“I want to help contribute to the team in any way that I can. Whether it’s at running back, specials, or whatever they ask me to do, I just want to contribute.” That was Shane Buchanan, during training camp, back in August. Buchanan was a member of the show team in both 2010 and 2011. As detailed during training camp, Shane had an incredible offseason where he dedicated himself to the Huskies’ strength and conditioning program, and also trained with the track team. I happened to be in attendance for a winter practice in which Buchanan garnered praise from running backs coach, Dan Houle, for his perfect attendance in the weight room. The hard work payed off as Shane parlayed a strong camp performance into the #2 spot on the tailback depth chart. It appeared that he would enter the conference season as the #1 back after the disappointing knee injury to Dexter Janke during the non-conference game vs. the Guelph Gryphons. But Buchanan had a nagging hamstring issue of his own following the Guelph game. #3 tailback, Jeremy Andrew, stepped in and played admirably while Shane’s injury, which only expected to keep him on the sidelines initially for one week, stretched into a five week layoff. Finally, after 2 1/2 seasons of watching Huskie games from the sidelines, Buchanan had the opportunity to step onto the field, against Manitoba, for his first Canada West game. He came into the game in the second quarter and had the kind of night that I suspect he’s dreamed of. With 13 carries for 144 yards, along with the game-winning touchdown, Buchanan was a key part – some would argue the biggest part – of the Huskies’ amazing come from behind victory.
Following the game, Shane demonstrated the same humble, team first attitude that I noticed during camp. “I’m really excited to be back and healthy. I just wanted to work hard and contribute any way that I could.” Shane had a few big carries, but none bigger than his 39 yard scamper which set up his game-winning touchdown on the very next play. He gave a lot of credit for his success to the play of the offensive line. “The OLine was playing great tonight. They were firing off the ball, and getting off real quick and opening up holes for me. It made my job easy.” Buchanan was also quick to mention the play of his quarterback, Chase Bradshaw. “He led us. He got us that win tonight.”
Coach Towriss likes what Buchanan adds to the offence. “He gives us some more speed back there. When he gets in the open field he has a little more burst than Jeremy (RB Andrew). It would have been nice to have had them both all year, but we didn’t. They’re healthy now and we’ve got to build on it.”
Coming off of two straight losses, the Huskies needed a momentum boost as they head into the stretch run of the season. “This was a character win. We’re on a playoff run here now; we need to run the table; tonight was the beginning of our push into the playoffs.”