Answers to Colorado's troubles in the running game are proving more elusive than Buffs' running backs.
For the second consecutive year, CU started the college football season with a dreadful performance on the ground, gaining just 58 yards on 29 carries Saturday against a Colorado State defense that had lost its best defensive players in the offseason.
A year ago, the Buffs began a new era under coach Jon Embree by gaining only 17 net rushing yards on 28 carries in a loss at Hawaii.
The 2011 Buffs never did find any consistency on the ground, gaining fewer than 100 yards in seven of 13 games and averaging just 109 yards per game. That average is actually inflated somewhat by a late-season blowout of Arizona in which CU racked up more than 270 yards on the ground.
To be fair, while the offensive line is considered the strength of the CU offense, three of its members -- Daniel Munyer, Jack Harris and Alexander Lewis -- didn't play a lot last season. Munyer was on the field in 2011 for 205 snaps, Harris for 109 snaps and Lewis for 48.
The Buffs have also made some changes to the way they play offense this season, the biggest change being a no-huddle offense on a fulltime basis.
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy -- the program's all-time leading rusher -- vowed to get the running game going following Saturday's loss.
"Everybody is up for evaluation, including me," Bieniemy said. "I'm going to evaluate everything and how I do it. I'm going to evaluate who is doing what, but I'll tell you this, we will get better. We don't have a choice."
Offensive line coach Steve Marshall fell on his sword following the game saying he didn't prepare his unit sufficiently. On Monday, not much had changed after he and his players had the chance to review film of the loss.
"It was just like I thought after the game," Marshall said. "We had a lot of positive things happen in the game and a lot of negative. Right now we've got to go fix the negative part of it. I was happy with our effort and happy with the intensity and how we do things. We've just got to do things technically better in some areas."
Tony Jones led the Buffs in rushing with 16 attempts for just 43 yards in the opener. It resembled a handful of outings former CU running back Rodney Stewart produced last year. Sophomore Malcolm Creer ran four times for 17 yards.
Fullback Christian Powell was the only one of five true freshmen running backs to get a carry in the opener. He gained three yards.
The Buffs' struggles to run were never more obvious Saturday than on fourth-and-goal at the Rams' 1-yard line when CU chose to roll out quarterback Jordan Webb who threw high out of the back of the end zone instead of trying to muscle up one yard.
"Well, not good enough," Marshall said Monday when asked about the ground game. "We have a whole new kind of system of what we're doing and we didn't execute well enough on a consistent basis.
"We were one here and one there. When you get around teams that can really run the football, it's a down-after-down deal and that didn't happen on Saturday. That's my fault. I've got to prepare them better."
Munyer, who earned the starting right guard spot early in training camp, said after reviewing tape of the opener, the consensus among the offensive linemen was they need to do a better job communicating in the heat of the moment.
"There was a couple times where it would be four guys doing one thing and one guy not on the same page," Munyer said. "I think communication as a whole is what we've got to improve on this week if we're going to have a chance to beat any team really."