It is safe to say Branden Oliver could have made quite a highlight reel after his record-breaking season in 2011. As a sophomore, the Miami native rushed for a school-record 1,395 yards and 13 touchdowns as he evolved into the Bulls' top offensive threat. However, Oliver is expecting even bigger things in 2012, so he focused on the mistakes he made so he can learn from them.
"I made a highlight tape of all the bad plays I made," Oliver said after UB's second spring practice on Wednesday. "Simple reads, some of the mistakes I made, I could have had way more yards and we could have won more games."
Oliver was the Bulls' workhorse in 2011, carrying the ball a school-record 306 times. So no one would fault him for taking some time off to relax after the season ended. However, he took only one week off after last season ended and was right back to work on improving his game for 2012.
"Coach Quinn always said, if you want to be the best, you need to be in the film room all the time," Oliver said. "It's not just going to come to you. It's not just going to click when you get out there."
Oliver joined all-time UB great James Starks as only the second running back to earn All-MAC First Team honors in 2011. In February, he, along with teammate Khalil Mack, was honored among the nation's top returning players at the Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards Banquet.
Running Backs coach Matt Simon has been working closely with Oliver in the offseason and feels that there are areas he can improve on to be even more productive in 2012.
"There are some secondary moves and some things we are working on at the second level to break some games wide open," Simon said.
Oliver hasn't set any personal goals for the upcoming season. He is just working hard to help the team be successful.
"I just want to win a MAC championship," Oliver said. "We had a lot of close games last year. When you look back on it, that's the sad part about it. We could have done more."
Oliver's selflessness doesn't go unnoticed by his teammates and coaches.
"He wants the team to win and to succeed," Simon said. "He looks at every day as how can I get better? I think that's the mark of a great competitor."