There is no doubt the breathtaking playmaking of wide receiver Paul Richardson and the boneheaded penalty parade produced by the entire team have produced the most significant statistics for the Colorado football team through two games.

Richardson leads the nation in receiving yards and only three teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision have committed more penalties than the 19 by CU.

Zero is probably the next most eye-catching number on the Colorado season box score to date.

It is the number of times a running back other than senior Rodney Stewart has carried the ball this season. Stewart is well on his way to reprising his ironman role of last season when he carried the ball 290 times, the second most in a single season in CU history.

What's going on here? Do coaches not trust players such as senior Brian Lockridge, redshirt freshman Tony Jones or third-year sophomore Josh Ford. All three had their moments in fall camp and all three have participated on special teams units in the first two games.

Coach Jon Embree said he and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy meant to get Jones in each of the first two games, but having a senior as rock solid as Stewart has made taking him off the field in close games difficult.

"We're definitely going to get Tony in this week," Embree said after Monday's practice. "He's a good player and he's earned it and he can help us. We've just got to make a better effort of putting it on the script -- 26 (Jones' jersey number)."


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Finding times to give Stewart a breather and get Jones and Ford some experience has been one of the hiccups of coaches adjusting to the college game after years in the NFL, Embree said.

Embree and Bieniemy both came to CU from NFL franchises and the normal operating procedure in the league is for players to run on and off the field when certain formations are called or certain situations arise.

"In the league, guys came in on third downs so you're used to having a guy in there and you play him," Embree said. "It's a combination of that."

Stewart has rushed 42 times for 125 net yards, averaging an anemic 2.98 yards per carry. On the flip side, he has made a huge impact with effective screen passes that have burned each of the Buffs' first two opponents. Stewart is the team's second leading receiver behind Richardson with 11 catches for 184 yards. He is averaging nearly 17 yards per catch.

"It's probably because I'm short," Stewart said, explaining what makes him so effective on screen passes. "I get up under those linemen and it makes it hard to see me and I'm real quick. So when I break away from the line, I get separation. And Tyler (Hansen) does a good job of finding me."

Stewart has an opportunity to break the CU career rushing record this season if he can rush for 1,200 yards. Stewart said the record isn't on his mind much right now but it would be special to break the current mark held by Bieniemy.

Stewart said he is in great shape and his experience has taught him what it takes to get through the grind of a full season. He said he is interested to see how he will feel in late October and November if his workload continues at this rate.

"I'm a pretty tough guy," he said. "Even if I am beat up, I think I can go all the way. I'll be curious to see what it's like in Week 8 or Week 9 as far as how strong my body stays."