Through the first two games of the season, Michael Adkins II was just another freshman headed toward a redshirt season.
Now, he's the running back du jour at Colorado.
The true freshman from San Diego rushed for 98 yards on 14 carries in Saturday's 44-17 loss at Oregon State. Head coach Mike MacIntyre said, "You'll definitely see Michael Adkins (this Saturday against Oregon) as much as you saw his last week, unless something happens."
Ever since Rodney Stewart graduated after the 2011 season, running back has been a fluid position at CU. Stewart led the Buffs in rushing four years in a row from 2008-11.
A year ago, Tony Jones went into the season as the starter, but was quickly passed up by Christian Powell. Now a sophomore, Powell, has been the starter, but he's now third on the team in rushing -- behind Jones (the junior has a team-high 107 yards on 29 attempts) and Adkins. Powell has 85 yards on 31 carries this season.
CU running backs coach Klayton Adams said it really doesn't matter who starts. In fact, he's happy to have all three backs -- plus sophomore Donta Abron -- in the mix.
"I still think we've got a lot of good guys and we've got to keep putting them in situations to be successful and keep giving those guys opportunities to show what they can do because I believe in all of them," Adams said.
After his sparkling debut on Saturday, Adkins looks like the best of the bunch right now. But Adams said any one of his backs could have a big day.
"I think you've got to find the right combination of things and sometimes you're facing a certain opponent where one guy has some attributes that are really going to let him be successful," Adams said. "We have to put those guys into situations where what they do and what they're good at is being highlighted on the field, so we're continuing to work on that. Hopefully the outcome continues to get better and better as we improve."
The Buffs ran for a season-high 154 yards as a team on Saturday.
Adams said that throughout his coaching career, he's never had a running back that carried the load alone, so CU fans can expect to see multiple backs being used as the Buffs move forward.
"Sometimes when a guy has a hot hand, you're going to let him ride it a little bit," Adams said. "Sometimes you get into a situation where a guy is hot for five or six or 10 weeks in a row, and that's always a good situation to have, too."
MacIntyre said Tuesday that Powell will be used at both tailback and fullback. The 6-foot, 235-pounder was a fullback in high school and has been used at that position briefly this season.