The truth is, Buie spent much of the offseason working on his strength and adding some weight, but he's still a small back.
"I feel good. I feel fine,'' he insisted. "That was the point of the offseason, to get my body to where I could handle that.''
But it would be so much better if Buie were part of a rotation of running backs. Alston is the key to that because he's the only one of the three built to run the ball repeatedly. But after shining in that opener, he suffered a serious thigh bruise and has played sparingly since.
Last week against Oklahoma State, Holgorsen even went so far as to put slot receiver Tavon Austin in the backfield a few times. He always takes handoffs or short tip passes while motioning through the backfield, but this time he lined up there.
But that's not a great option.
"I wish we could clone him and put three of him out there. You want to get it into his hands as much as you can,'' Holgorsen said. "With that said, his trade has been being an inside receiver for four years now. We'll continue to try and come up with creative ways to get him the ball because he's dynamic as it comes in college football.''
But it won't be as a load-bearing running back.
Regardless of who lines up in the backfield, though, it's going to be important for someone to carry the ball and carry it well against Oklahoma. The Sooners will give that part of the game to West Virginia and hope that the four or five players they commit to the run (as opposed to having six, seven or eight in the box) can make plays one-on-one.
"They're going to play a 4-1 or 4-2 front and their safeties are their fill guys,'' Holgorsen said. "They're going to rely on those people in the box and those two safeties that come down to stop the run. There's going to be people in space, and then once those guys are in space it's about making some people miss.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.