West Virginia Football: Redshirting RB Andrew Buie Is the Right Call
West Virginia's ongoing quarterback battle between Clint Trickett and Paul Millard should take shape this Saturday, but the other big depth chart story for the Mountaineers this week was one involving running back Andrew Buie.
—UPDATE AUG. 29 5:12 P.M. ET—
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Andrew Buie has withdrawn from the university. The paper received confirmation of Buie's departure through the Office of the Registrar.
Buie, nor WVU, commented for the story.
As in, he was nowhere to be found on the depth chart.
Instead, Houston transfer Charles Sims was listed as the starter with freshman Wendell Smallwood named the backup along with juniors Dreamius Smith, a community college transfer, and Dustin Garrison.
(The depth chart could also be considered a disappointment for Garrison, who was WVU's leading RB in 2011.)
“He had some decisions—some of these are decisions he makes as well,” Holgorsen said (via West Virginia Metro News). “Did we force him to (redshirt)? No. We just felt like it was in the best interest of him and the best interest in the future of our program to save his year.”
It's quite a change of fortune for Buie, who was the team's leading rusher in 2012 with 851 yards.
But it should be noted that stat is a little misleading. The reality is Buie had one standout game last season when he rushed 31 times for 207 yards and a pair of scores during a 48-45 win in Texas. It was in that win that WVU counted on the then-sophomore to shoulder the load late in the fourth quarter and help secure a victory.
It turned out to be a sizable chunk of his total production that year. Other than his performance against the Longhorns, Buie never hit the 100-yard mark in a game, save for the season-ending one against Kansas, where he reached the century mark right on the head with 12 rushes.
Offensive line problems played a role in Buie's struggles, but so did the injuries to Garrison and Shawne Alston. Buie was simply not an every-down back.
It doesn't sound like that alone factored into the decision to redshirt Buie, but whatever it was, this feels like the right call.
Sims is in a position to have a monster year running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield, and clearly, the that's an area loaded with bodies at the moment. If there's going to be a time for Buie to use his redshirt, now is as good as any. Per Holgorsen's cryptic explanation, the junior can continue to develop as a player and clear his mind if need be.
Holgorsen expects Buie to be "ready to roll" in the spring. Whether he is or not remains to be seen. If he chooses to suit up for the Mountaineers in 2014, he'll be joined by another talented transfer in former Pitt running back Rushel Shell.
Ben Kercheval is the Big 12 Lead Writer. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.
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