The Buffs let their fans down against Cal, that really cannot be debated.
But to let down the “Fearless Forecasts”?
Scotty McKnight ended last weekend’s 52-7 debacle eight yards shy of 2,000 for his career, leaving the Fearless Forecasts with a five-for-six record for the season. Still, the beat must go on, so here are this week’s “take-to-the-bank” predictions:
1) Colorado will exceed its points per game average … The Buffs have posted only 31 points thus far in 2010, a paltry 15.5 per game average. In two games in 2010, Hawaii has given up 77 points, or 38.5 points per game (good for 111th in the nation). Last season, Hawaii was scored on to the clip of 29.5 points per game. In seven games, the opposition surpassed the Buffs’ 2010 point output to date. Suffice it to say, if the Buffs are hovering anywhere around their 2010 average, it will be a long day for Colorado fans …
2) Attendance for the Hawaii game will be the lowest in a home opener since 2002 … at least against a Division 1-AA opponent. In 2002, Colorado played before a crowd of 44,126 in the home opener against San Diego State – and that was for a team coming off a Big 12 championship! In 2006, the number was 45,513 for Dan Hawkins’ debut against Montana State; while 46,417 were on hand for the first home game in 2008 against Eastern Washington. According to the Colorado athletic department, around 10,000 seats were still available earlier this week, despite a 1:30 kickoff and warm weather in the forecast.
3) Justin Torres will touch the football before the fourth quarter … The true freshman running back already has given up his red-shirt, having played against Colorado State. In the final drive of the game, Torres carried the ball five times for 26 yards. Last weekend, though, Torres did not play, with Rodney Stewart getting 29 carries for 80 yards. If the rushing game is clicking this weekend (and it should be, Hawaii is ranked 113th in the nation in rushing defense, giving up 248 yards per game), then Speedy will need to be spelled. If the rushing game is not clicking, Torres will be inserted in order to put a bigger back (6’0″, 215-pounds, compared to the 5’6″, 175-pound Stewart) to try and generate a consistent running attack.
Comparing Oregon and Colorado – Buffs not ready for Pac-12?
Julien Lounis made news this week when he asked the Buffs for a refund.
The Colorado senior went to the CU/Cal game last Saturday in Berkeley, but couldn’t handle the blowout, leaving during the third quarter of the 52-7 blowout. “I was just so disappointed by our team, again, and I wanted to make a point to the athletic department about it,” said Lounis.
Lounis sent an email to the Colorado athletic department, along with an invoice detailing his flight, hotel, and ticket costs. His bill came to $401.40.
The Colorado administration reply? “That does not even deserve a response,” wrote Colorado athletic media relations director Dave Plati in an email response to an inquiry by the Denver Post.
If Lounis’ request sounds vaguely familiar … let’s go back in time to last September.
On September 3, 2009, No. 16 Oregon traveled to No. 14 Boise to take on the Broncos. The Ducks were thumped on the Smurf Turf, 19-8. While losing to a higher ranked team, on the road, would normally not be considered an embarrassment, a number of Duck fans were upset. One fan, Tony Seminary, wrote an email to new head coach Chip Kelly, attaching an invoice for $439 in travel expenses. “The product on the field (September 3rd) is not something I was at all proud of, and I feel as though I’m entitled to my money back for the trip,” wrote Seminary.
Kelly wrote back to Seminary, asking for his address. A few days later, a check for $439 was in Seminary’s mailbox.
Oregon dropped out of the polls after the loss to Boise State, but went on to post a 10-3 record, finishing 11th in the final poll.
So, when a disgruntled fan asked for a refund from Oregon, he got a refund. Oregon is the Pac-10 favorite this year.
When a disgruntled fan asked for a refund from Colorado, his email was not worthy of a response. Colorado’s chances for a Big 12 title …
Offensive line shuffling … again
Colorado used eight offensive linemen against Colorado State, with only right guard Ryan Miller and left tackle Nate Solder in for every snap. Against California, only six offensive linemen were used.
Apparently, it was the wrong six …
Last Saturday, the Colorado offensive line was made up of Solder and Miller, with Keenan Stevens at center and Mike Iltis at left guard for the entire game. The right tackle position was manned by David Bakhtiari (for 62 snaps) and Bryce Givens (14 snaps).
This weekend, Keenan Stevens, who is on the Rimington Award watch list for the nation’s top center, is out, replaced by Mike Iltis. “That’s not a demotion of Keenan,” said offensive line coach Denver Johnson. “What we’ve got there is a cluster of guys there, and there’s not a lot of difference in them … We’re just trying to search for the guys who play the best, the most consistently.”
(It’s a “cluster” all right … but this is a family website …).
Ethan Adkins, who played 25 snaps against Colorado State, alternating with Iltis – but who did not play a down against California – will be the Buffs’ new starting left guard.
So, your starting lineup for the Hawaii game will be: Nate Solder at left tackle; Ethan Adkins at left guard; Mike Iltis at center; Ryan Miller at right guard; and the Bakhtiari/Givens tandem at right tackle. Wide receiver Scotty McKnight, a team captain, said at Tuesday’s press luncheon that the team had a good practice on Tuesday, and that “the offensive line in particular praticed well.” Asked if he was over the devastating loss to California, McKnight said, “We have to erase the negative momentum, and start over for next week … We have the potential to be a great offense. We just didn’t show up on Saturday.”
Colorado, once again mired at the bottom of the Big 12 and the national statistics in offensive production, will try once again to put forward an offense – and five offensive linemen – who can produce. “A lot of it (the Buffs’ offensive woes) is totally correctible,” said Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins.
We’ll see …
Buffs’ defensive backfield takes another hit
What would the Buff Nation least like to hear this week, with the No. 2 passing offense in the nation coming to town?
Try this … yet another defensive back is out.
Junior defensive back Travis Sandersfeld, himself a replacement for Parker Orms, suffered a fractured bone in his leg, and will miss several weeks. Already short-handed at nickel back, red-shirt freshman Paul Vigo, the third string nickel back two weeks ago, will be thrust into the starting lineup. Junior Jonathan Hawkins becomes the new backup at nickel back. Sandersfeld joins Orms and Vince Ewing amongst the walking wounded from the secondary.
Vigo, for his part, has been in for 31 plays over the first two games. “He did a nice job (against Cal)”, said Dan Hawkins. “He is a very physical player and he can run.” One problem for Vigo is that he practiced this spring and preseason at cornerback and safety, but will now be expected to perform at nickel back. “It’s a position where you have to make your run and pass reads really fast,” Vigo told BuffStampede.com. “You are always moving, and you are real active at that position. You are always involved somewhere.”
Jonathan Hawkins, meanwhile, has been in for only 12 defensive snaps, though he is second on the team in special team points after two games. Hawkins, a junior, has battled through injuries throughout his career, and was in for only three defensive snaps before 2010. “I have been injured on and off, and it has been a long journey,” said Hawkins. “My health is good now, and I just need to stay consistent.”
With Hawaii passing for over 400 yards per game so far in 2010, it is a safe bet that both Vigo and Hawkins, with 43 snaps and two tackles between them in the first two games, will see considerable action this weekend …
Also injured and out for an extended period of time is reserve offensive lineman Shawn Daniels. The 6’3″, 275-pound junior was in for 12 snaps at center against Colorado State in the opener, but has suffered a torn ligament in his foot and is likely lost for the season.
Hansen sends message to Buff fans
“Buff Nation, I promise you this type of thing will never happen again,” said junior quarterback Tyler Hansen. “Going out there and playing like that will never happen again while I’m at Colorado, and I can promise that! It’s unacceptable”.
For starters, you have to give credit to Hansen for trying to take a leadership role. You want your quarterback, even if he is not the captain (Cody Hawkins is a captain, along with fellow seniors Scotty McKnight, Jalil Brown, and Nate Solder) to be a leader, both on and off the field.
You also have to admire Hansen’s brash statement, in light of what the Buffs have laid out before them, including road games against Missouri (58-0 in 2008); Oklahoma (24-3, the last time the teams played in Norman); and Nebraska (yes, the Buffs usually play the Cornhuskers tight, but this will be the last game for Nebraska in the Big 12, and, well …).
Let’s hope the Buffs will take Hansen’s words to heart, and that something beautiful will grow out of the trash heap that was the California game …
Hawaii “on the road again”
Hawaii is one the NCAA’s longest road trip of the 2010 season. After playing at Army, some 5,000 miles from home, the Warriors stayed on the mainland this week. Hawaii is staying, and practicing, in, of all places, Las Vegas.
The site does make some sense, if you look back at the Warriors’ 2009 schedule. Last year, Hawaii played Washington State in Seattle, then played UNLV the following week. The Warriors stayed in Las Vegas in preparation for that game, then stayed over before going on to play Louisiana Tech the following week.
So, Las Vegas has become a second home to the Warriors, who will fly up to Boulder later this week.
For the record, Hawaii won the first game of its three game road trip in 2009, beating Washington State, 38-20. The Warriors then fell in the next two road games, losing to UNLV, 34-33, and Louisiana Tech, 27-6, before finally getting to return home to the islands.