Skip to content

Shakeup in Colorado Buffs’ loss against UCLA included rebooted RB rotation

BOULDER,CO-September 24: University of Colorado Boulder's ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Charlie Offerdahl takes the handoff against UCLA during the game on September 24, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Going with the fourth plan in four games at the quarterback spot wasn’t the only major shakeup on display for the Colorado offense on Saturday.

With running back Alex Fontenot sidelined for a second consecutive game due to a chest injury, head coach Karl Dorrell, offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and running backs coach Darian Hagan shuffled the backfield rotation.

Deion Smith, the Buffs’ No. 1-B to Fontenot’s 1-A through the season’s early weeks, was relegated to the third wheel while freshmen Charlie Offerdahl and Anthony Hankerson took the bulk of the backfield reps against UCLA. Additionally, sophomore Jayle Stacks did not play in CU’s 45-17 loss against the Bruins due to what Dorrell described as a shoulder injury.

“(Stacks) had a little bit of a dinged shoulder from the Minnesota game,” Dorrell explained. “I didn’t feel comfortable playing him. The other thing is we’ve got Anthony Hankerson, we’ve got Charlie, we’ve got Deion. Those are the primary three and we’re going to rotate those guys. We don’t necessarily treat any of them as the starter. We’re going to go with the hot hand. We thought Charlie gave us the most efficiency today.”

None of the players in the backfield rotation probably could have been described as having a hot hand, as Offerdahl, Hankerson and Smith combined for 88 rushing yards on 23 carries, an average of 3.8 yards per attempt.

It was Offerdahl, a redshirt freshman walk-on out of Littleton, who received the bulk of the work, making his first career start before finishing with 47 yards on 14 carries (3.4 per attempt). Hankerson, a true freshman, received the first touches of his career, recording 25 yards on seven carries. Smith entered the game as CU’s leading rusher with 159 yards on 28 carries, for an above-par average of 5.7 per rush, but he enjoyed only two carries for 16 yards against the Bruins.

The running game has been serviceable for the Buffs through four games. But constantly playing from behind has muted the overall impact of the rushing attack.

“As a team, this is tough,” Offerdahl said after the Buffs fell to 0-4. “I just want to say to the Boulder and Buffalo crowd, we’re going to get this right.

“As far as me, it’s not so much about me but it was good to get out there and get some reps early and get into the flow of the game. I’ve got to dedicate all my success to the O-line. I can’t get anything without them. It definitely was a step (against UCLA). Those scoring drives we did one play at a time to get down the field, and really worked as a team to get into that end zone. We really need to build on that, and that success that we had. Come film tomorrow, we need to fix what we did wrong. But focusing on what we did right, and building on that, is big-time.”

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.