Going into Friday night's Rocky Mountain Showdown against Colorado State, the Colorado running backs are healthy and ready to go.

Figuring out which one will lead the ground game is a mystery, however.

"Going into the game, I think everybody will play, but I also think that if one guy gets hot and we're rolling, that guy will stay in," CU running backs coach Darian Hagan.

The good news is that CU has most of its weapons. Of the six running backs on scholarship, five could play. Only redshirt freshman Dino Gordon - who is suspended for at least the first three games - won't play.

Among the healthy is junior Michael Adkins II. He hasn't played since injuring his hamstring on his first carry against CSU on Sept. 19, 2015, and spent the first half of August nursing another hamstring issue.

"Yes, Michael will play," Hagan said. "He's 100 percent. In the last week and a half, he's been showing that burst that he has, so I'm looking forward to getting him in there and letting him do some things. Being a wide-open offense, giving that guy in space, he can do some damage."

Juniors Phillip Lindsay and Donovan Lee have been the Buffs' most consistent backs in practice this past month and Lindsay is eager to see what he and the backs can do this season.

"This running back crew can be real good," said Lindsay, who led the team with 653 rushing yards last season. "It can be one of the top there in the Pac-12. We just need to go out there and s how it now.


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You can't talk, you just have to go and show it. We have to go out and produce."

CU has not had a great running game in years, although it's been better recently. A year ago, the Buffs averaged 156.2 yards per game on the ground, their best total since 2006.

Having a healthier, more experienced offensive line will help, Hagan said.

"I feel really confident about our run game," he said. "I think our guys are a little bit more understanding of what's going on, the blocking schemes and things like that. Guys are playing fast and they understand it; the line is playing fast and they understand it.

"We should be really good, efficient in the run game."

Sophomore Kyle Evans could also get some carries against the Rams. True freshman Beau Bisharat is in the mix, too, but is "in a learning phase," Hagan said.

Hagan and the Buffs love the potential of the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Bisharat, however.

"By game No. 5, that dude is going to be dangerous," Hagan said.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.