.
Buie had 31 carries against Texas and 25 against Baylor. That’s the most in a two-game stretch for any West Virginia back since Garrison had 50 total carries against Bowling Green and Connecticut early in the 2011 season.
Alston didn’t make the trip to Texas and underwent treatment on the thigh from Friday through Tuesday. Holgorsen wouldn’t say what his status would be against Texas Tech, but the coach wants to get Alston and Garrison back to full health as soon as possible so Buie doesn’t get too fatigued.
“The concern is the wear and tear,” Holgorsen said. “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. He carried it 31 times, and he got hit 31 times. He blocks, which is hard, and he runs routes, which is taxing.”
The 5-foot-9, 187-pound Buie was the starter entering the 2011 season but was injured twice over the first three games. He also had fumble issues and wasn’t much of a factor the rest of the season while Garrison got most of the work.
In the offseason, Buie set out on a goal to build his strength and durability.
“I feel like I’m in a way better situation now physically than I was last year at this point,” he said. “From this year to last year it’s definitely like a 10-pound difference in my weight. My strength increased tremendously, and I think it shows now that I’m more physically equipped to play this year.”
Quarterback Geno Smith has noticed the change in Buie.
“He’s older and has got a lot of reps this year,” Smith said. “We all go through those stages where the games are kind of too fast for us and we’ve got to get adjusted to the speed, but he’s done that. He’s doing a great job right now.”
- Latest Sports
At 35, Brees playing with the wind at his back
There isn’t much Drew Brees hasn’t done in his football career.
Saints tight end Graham returns in form, and with humor
Aside from the New Orleans Saints’ fleur-de-lis symbol, star tight end Jimmy Graham never associated playing pro football with flowers.
Shumate says a football field is just a (really big) golf green
With the task of taking care of all of The Greenbrier’s immaculate golf courses — including getting The Old White TPC ready for The Greenbrier Classic every summer — already on his plate, Mullens native Kelly Shumate really didn’t have much room for dessert.
Brand has spectacular final round to win W.Va. Open
When Christian Brand played in his first West Virginia Open in his early teens, he knew this was an event he wanted to win.
Williams promotes sports museum at reunion
t’s hard to fit so many legends in one room, but it happened once again Friday night in Beckley at The Beckley Moose Lodge 1606.
The Greenbrier impresses Payton, Loomis
When a deal was finalized on March 13 to bring the New Orleans Saints to The Greenbrier for three weeks of summer camp, Saints officials never doubted that the facility would be ready a little more than four months later for the first practice. INCLUDES VIDEO.
Former Mountain Lions playing well at Open
In sports like basketball or football, home field advantage can be the ultimate difference maker. The same can be said in golf.
Evans leads the field on rainy day at W.Va. Open
The wind picked up, the rain started to fall and the scores were low at second round of the 81st West Virginia Open. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.
Replacing Sims a challenge for WVU
Every year, almost every college football preview publication available lists one key statistic that most use to evaluate the prospects for any given football team — returning starters.
WVU rifle coach competing in native Scotland
West Virginia University rifle coach John Hammond is competing in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in his native Scotland.
- More Latest Sports Headlines
- At 35, Brees playing with the wind at his back