Kansas has lost running backs Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox to season-ending injuries, KU coach Charlie Weis announced on Tuesday.
Bourbon, who was expected to be the starter, suffered a torn ACL during a scrimmage on Sunday, while Cox tore his Achilles tendon during a non-contact drill on Monday. Both Bourbon and Cox, who have already used redshirts, will explore ways to finish their careers next season.
“I feel bad for both Brandon and Taylor as they were looking forward to the opportunity to be the replacement for James Sims,” Weis said in a statement. “I sat down with each of them individually and talked through their options and was happy that they chose to further their education, while attempting to play again next year if things work out.”
This was just the latest blow to a backfield unit that has been nearly stripped bare over the last few months. Former running back Darrian Miller left the program over the summer after battling ongoing off-the-field issues. And incoming freshman Traevohn Wrench, a four-star recruit from Gardner Edgerton, failed to qualify academically, landing at Butler Community College.
True freshman Corey Avery and junior college transfer De’Andre Mann now move to the top of the depth chart. Weis also announced that true freshman safety Joe Dineen would move to running back. Weis has also said that senior receiver Tony Pierson could see time at running back this season.
“I surveyed our roster and felt Joe was the best answer to help offensive depth, while not greatly hindering the defense,” Weis said. “He and I met after practice Monday and I gave him the choice. He was happy to move in the best interest of the team.
Weis added: “While De’Andre and Corey lack experience on the Division I level, they both have had excellent camps. The team is well-aware of this situation and is excited to make the run game successful.”
Cox, a junior college transfer from College of the Siskiyou (Calif.), rushed for 464 yards on 91 carries in 2012, averaging better than five yards per touch. Cox played in just two games last season before going down with a hamstring injury. He never returned and was granted another year of eligibility through a medical redshirt.
Bourbon, meanwhile, has also battled injuries during his career. Bourbon suffered a foot injury during the spring of his redshirt freshman year; he also endured a season-ending leg injury after playing eight games in 2011.