Colorado Daily – UCLA
UCLA head coach Jim Mora, Jr. – CU game “critical”
From ESPN … The Bruins, who made a season of bouncing back from losses last year, will try to do so for the first time this season when they play at Colorado on Saturday.
UCLA (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) is coming off of a disappointing 27-20 home loss to Oregon State and faces the difficult task of trying to get back on track on the road against a team that is riding high after its thrilling comeback victory at Washington State last week.
But UCLA coach Jim Mora says he believes that if the Bruins want to show that they are turning a corner, they must show the mettle to bounce back this week against the Buffaloes.
“I think it’s critical,” Mora said. “I really do. For us as a football team to show ourselves that we can handle adversity and that we can bounce back and show some resilience. For our fan base to restore any faith that we may have lost by losing Saturday. Just to get our momentum back. It’s very important.”
Last season, for all the ugly losses, the Bruins shined in bounce-back games. They started with a loss to Houston, then came back to defeat San Jose State the following week. After a 49-20 blowout loss to Texas at home, the Bruins got a rare conference road win at Oregon State.
It wasn’t until after a demoralizing 50-0 loss to USC in the regular-season finale that the Bruins broke their pattern of following losses with a win as they went on to lose to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game the following week and then three weeks later lost their bowl game against Illinois.
Those losses are ancient history as far as this year’s Bruins are concerned, however, as Mora was not the coach then. He has implemented a different program with different expectations and standards and now must see if his team can rise above the first loss they have encountered in this era.
“I like the challenge,” Mora said. “This early in the development of this new program, to see where we are and see how we handle it and see if we have the mental toughness. To see where we are and where we need to go, I think it’s a great opportunity for us.”
It’s also an opportunity to add another road win. The Bruins won their first road game of the Mora era at Rice in the season opener, and now will try to get their first conference road win under the new coach. The victory at Oregon State last season was the outlier for UCLA, which was 1-5 in conference road games last season and was outscored 223-68 in the five losses.
In 2010, UCLA went 0-4 in conference road games and was outscored, 174-61. UCLA’s only conference road wins over the last four seasons came against Oregon State last year, Washington State in 2009 and Washington in 2008. Those teams finished with records of 3-9, 1-11 and 0-12, respectively.
Colorado (1-3, 1-0), appeared headed for a similar type of season as those schools, but came back from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit at Washington State last week and Mora said that makes them as dangerous as any team.
He said the key for UCLA will be to keep the focus on playing well, paying attention to details and execution rather than trying to avenge a loss from last week.
“We try to keep the focus on us and the way we’re playing rather than the opponent, where we’re playing and what the game means in terms of rankings or bouncing back and things like that,” Mora said. “For a coach there’s a rub there because you want to emphasize that you have to bounce back, but you don’t want that to be the emphasis. … We have to play to our standard so you’re always trying to balance that.”
Parade of Buffs
First, the bad news. For those of us hoping for an announcement concerning facility upgrades … there was one.
But all it was was another delay.
While CU is “actively pursuing concepts for upgrades and enhancements”, there won’t be any more details … until spring.”please know we’re hustling to pull that together,” said CU athletic director Mike Bohn.
Fair translation: CU wants to have ducks (plans approved; monetary commitments in hand). Still, no news in this case is bad news.
I guess will still have to wait a few more months to hear about future games at South Park Stadium or Celestial Seasonings Field …
Parade of former Buffs impressive … While there were no great announcements made, there was a significant lineup of former Buffs on hand. In addition to legends in basketball, golf, volleyball and track and field, there were a number of former players and coaches, including … Gary Barnett; Eric Bieniemy; Cliff Branch; Chad Brown; Brian Cabral; Darian Hagan; Charles Johnson; Bill McCartney; Mike Pritchard; Victor Rogers; Matt Russell; Jashon Sykes; and Alfred Williams.
After the introductions, Michael Westbrook, Kordell Stewart, and the middle man in the “Miracle in Michigan”, Blake Anderson, recreated “The Catch” for those on hand for the Parade.
Former CU head coach Gary Barnett then challenged the fan base to create a true home field advantage on Saturday, and to make sure that UCLA understood that they were playing “team Colorado”. A motto for the New England Patriots is “do your job”, and Barnett challenged members of the Buff Nation to do their job on Saturday.
The night ended with Kordell Stewart and former head coach Bill McCartney. Kordell talked about the greatness of the university but also that it’s all on you as the individual. Referencing moments where people said he had to be a safety or wide receiver to make it to the next level but he stuck with his dream and became one of the best passers in all of college football. Stewart also talked about trusting your teammates that they will give everything they have.
Coach Mac was, well, Coach Mac, talking about circling Nebraska on the schedule when he arrived in Boulder, and how the Buffs need to circle UCLA and USC on their calendars. The road to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl goes through Los Angeles, with the Rose Bowl being “the only way we’re going to get to play Nebraska again”.
McCartney mentioned that the number one recruiting question he had about kids was ” could they beat Nebraska ” and that needs to be the mantra for future recruiting … can this player beat USC. McCartney also called out ALL the poor fans for waffling on this staff and questioning play calling. He said to instead be 100% invested in what this program does. There is no middle ground, it is either all or nothing.
Jon Embree also spoke, and indicated that former players were going to be invited to be in the locker room on Saturday.
“Shoulder to Shoulder” video released
Here is a link to the inspirational “Shoulder to Shoulder” video which was shown to the players the night before the Washington State game. Fair warning: Have a hanky on hand, especially when Mike Marquez and Chad Brown start talking …
More on Parade of Buffs
Former Buff great Lance Carl on “Shoulder to Shoulder”
You may also remember Lance Carl for this play, from the 1986 CU/Nebraska game (note the player who is first to greet Carl after the touchdown):
Buffs look to use tight ends more often
From cubuffs.com … Last Saturday’s headliner among Colorado’s tight ends was obvious – Nick Kasa and his 70-yard touchdown reception that launched the Buffs’ comeback at Washington State.
But taken as a whole, the afternoon turned in by CU’s tight ends was exactly what position coach J.D. Brookhart had been wanting for the season’s first month. Actually, he’d been waiting for it for over a year.
Against WSU, Brookhart’s guys made 11 of CU’s 29 receptions, worth 167 yards and a TD. That’s a collective position best in Brookhart’s season and a half on coach Jon Embree’s staff, and the timing was opportune not only for what it contributed to the Buffs’ first 2012 win but because it added another element to CU’s offense.
Said Brookhart: “It was a needed step . . . we had been very one-dimensional throwing the ball. Where we are as a team, we have to have ability to get the job done at all positions – receivers, running backs and tight ends.
“We’re trying to give the quarterback a different comfort level in not just throwing to outside, which we’ve done for the last year and a half. That’s our job – to prove they can trust us. It’s kind of what we’ve set out to do.”
CU’s offensive mantra this week: “In Tight Ends, We Trust.”
Kasa is a converted defensive end still feeling his way through the offense. Quarterback Jordan Webb calls him “a freak of an athlete,” and at 6-6, 260 with oh-my speed Kasa is showing why. Brookhart wondered in August camp when/if Kasa would make that one long reception that would force defensive coaches to think twice about assigning a linebacker in coverage.
“There it is,” Brookhart said of the 70-yard score against the Cougars. Kasa finished with three receptions for 87 yards, but not to be lost were DaVaughn Thornton’s five receptions for 60 yards and Kyle Slavin’s three catches for 20 yards.
In CU’s first four games, Brookhart’s tight ends accounted for only four receptions – two by Slavin, one each by Kasa and Vincent Hobbs, the only one of three freshman tight ends not scheduled to redshirt. He missed the WSU game to be in Texas with his father, who underwent major surgery.
From more than a receiving standpoint, the afternoon in the Palouse was satisfying for Brookhart. “I know the stats showed what they did,” he said, “but the nice part was that they all graded out well overall – not just in the passing game.” CU rolled up season highs in rushing (186 yards) and total offense (531), with blocking by the tight ends a factor in both categories.
Of Kasa’s productivity, Brookhart said, “That’s what he’s capable of doing. We’ve got to try and put him in those positions to do it a number of times during the year. What that does is change things for the receivers; (the defense) has to be more aware of the tight ends too, which they haven’t had to do here for a while.”
Added Webb: “Our defensive guys are always talking about how fast he is . . . you don’t see big guys move like he can. I knew he was capable of it, but it was great to see him put it on tape. We can get a lot of favorable matchups with him as far as linebackers and safeties covering. He can usually run by those guys and he’s probably going to be more physical than most of them. I think that’ll be a matchup we’re going to look at very often.”
Kasa put in time on defense (end, tackle) before switching sides last year. During spring drills and August camp, Brookhart said more than once that Kasa’s challenge was to cram four years of learning a new position into preparation for his senior season.
So even with superb athleticism and a body type that senior defensive lineman Will Pericak calls “prototypical” for a tight end, Kasa will be a work in progress through November. Said Pericak: “He’s always been one of the most athletic guys on the team. He’s really got the build and the prototypical body type for it. But he’s really picked up the little things, catching the ball and how to block.”
Kasa’s confidence took a quantum leap last weekend in only his fifth at the position, but he concedes, “I’m still not nearly what I could be; I’ve only had a full year now to grasp stuff. But I’m getting a lot more comfortable. That game definitely helped me out with confidence and understanding the position.”
All in all, Kasa called last Saturday “huge” from a team and personal standpoint. “It was the first win of my senior year,” he said. “I’d like to be here with these guys for another year, but I can’t do it. We lost a few games we shouldn’t have, but now we need to just move forward. We’ve got tough teams, a lot tougher than maybe we’ve had. We just need to keep the winning going.”
The official CU injury report shows three players to be out for Saturday’s game against UCLA: wide receiver Paul Richardson; center Brad Cotner; and safety Ray Polk. Richardson is out for the season; Cotner suffered a “turf toe” against Fresno State, and is likely out for at least two more weeks; while Polk, who has been out since the first half of the Colorado State game with a high ankle sprain, is out of the boot this week, and has begun rehabilitation.
Also on the report, listed as “questionable” are center Gus Handler (ankle sprain against Sacramento State), and linebacker Doug Rippy. While listed as questionable, Rippy, who suffered a knee sprain against Sacramento State, practiced on Tuesday, and told reporters that, unless there were any repercussions from practicing, that he would be ready to play this weekend.
Two players injured against Washington State, defensive tackle Josh Tupou and linebacker Paul Vigo, are listed as “day-to-day”. Both suffered concussions, but both are expected to be available for the UCLA game.
“You start getting some key pieces back, that will also help you,” Embree said at his Tuesday press conference.
Jon Embree Press Conference Quotes
From cubuffs.com …
“This is the breast cancer awareness game for us, so we will have some pink on. I am sure a lot of people can say; it’s hit a few people close to us, our program, our players. So we want to do what we can with the awareness, so that will take place this Saturday. Wear your black and your pink. I’m just excited for the players, they did a great job last week of responding to what we were asking them to do as a coaching staff, and focusing on the things we wanted them to focus on. That was a big bounce back to go in there and win that game and to win it in that fashion. It is a great reward for these kids; they have been working hard, you have heard me talk about how hard they have been working, all offseason, all season, all summer, and all through camp. So for them to finally get a win, and a reward and to do it like that and to do it on the road says a lot about these kids and where their mindset is. We look forward to playing UCLA this week; it’s a great program, great tradition there. I have got to meet [UCLA head coach] Jim [Mora] a little bit, haven’t spent a lot of time with him but I know a few coaches very well on that staff, and I know that we are going to have to play very well if we are going to have a chance against those guys.”
On UCLA’s Running Game
“Their running game with Jet Ski (Jonathan Franklin), he is a very good back, I think he has a chance to be the all-time leading rusher there before it is all said and done. He is explosive, he runs with power, and he has a lot of speed. He is a great kid; obviously I have a relationship with some of these kids on this team, real good kid. I know he didn’t have the game he was capable of last week; Oregon State did a good job on him but he is a hard guy to contain. You have to do a good job of tackling him and you have to have more than one guy there, because if not-he hits a seem and you are in the wrong gap, its six.”
On Oregon State Defending UCLA’s Running Game
“I think sometimes fans, or people, get the mistake of, ‘Well, if they did it then, you can do it.’ If it’s not within your scheme, it’s sometimes hard to get some things taught or to try to do things if it doesn’t fit with what the background with whatever your basis is for your scheme. I thought the key in that game was Oregon State’s front did a really good job of tackling when they had opportunities to make plays and that’s what you have to do because if not, he will take a 2-yard loss and make it an 80-yard touchdown.”
On UCLA’s Talent
“UCLA has some good talent, they really do. I think it is funny; the first question was about their running game, but to me when you talk about UCLA, you have to talk about their defense. What they have done from a defensive standpoint, [I] worked with [defensive coordinator] Lou Spanos at Washington (NFL), Lou has done a great job of installing a 3-4 there… They have done a good job of taking some of their talent at other positions and moving them, like Anthony Barr was a tailback, real talented kid, and now they moved him to outside linebacker, and I believe he might be leading them in sacks, and it looks that way when you are watching tape. As an outside linebacker, Datone Jones, and Cassius Marsh up front, with other guys they rotate in and do a very good job. They are very solid up front, the seven and the back end you have to start with [Tevin] McDonald, he is the kind of guy that gets it all going back there at safety. UCLA, it’s about their defense, their defense creates a lot of opportunities for their offense. So our offense has to do a good job of converting third downs and when we get opportunities to get points, you are getting touchdowns not field goals.”
On Tony Jones And CU’s Running Game
“It’s good to have Tony [Jones] back. He got hurt early in CSU, so he is still not 100 percent back but he is close. It’s funny, we were walking up the hill yesterday after practice and I said, ‘Well at least you made me look good because everyone is always asking me what is the difference between you and Rodney Steward and I said, ‘well you had that long speed, you could hit that home run,’ so I am glad you didn’t get caught on that.’ He adds another dimension to us, he can get on the edge and if he gets a crease, he is the guy that has the ability to go the distance. It is great having him back, he is a good complement with Christian [Powell]. Josh Ford got some carries in there, at least one carry, and he did something with his. It’s a little bit of running back by committee right now, but they all bring a different skill set in. The main thing is they are all physical runners and I think [offensive coordinator and running backs coach] Eric [Bieniemy] has done a good job in that room, they pull for each other. They add a different element when each guy is in the game, it is good to have fresh legs in there when you are running the football like we are trying to get done.”
On Believing In QB Jordan Webb
“I don’t know if he had to lead us to a win to get that, but I think that just adds to his package. He has that swagger about him in practice, he had that in training camp whether we were doing a two minute drill, a third down drill, whatever it was, he had that swagger and carried himself in that manner. It’s great for him to get that and get the award (Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week0 because he took a couple shots in that game and for him to bounce back and really only miss one play because of some of the hits he was taking. That talks about his toughness but more his attitude about being out there and wanting to lead the team to victory.”
On QB Jordan Webb Playing Every Snap Versus UCLA
“We will keep doing it, and if it’s a situation where we feel like we can get [quarterback] Connor [Wood] some reps, we will always be looking for that, in the right situation. It has to be the right situation or scenario to do that with Connor. But there is no doubt he (Jordan Webb) is the undisputed leader on the team and the number one quarterback.”
On Moving Paul Vigo To Linebacker
“The nature of the offenses that we are going to see; UCLA to a certain extent, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, you need those hybrid type players. It was good to see Paul; he was our defensive player of the game, he had nine tackles two TFL’s (tackles for a loss), PBU (pass break up), a forced fumble and then he played well on [special] teams before he knocked himself out. He will be fine though, so that is the good news. But that is what I expected out of Paul, to be able to match up, give us flexibility. He is a physical player, that has never been his issue. And same with Kyle [Washington], so moving him closer to the line of scrimmage-I know it is a little bit of an adjustment, they have made mistakes and they will continue to make mistakes as they continue to learn and get comfortable with the position. But they are starting to make plays for us and that’s what we need at that position.”
On The Team’s Mind Set Going Into Washington State
“There are a few things that happened. Between Monday and Tuesday practices, so between Monday after the six o’clock practice and between practices on Tuesday, I had a meeting with every player that was on the travel squad. I talked to them about a couple of things; I believe in them, and I told them why. The next thing I talked to them about was being in their situation as a player and as a coach before, and some of the things that allowed us to get out of it. I talked to them then about how we have to approach things from here on out. Another thing that was big for our players was; [Jamie] Guy and John Snelson, our two video guys, that got game balls for this, put together a video for us. Some former players were here, Chad [Brown], C.J. (Charles Johnson) were two of them, and they talked about what it meant to be a Buff, the legacy of this program, what it means when you are through being a Buff, how you look back on it. It was about a twenty minute video and we showed it Friday night, and that I think when that was all said and done, put it into perspective for them. It tied into them what I was talking about privately. I just think all of those factors combined with the fact; each week they went out and practiced hard and got after it, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; unfortunately their efforts and the way they were practicing wasn’t quite carrying over like you would like on Saturday. I think what you saw this week was it all coming together for them and it carrying over, I think those things were the biggest. They heard from Deon Figures, [Alfred] Williams, there were a lot of former players, Kordell [Stewart] is coming in, [Michael] Westbrook wants to talk with the guys. Them hearing from the former players about how they believe in them, it was impressive, the list of former players that called in either through me, Eric [Bieniemy], [defensive line coach and alum] Kanavis [McGhee], [linebackers coach and alum Brian] Cabral, whoever; calling in and letting those guys know they believe in them and they are behind them. That is what they needed to hear at that time and they responded.”
On Playing Psychologist
“That never stops. If I would have known that, I would have gotten my degree in psychology when I was here. You always have to play that role with your team. You have to have a good pulse on your team of where they are, when to be hard on them, when to love them and that doesn’t change just because you win a game.”
On Being Afraid Of His Team Quitting
“No, I never once felt like that was even on the Horizon. It is a special group of guys, it really is. These freshmen, every time they go out, it is their first time; that was their first conference road game. I remember my freshmen year as a player; just every time is just a new experience, a fresh experience. We have a lot of guys that, that is where their mindset is. And then we have so few seniors; when you look at it, juniors and seniors, there are probably nine kids in our two deep that are upperclassmen. I know how they want to finish their time here in Colorado, because of the nature of our two deep, that has never really been an issue because I know what those nine, ten guys are made of, I know what their mindset it; whether it is Paul Vigo, whether it is [Ray] Polk, even though he has been injured, Chidera [Uzo-Diribe], Will Pericak. Will Pericak has had a heck of a year so far; he has done a lot of really good things. Those guys aren’t going to let people quit on them.”
On Ugly Yards
“Yeah, part of that was due to some things we wanted our players to understand from an offensive standpoint. One of the things I talked to the players about in the meeting was about this thing called, ‘ugly yards,’ it was kind of a motto we had around here when we were struggling. Basically, it was about how to get four yards, every time you are up, and one of the things we did when we were in the huddle is, you always looked at the chains to see if you got your four yards and if you didn’t, you just tried to get four in that play and not do anything special. So that was part of the thing about huddling, just so that they could get together and be with each other; look in each other’s eyes, see what the chains are, ‘Did we do it?,’ if not let’s do it this play. It kind of helped us at the time for us, just focusing one play, just focus on the task at hand, and everything else will take care of everything else.”
On The No-Huddle
“It is still something we want to go to and still do. We will do it at different times in the game. I think if you look in the fourth quarter, we were in kind of that no-huddle pace and the guys communicated well and there was no panic, we didn’t have alignment issues. It is something that I still want us to be able to go to and grow to, and become more efficient at it, and do that as we continue to move forward.”
On Struggling To Put The Win Behind Them
“I thought practice was good yesterday, the energy and enthusiasm and all that. Don’t worry, we will be on them. Like I told them in the locker room; it is 24 hours and then we move on. They will be handled appropriately, along those lines.”
On The Younger Players
“They have been good. There are a lot of things; guys showing up on time for study tables, guys are going to class. Those are the things I think you look for as a coach at this level is; are they still doing the little things. Are they coming to the weight room on time, are they working out hard when they are in there, are they dressed like they are supposed to be dressed. The academic piece of it; are they doing what they are suppose to be doing academically. Those are the things to me that are red flags of giving up, of saying ‘Oh, well,’ and those things have never dipped. We have had great class attendance; we have had effort on that side of the program, academics and same within the weight room, and then seeing what they are doing when they get on the field. I am not worried; they are going to respond how they are going to respond. Whatever happens Saturday, it’s not going to have, what happened last week is not really going to have a bearing on it, it’s going to be just another step in our process with these kids, and moving forward. We haven’t won a home game yet, there is a lot out there for them to go out and get.”
On Eric Bieniemy On The Sideline
“It was good to have him down there, obviously keeping the offense involved in the game when the defense is out there. I didn’t really pay attention to all that stuff because I am in a whole different mindset, a whole different mode. That is probably something you would have to ask the players; what affect that had on them. I know the running backs didn’t like it. We all know what Eric is about; with his energy, with his excitability as excitable as he gets, and it is contagious and I thought our sideline was great. I thought there was a tremendous team effort, offense pulling for the defense, defense pulling for the offense. We get a penalty on the touchdown, they called it on Josh Ford, it didn’t bother me; but the funny thing to me was, Parker Orms was the first one down there. Parker was also the first one to get back there before Josh, so Josh gets the penalty. But just seeing that excitement that guys were pulling for each other and they were that into the game and were that aware of what was going on, it was great. That locker room, that team was tremendous. We took that next step of being a team and what it is like; when you are young, you have to show guys kind of how you have to do it, so that excitement, that enthusiasm has to come from us as coaches too. So having Eric down there is a plus because that is another guy down there that will help them with that process, and then that will become natural for them.”
On Being A Part Of A Big Turnaround In Two Weeks
“I can’t say that I have, where it has been as bad as it was the week before. It is never as bad, and it’s never as good, I know scores can say differently. They hit us perfectly in Fresno, a lot of one play touchdown drives and when that happens, it makes it really difficult for you. I thought last week our guys never blinked, they did everything we asked them to do, and the resolve they had; I talked about that last Tuesday about the resolve of this team. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is just something about this group of guys that they really do believe and they really are trying to do it. If you have that, eventually it will happen for them. So we will see, there are a lot of games left, a lot of other things coming up. It will be great when we get some guys back; [Ray] Polk, [Doug] Rippy, Gus Handler, you start getting some key pieces back that will also help too.”
On The Biggest Benefit From Saturday’s Win
“I think the biggest thing coming out of that win was a few things. One was to win in that manner was important, and doing it on the road is important. You guys know the history of playing outside of Folsom, and that was a huge step to go and come from behind like we did on the road. We can’t talk about doing great things until we can prove we can win on the road, that will be an experience that all these young kids; when you look at the Utah game, how many kids were there; half of our team was eating Thanksgiving dinner, they weren’t even there. So for them to get their experience at that is big. The other thing that, that win does, it springs them forward and gives them confidence, and it helps validate the things we have been doing with them and asking them to do. There are a lot of demands put on them, and to put those demands on them and have nothing to show for it can be demoralizing. They have been good at being disappointed, but not discouraged, because discouragement leads to failure, discouragement leads to quitting, discouragement leads to a lot of bad things. Disappointment, handled right, can be fuel to use to get better, the fuel to work harder, and that is what they have done. Winning that game and in the manner we did, also teaches them how hard it is to win. It is hard to win, because there are things that happen that are not in your control and your ability to let that go and focus on the next play is huge. You are going to get calls missed on both sides, are you going to let that effect you for a whole other series. Kenneth Crawly, the kid scrambled looks over the wrong shoulder and the ball is over the other one, touchdown; opening drive, what are you going to do? Then they come back and get another one on you, what are you going to do? Then he has a couple key pass break ups, has some good tackles, he comes up and supports the run well on the fumble recovery; it is him hustling for the ball that kept it alive so that Terrell [Smith] could get it (the fumble recovery). The kid didn’t quit, him understanding how important that is and those are the differences of us winning and losing, that kind of effort. It is huge for us to win it in that manner, it really is. If we would have won it any other way, I don’t know if we would have gained everything that we did gain out of it by doing it the way we did.”
On Concerns On The Kicking Team
“Well going for it on a fourth, it didn’t have anything to do with Will [Oliver] missing it (an earlier field goal). Let’s just say that I had a nice conversation with the two of those guys (also punter Darragh O’Neill) yesterday, so we will see.”
On UCLA QB Brett Hundley
“Great kid, big kid, athletic, can run, and can throw it. He can throw the deep ball, he likes to throw it to Shaquelle Evans, No. 1. They have very capable receivers; Jerry Johnson, Jerry Rice, Jr., and then Joseph Fauria is a big target. He can throw it and he can run it, so when you have a duel threat quarterback like that, you have to be very assignment conscience with what you do. When you are pass rushing him, and he is in the pocket, you have to be in your pass rush lanes because he will pull it down if you have him covered, and 20 yards later, there he is. Brett is getting better each game, this is going to be his fifth game, and each game you can see him gaining more confidence and getting better just like I see it in our younger players, their first time playing. It is good to see him doing well, he is a great kid; I know him a little bit and his father, I just don’t want him to have success this week and then he can pick it back up.”
On If He Recruited Hundley
“No, I didn’t recruit him. Just because of my son going there, going out and seeing him, you see a lot of kids and visit with them. ”
On Former UCLA Coach Rich Neuheisel’s Excitement In Hundley
“Well, Rick felt like he was going to be the quarterback of the future, and there is no doubt about it, and he is the guy that could help them win a Pac-12 Championship. He is a heck of a player, he is going to be really good before it is all said and done.”
On If He’s Been Surprised By Any Other Teams In The Conference
“I really haven’t watched anyone play. The thing that I kind of did see on the way home, on the plane ride, was it looks like Oregon has gotten faster, which is disappointing. I don’t know what [Oregon head coach] Chip [Kelly] gives it, but he has got them rolling. Obviously the big win that Stanford had, but I really haven’t had a chance to watch or see anyone. Generally what I do on Friday nights, I start watching film of our next opponent just so I can get ahead. I have been like that in the NFL and in college too. There are just not enough hours for us to get all the stuff done that you really want to get done, so to have felt like you have thoroughly known the opponent, I start that on Friday’s and if it is a late Saturday game, I will watch it Saturday morning too. Now that we are in conference play, I will get to see some of the other teams, but I really haven’t had a chance to pay attention. Just Oregon because it was on TV coming home on the plane.”
On The NFL Referees From Monday Night
“I saw three plays in the game, and that was one of them and I could not believe it. It is just crazy, it’s the best game out there, is the NFL. It’s the best league, it’s the best game going. I think what people will understand now whenever they do get it fixed is how good those guys are in the stripes. They are the easiest target, but those guys; they get it right a lot. I guess Baltimore had something against New England on the field goal and then I know about Kyle [Shanahan], and I guess [John] Fox and [Jack] Del Rio (got fines). We as coaches get on officials the right way and argue in the right way and when some of those names I just mentioned are being singled out because of officiating, sticking up for their team. As a coach, you want to stick up for your players and for your team, and I know they aren’t going to get everything right. There was some things missed in the [WSU] game and I talked to the official and he was great. He said, ‘Hey we have to be better,’ and I said, ‘I have to be better,’ and it’s okay, it’s just as long as he knows. And that is generally the relationships that coaches have with officials, it’s not an adverse relationship. When it starts seeping into the game like this and players are sure thinking about it and wondering about it, it is just too bad because to me, it is just the greatest game, greatest league going. They always talk about the integrity of the game, about gambling and it seems like this is affecting the integrity of the game now. Hopefully they get it fixed.”
On QB Jordan Webb Having Swagger
“Well, you know it’s kind of like, Ryan had asked me that something similar to that last week about when people are saying, ‘you can’t,’ what makes you think you can. I think a lot of it with Jordan was how he was raised, when you have a good support system, good coaches around you when your growing up and people always telling you can and helping you believe in yourself and helping you see the positives in some of the setbacks you have, that adds to it. There’s no way you can play on this level, whether you lose it or win it, there is no way you can play at this level if you don’t believe in yourself at the end of the day. We have some guys in the locker room that haven’t played a down, but they’re going in the Hall of Fame though if you ask them. And so it has to be in your DNA, in your makeup, for you to do it in spite of, and then you have to be able to block it out. You know when the same bad thing are said about you, you can’t listen, you can’t listen when good things are said about you, you got to be able to keep yourself in a certain mindset in the zone, so to speak, that your always pushing it trying to find a way to get better, not letting outside influences affect how you prepare. And he does a good job of that, he really does, I didn’t know of any of that stuff until you just told me, I just knew we were 0-3. I didn’t know about any of that other stuff, but that’s a testament to the kind of kid he is.”
On TE Nick Kasa’s Matchups Problems for Defenses
“You know me, I think any tight end creates a matchup problem for the defense. You know Nick, it was good for that to happen to him because he’s really a freshman, he’s played five games as a tight end, and there’s a lot of nuances that go on with that position from blocking and running routes and finding the soft spot, you know earlier in the game he was open and Jordan threw him the ball but he wasn’t looking, and if Nick had played two or three years at the position, he would have seen it and caught the ball gone on, so he’s done a really great job at working hard and not making the same mistake twice. He’s a big kid that can run, he’s a big body, and I think as you see guys on Sunday, using their tight ends, the big tight ends, they create problems because if you put a guy that’s big enough to matchup, in cover you might be able to run as well, and then with his speed getting down the field or getting behind you is a real possibility, and so then you put someone that can run with him, but then you’re not quite as good at the point of attack and the passing and the run game. He can be a match up problem and I’m glad that we have him. Like I said, he gets better every week, he does, he makes his share of mistakes. The thing I love about Nick, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice and as a coach that’s really what you love, because it’s so important to them, he’s a prideful guy, he wants to do it right and I look for him to continue to have more impact on the games. You know that pass he caught was similar to the one he misjudged against Sac State. You know he ran with his arms up and all that, this time he kept running through it, just the little things like that he keeps getting better at.”
On DL Will Pericak Having a Good Year
“Will, he did a great job a lot of times we dropped nine, just to clog up some passing lanes. The reason we’re doing that was because Will, Chidera [Uzo-Diribe], Kirk Poston, were doing a great job when they were the two man rush of collapsing the pocket, making a move, getting pressure on the quarterback. We asked Will to do some different things this year, not just play inside but play outside, he’s done a real good job of that. You know he’s a guy that’s going to play on Sunday and he may have to play on the edge, in a 3-4 front or he can play inside on an even front. The best example I can say for Will is you know after we gave up that first touchdown against CSU, it could have been easy to be demoralized, they line to kick their extra point and he comes through and blocks it, and he plays every play like this is the one play that is going decide the game, he chases the ball and runs to it. You never question his effort and he’s a smart player on top of it. He has been very productive, he’s been very disruptive, you know sometimes numbers can be deceiving for defensive linemen because you look at tackles and sack and all that, but to me, it’s about being disruptive in the run game it’s about penetration, it’s about knocking the quarterback down, making him move, doing all those things and Will has done that consistently in every game, and that’s what I mean by he’s having a heck of a year. He’s playing very well and he does a good job with the young guys up front, getting them to follow him.”
Inspirational video to be shown Thursday during Parade of Buffs
In case you missed it, last week the CU video staff put together a video of former players, talking about what it meant to be a Buff. It was shown to the team Friday night before the Washington State game, and many players said after the game that the video helped inspire the team to victory. The entire video will be shown at the Parade of Buffs Thursday night, but here is the contribution from former Buff Charles Johnson. CJ took over at quarterback in the 1991 Orange Bowl after Darian Hagan was injured, leading the Buffs to a 10-9 victory and a national championship:
And here is the video of the Buffs singing the fight song after the victory in Pullman …
Parade of Buffs picking up steam
What a difference a week – and a victory – can make.
What a week ago was looking to be as exciting as a funeral procession is now looking like a great event. The Parade of Buffs, a FREE Shoulder-to-Shoulder rally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 27 at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, is picking up steam with a ton of new commitments from former Buffs from all sports, including Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook, two of the key players of the best college football play of all time.
Stewart and Westbrook will both be part of the activities as details about player commitments are still being gathered. Along with the QB and WR from the Miracle In Michigan, previously announced Bill McCartney and Matt Russell (as well as his wife, Sonja Russell, who played volleyball for the Buffs), other commitments include men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle, Olympian Emma Coburn and a ton of former greats including Cliff Meely, Cliff Branch, Bridget Turner, Alfred Williams and many more.
Registration form for the free event can be found here.
Notes of Note from Washington State game
Sifting through the post-game stats sheet after a loss is tough. Usually there are very few positive stats (despite Dave Plati’s best efforts), but I still go through them – for posterity, not pleasure. After a win, though, reading through the stats sheet is much more enjoyable.
Some interesting notes from the Washington State game:
– Time spent in lead: Washington State, 49:05; Colorado, nine seconds;
– Colorado had four fourth quarter drives, resulting in three touchdowns. Average starting position: Colorado 16 yard line;
– Washington State had four fourth quarter drives, resulting in one field goal. Average starting position: Washington State 42 yard line;
– For the game, CU’s average starting position was the Buff 26 yard line … 11 yards worse than WSU, and that number includes a drive that started at the Cougar one yard line!;
– Josh Ford was the flavor of the week at running back after his late efforts in the Fresno State game. Against Washington State, Ford had one carry for seven yards;
– The Buffs’ 17-point comeback tied for the fourth largest in school history. It also represented the largest ever fourth quarter comeback on the road ever;
– After posting ten first downs against Fresno State, the Buffs posted eight first downs against Washington State … in the first quarter;
– Colorado had a double-double 100-yard performers. Tony Jones went for 105-yards on only four carries, with Nelson Spruce collecting eight catches for 103 yards. The double-double was the 33rd in Buff history, and the first since Rodney Stewart (181 yards rushing) and Toney Clemons (115 yards receiving) pulled the trick against Arizona last November;
– Colorado had lost four straight league openers prior to the victory over Washington State. Overall, CU is now 79-38-2 in conference openers all-time; and
– The last time Colorado won a game by a single point, it was by the identical 35-34 score, coming against Texas A&M in 2009.
Safety Ray Polk (ankle), middle linebacker Doug Rippy (knee), center Gus Handler (ankle) and quarterback Connor Wood (sternum) did not play at WSU. Embree said the status of Polk, Rippy and Handler would be determined later in the week, but that he expects Wood to return as Jordan Webb’s backup this week.
The only new reported injuries were to linebacker Paul Vigo (stinger; concussion) and to defensive tackle Josh Tupou. Both are listed as day-to-day for UCLA, with an update expected mid-week.
Buff quarterback named Pac-12 Offensive Player-of-the-Week
Colorado junior quarterback Jordan Webb would be forgiven if he texted to the Buff Nation, “So, whadda ya’ think of me now?”.
A week after being pulled for much of the game in an embarrassing loss to Fresno State, Webb has been named the Pac-12 Offensive Player-of-the-Week.
From cubuffs.com … Junior quarterback Jordan Webbwas named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in the University of Colorado’s 35-34 come-from-behind win at Washington State this past Saturday.
The Union, Mo., native completed 29 of his 42 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores in the contest as well. His second rushing touchdown came with nine seconds left on a fourth-and-goal from the WSU 4-yard line, tying the contest momentarily at 34 before placekicker Will Oliver knocked through the PAT to score the Buffaloes’ winning point.
On that play, Webb had the option of calling his own number or throwing a pass depending on how the defense set up. He saw a lack of defenders up the middle and was able to race into the end zone untouched on a quarterback draw. His first rushing touchdown was a 1-yard run in the third quarter following a Washington State turnover.
Webb’s two passing touchdowns were a 16-yard connection to freshman wide receiver Nelson Spruce in the first quarter (tying the contest at seven) and a 70-yard strike to senior tight end Nick Kasa in the fourth quarter (cutting the WSU lead to 31-21).
He finished with a 149.0 passer rating and earned 19 total first downs-16 passing and three rushing-and helped lead an offense that picked up 255 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
This is Colorado’s first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor of the season and fourth overall as Webb joins Paul Richardson (Sept. 10, 2011 vs. California), Travis Sandersfeld (Nov. 12, 2011 vs. Arizona) and Jon Major (Nov. 25, 2011 at Utah) as Buffs who have earned the award.
The conference also named Oregon linebacker Jordan Clay defensive player of the week and Oregon State punter Keith Kostol special teams player of the week. Clay had 13 tackles, two for a loss, and a sack in the Ducks’ 49-0 win over No. 22 Arizona, while Kostol averaged 43.9 yards per punt in his second career game and placed four balls inside the 20-yard line in OSU’s victory over No. 19 UCLA.
Also on Monday, Webb was nominated for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Pac-12 Player of the Week Award.