The running game easily was the strength of the Colorado offense in 2012 though production was spotty throughout a difficult season.
With most of the starters back this fall on offense, as well as the three top running backs from a year ago, CU figured to be able to rely on that ground game as the passing game found its way.
But through the first two games in a new offense and under new coaches, the Buffs haven't found their groove in the running game while the passing game featuring quarterback Connor Wood and wide receiver Paul Richardson has been a saving grace, and, at times, a thing of beauty.
An 11-yard run by Tony Jones is the longest by a running back so far. He is the only running back with a carry for more than 10 yards and CU is still looking for its first rushing touchdown of the year. Wide receiver D.D. Goodson (31 yards) and Wood (19 yards) have the longest runs from scrimmage.
"We've got to get our pads down and be able to fit through some tight spots and break some tackles," running back, fullbacks and tight ends coach Klayton Adams said. "Improving in those areas is a key for us and a goal for us this week."
Yet, it's not as if the Buffs aren't gaining ground on the ground. They ran for 109 yards against Colorado State and 84 yards against Central Arkansas. They are totals they hope to improve on to be sure.
CU coaches might argue that their short passing game is getting the job done where the running game is not.
"I think that we just need to keep pushing it and keep working with it and I think we'll eventually do better at it," coach Mike MacIntyre said. "We just haven't broken a 50-yard run that you all of a sudden go instead of having 120 yards rushing you're at 175. So we need to do that and I'm hoping that happens this week."
The Buffs host Fresno State on Saturday afternoon at Folsom Field (noon, Pac-12 Network) and should be able to move the ball on the ground and through the air against the Bulldogs.
Fresno State isn't off to a great start this season when it comes to stopping the run. The Bulldogs are allowing 184 yards a game on the ground. They rank 106th in the nation after two weeks in total defense, allowing 480 yards a game.
Starting tailback Christian Powell has been hampered by a thigh bruise, the same injury that slowed him at times last season. Powell is expected to play against Fresno State and coaches believe a bye week following the game will help him return to full strength or close to it for the start of Pac-12 Conference play.
Being successful in the running game obviously involves more than the running backs. Offensive linemen, tight ends and wide receivers all must do their part to have consistent success. CU coaches believe they are making progress in developing that consistency. It just hasn't showed up in games yet.
Jones and Powell have nearly split carries so far this season, with Jones carrying 25 times for 85 yards and Powell rushing 21 times for 64 yards. Those numbers might be slightly different in Powell's favor if not for his injury, but both players are expected to have plenty of opportunities this fall.
Sophomore Donta Abron is the only other running back to carry the ball in a game so far. He has rushed 10 times for 14 yards.
Players say they are not happy with the results from the running game to this point but they're patiently trying to fix the mistakes they see on film. Jones said the running backs are running the ball where plays are designed to go, but the entire offense hasn't been able to make those plays work as they're designed to yet.
"We're definitely doing that," Jones said. "It isn't like we're not playing against good defenses. But we're going to get it together and we're going to get that fixed."