Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE
If nothing else 2012 gave Buffalo fans a chance to see a lot work from various running backs.
Buffalo got through 2011 on the back on one man, Branden Oliver. 2012 was shaping up the same way until Oliver's season was derailed against Kent. Between Oliver's injury and the loss of James Potts a week earlier UB's offensive coaching staff went into experimentation mode and manged to cobble together one of the best rushing offenses Buffalo has ever fielded.
Oliver of course was expected to start shattering some of the career marks set by James Starks and he was well on his way to doing it. Through the first ten quarters of the season Oliver had put together 430 yards and three touchdowns. His injury against Kent kept him off the field until week seven and an aggravation of that injury two weeks later would keep the Junior from playing to form in the seasons final two weeks.
Even missing half the season with injury Oliver put up 842 yards on the ground and scored five touchdowns.
Provided Oliver stays healthy next season he can still leapfrog some of Starks records but it will take a phenomenal year to catch up to Starks in all categories. Not only did he lose a year of production but the coaching staff now has a proven stable of backs who can all take some of the work away from Oliver.
The Branden Oliver injury could have given Potts could have had a huge season this year. The problem was that James Potts, who already has overcome so much to see the field, had one more challenge thrown his way the week before.
Against Morgan State his second career carry, a 54 yard touchdown scamper, ended with an injury that costs him the rest of his season. That brief flash of brilliance was all UB fans would see out of Potts in 2012 and that left the window open for several other half backs to shine.
Campbell, who class standing helped him pick up the nickname "The Fresh Prince" took over for Potts and Oliver and performed far above the level that true freshman usually begin at.
Campbell did not become the main back until UB lined up in Athens against the Bobcats. In his coming out party Devin sliced up the Ohio defense for 160 yards. Against Northern Illinois Campbell, like everyone, was shut down but he made up for it the next week with 104 yards against Pitt.
When Oliver came back Potts moved to #2 and then he also suffered an injury which limited his production during the closing weeks.
Still a true freshman putting up better than 500 yards on 115 carries bodes well for his future potential in the Buffalo offense.
Murie came into the season as Buffalo's number three back and like everyone else who played tail back for Buffalo he saw his productivity hurt by nagging injuries. He may well have lost his spot to Campbell regardless of his health but it the injury did keep him from trying to win the job back.
Murie's injury, and Campbell's production, kept the Junior off the field for five weeks right in the middle of the season. His best game cmae against UMass when he and Rashad Jean, the last two Bulls standing, carried the load. In that game Murie carried the ball 16 times for 90 yards.
Jean started the year a a backup full back, but the starter "Boomer" Brock was injured in week three against Kent. Jean took over the starting duties and shred the role with some of UB's tight ends.
Against UMass Jean, a converted defensive lineman, finally got a chance to show what he could do.
The full back carried the ball 17 times for 73 yards, he also pulled in an eight yard reception. Jean is the only player listed here who will not be back next season as UB lists him as a senior.
It should be noted that the backs ran these numbers up while Zorcich was taking a significant part of the workload from them. In weeks one through eight the Junior Quarterback ran the ball a hundred times for more than 500 yards. If the Bulls look to Joe Licata or Collin Michael next season chances are those carries go back to the running backs, all of whom return for 2013.