Colorado Daily – Colorado State
Latest ticket sale numbers
Adam at BuffStampede.com got these latest numbers
According to CU ticker manager Kevin Fenton:
As of 5 p.m. Saturday, CU had sold/moved 32,319 tickets, including 19,880 season and 7,248 student “ducats.” When all was said and done last year, CU
accounted for 35,406 tickets, so that number is attainable with a good walk-up (and continued online purchases) Sunday.
CSU head coach: Ram offensive line “can take over a game if needed”
From CUBuffs.com … For any defense in any football game, three words stand out as the preparations unfold: Stop the run. As Colorado prepares for its 2013 opener against Colorado State and the launch of the Mike MacIntytre Era, those words never have been weightier.
A brief look back before going forward: In 2012, the line of scrimmage resembled a playground for CU opponents. The Buffs surrendered almost six yards (5.92) per carry and 226.0 a game, with both of those statistics last in the Pac-12 Conference in CU’s 1-11 nightmare.
Meanwhile, the Rams averaged 3.9 yards per rush and 128.8 a game in 2012. But CSU found its legs in the final half of the season, averaging 189.3 yards on the ground in the final five games and winning three of those en route to a 4-8 finish.
And Rams fans take heart in this: Of CSU’s nine returning offensive starters, five are offensive linemen who opened in the majority of last season’s games. Four of the five are seniors, including honors candidate Weston Richburg (center), and the fifth returnee is a junior.
CSU coach Jim McElwain told reporters this week that his O-line’s experience and mental makeup has brought it to “the point where they can take over a game if needed. That’s a really important thing to have in your mind.”
That’s the mental challenge for the Buffs on Sunday afternoon in Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The physical challenge for CU’s slimmed D-line is combating a CSU O-line that averages 6-4, 303 pounds.
“They had a good offensive line last year and they’ve got everybody back,” said Buffs defensive coordinator Kent Baer, whose 2012 San Jose State defense limited CSU to 89 rushing yards in a 40-20 Spartans win in the season’s third game.
Baer hedged on saying the Rams’ running game is the team’s 2013 offensive strength: “I don’t know if I’d say that . . . obviously we’ve got to defend the run; we’ve got to get lined up and do that. But they do a great job of scheming the passing game. (Dave) Baldwin (offensive coordinator) is a good coach. They do a great job.”
Since last spring and throughout August camp, Baer and his defensive coaches have emphasized better tackling – a must in slowing a ground game. Baer said he has seen improvement, but added, “We need to tackle somebody else, but I do think we’re getting better.”
Coloradoan: CSU has a head start on rebuilding process
From the Coloradoan … The football coaches at the two largest universities in the state have a lot more in common than their nickname, “Coach Mac” and a season-opening game against one another at 4 p.m. Sunday on the state’s biggest stage, the 76,125-seat Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High in Denver.
CSU’s Jim McElwain and the University of Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre are both trying to rebuild once-proud college football programs from the bottom up. They emphasize many of the same things — building a family atmosphere so that teammates know and care for another as if they were brothers, emphasizing an attention to detail in everything that everyone associated with the program does, and focusing not on the long-term goal of winning conference championships and playing in bowl games but on simply getting better on every play, in every practice and every game.
There are numerous parallels in the rebuilding processes both have undertaken.
But CSU’s Jim McElwain has a one-year headstart on the University of Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre. Colorado State University’s players have had one full season and two offseasons to learn the offensive and defensive schemes of McElwain and his coaching staff and, even more important, the steps that he believes each of them must take to have the Rams competing for the Mountain West Conference titles, bowl berths and Top 25 rankings that were almost taken for granted 10-15 years ago under former coach Sonny Lubick.
McElwain’s never been a head coach before, but he’s been part of many successful programs, including a four-year run and two national championships as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama. Players believe McElwain can take them where they want to go.
“I feel a lot different (this year),” said tight end Kivon Cartwright, one of 14 returning starters from a CSU team that went 4-8 in McElwain’s first season. “… We know what to expect, we know how the environment is, we know what it takes to win. … We worked a lot harder, the chemistry’s a lot better and the whole scheme and everything, we just know it a lot better, because we’ve already been through it.”
Key matchup – Colorado offensive line v. Colorado State defensive line
One of the matchups which will dictate the result of the 2013 Rocky Mountain Showdown is that between CU’s rearranged offensive line vs. CSU’s reformulated defensive line.
The questions for Buff fans are well known:
– Will Jack Harris successfully make the permanent transition from guard to tackle?;
– Will Stephane Nembot, in only his second year as an offensive lineman, be able to consistently protect Connor Wood’s blindside?;
– Will Daniel Munyer, who fractured a fibula in March, and who only last week began practicing full-time, be able to make a smooth transition back into a starting role?;
– Will offensive line coach Gary Bernardi be able to find the right combination of interior linemen, so that the Buffs can improve upon the dismal rushing numbers of the 2012 Rocky Mountain Showdown (29 rushes for 58 yards, a clean 2.0 yards per carry)?
For Colorado State, there are questions along the defensive line, which has had to be rebuilt after losing most of its lineup to graduation.
From the Loveland Reporter-Herald … During spring and fall camp, every deficiency was broken down for the Colorado State football team. Somewhere near the top of that to-do list, the words “improved pass rush” could be found.
In 2012, Colorado State had just 20 sacks, 7.5 of which came from redshirt freshman linebacker Cory James.
And of those sacks, only 4.5 came from defensive linemen. But instead of pointing fingers at one unit or another, the idea of generating a more productive pass rush had to come from a team approach, linebackers coach Tim Skipper said.
“I hope it’s a lot better. Pass rush, this day and age with all the passing offense is huge,” Skipper said. “A lot of people look at it as just the D-linemen. Well, I don’t see it that way. I see it as all 11 guys getting to the quarterback, however we want to schematically do it. It’s all of us collectively having to get pressure on him. You might get coverage sacks. It’s a full package. That’s our job, to get better in all phases of that.”
Improved numbers along the defensive front was the first step, and may just open pathways for all involved. As fall camp progressed, so did the play, where head coach Jim McElwain pointed out the team now has options.
The thought process is simple: With more available defensive linemen, the Rams have more players to rotate at the position. More rotations means fresher legs, which leads to more productive play against the run and making a push toward the quarterback.
“It all ties in,” McElwain said. “When you start pressuring a bunch, you’re putting your guys on the back end on islands, so you have to feel really good about that. Then when you don’t, now it’s really telling those D-linemen they better get some pressure on their own. So there’s a fine line there to how much you want to expose. I think we’re better because we’ll be fresher up front and be able to rush the passer.”
That should also allow the linebackers to more freely do their jobs. Shaquil Barrett was often asked to help out up front, taking away from his ability to put on a pass rush. Skipper said it was a safe bet to expect Barrett to produce more than the year before.
“Shaq’s the hybrid, and he can go anywhere,” Skipper said. “He has the body structure where he can do down or he can stand up. He’s got what you look for, because you want to be able to do multiple things so the offense can’t just say he does this. Shaq, you’re going to see all over the place.”
And, with the addition of Joey Porter to the staff, the linebackers have a few more tricks. Being able to learn the techniques Porter used in his All-Pro career have been part of the fun of camp for the linebackers.
“He’s given us some moves, things he did back in the day and in the NFL,” said James. “He’s given us that mentality to go hard every play and get the quarterback, get some sacks.”
The Rams would like to see the improvement play out Sunday in the Rocky Mountain Showdown against Colorado. With Connor Wood making his second career start for the Buffs, Colorado State would like to make the junior transfer from Texas as unsettled as possible. In his first start at CU, Wood was just 3-of-6 for 11 yards with two interceptions.
Should the Rams generate the type of pass rush they want, they’ll hope it isn’t just a teaser. The Rams’ best single-game sack total came against the Buffs last year, five in all. However it plays out, the players feel they’re improved.
“I feel like we are. It’s just that we keep working at it,” James said. “We’re growing from last year and we’re more experienced in it. I feel like it’s been more comfortable. We prepared.”
…. Either the CU offensive line or the CSU defensive line will come away from Sunday’s game with a positive outlook for the 2013 season.
We’ll just have to wait and see which unit that turns out to be …
Colorado over 30,000 in ticket sales for Rocky Mountain Showdown
From Dave Plati, CU SID …
1) Rocky Mountain Showdown … As of 5 p.m. Friday, CU has sold 31,515 tickets, which includes 6,605 student tickets (at last count, CSU was reporting around 23,000 tickets sold, with 9,000 student tickets).
2) Defensive Line Weight Loss Challenge … The 10 players the coaches wanted to slim down on the defensive front dropped 198 pounds since the challenge began after spring practice. Josh Tupou (37.5 pounds down, weighs 302.5) was the overall champion, followed by Justin Solis (26, 302.5), Kirk Poston (23, 247), Nate Bonsu (23, 278.5) and Juda Parker (20, 247).
Fall Camp Video
From CU Video … Mac: “We talked about the dog days. Only you know if you are a man or a dog … It’s game week. Stay in tuned, help each other out, motivate each other. Don’t let anybody drag. We’re all in this together”.
Colorado/Colorado State tidbits worth knowing
– Sunday will mark the 13th Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver. Colorado leads the series in Denver, 7-5.
– Two streaks which need to be ended … Colorado didn’t intercept a pass in the last eight games of the 2012 season, with the Buffs ending the year with only three interceptions as a team. Not coincidentally, Colorado, enters the 2013 season on an eight game losing streak, the longest such streak carried over into a new season in school history (the longest streak previously was six games)
– After playing Colorado State (4-8 in 2012) every remaining opponent CU faces in September and October won at least eight games last season.
– Colorado is 76-42-5 in season openers, with a 6-4-1 record in openers played on a neutral field. Colorado has opened at home only four times since 1997.
– When CU opens with a win, 78.9% of the time (60 of 76), the Buffs have finished with a winning record. Conversely, when CU opens with a loss, the Buffs are three under .500, posting winning seasons 19 times, and losing seasons 22 times (including the last two seasons).
– After going 10-0-1 in season openers between 1988 and 1998, the Buffs have gone 6-8 in the first game of the season.
– Stat worth quoting … Colorado has won 23 of its last 24 openers when scoring first. The lone exception was the 2006 opener against Montana State, (a game which for some reason keeps coming back to haunt me),
– In the last seven season openers – despite posting a 3-4 record in those games – Colorado is 20-of-21 in the red zone (13 touchdowns; seven field goals) in those games. The lone exception came last season (sorry for the reminder) when CU went for a touchdown on fourth down at the goal line, with a pass falling incomplete.
– Does the first play from scrimmage in a new era give you a clue as to the future? … You be the judge. In Jon Embree’s debut, against Hawai’i in 2010, the first play of the season went for a loss of a yard, as the snap from center was fumbled. You could certainly argue that the botched snap was a portend of things to come … In Dan Hawkins’ first game, though, the first play from scrimmage against Montana State went for 42 yards, the longest such play for the Buffs on a first snap since at least 1950. The James Cox to Patrick Williams connection, though, did not lead to a touchdown, but a field goal. It also became the only time in the last 24 openers in which CU scored first but did not win the opener – so maybe it was an indicator of things to come …
Mac going for 12-0
From the Daily Camera … Mike MacIntyre isn’t making any bold predictions.
Colorado’s new head football coach hasn’t claimed his team can win 10 games this year. He hasn’t guaranteed a bowl game appearance.
At Thursday’s annual kickoff luncheon at Balch Fieldhouse, however, MacIntyre made it clear the Buffaloes will do everything in their power to achieve those things.
Speaking to boosters, administrators, fellow coaches, CU athletes and community members, MacIntyre said the Buffs’ expectations are high this season. The Buffs open the season at 4 p.m. Sunday against Colorado State at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“When I talked to (CU president) Bruce Benson, I asked him one question on the interview,” MacIntyre said. “I asked Bruce, ‘Bruce, what do you expect out of the football program?’ I asked (chancellor Phil DiStefano) the same thing. They said, ’12-0. Win them all.’
“I said, ‘OK, that’s what I wanted to hear.’ ”
Coming off a 1-11 season, it’s not likely the Buffs can make that quantum leap to 12-0 this season. But, MacIntyre said that’s the mindset CU has to have as it goes forward.
“They understand you’ve got to build it, but that should be your goal,” he said. “That’s what we’re going for.”
Mac happy with relative health of the Buffs
From CUBuffs.com … Football in August is frequently highlighted by devastating injuries that can hinder a team’s season even before it begins. Fortunately, after a month of grinding through lengthy and arduous practice sessions, first-year Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre can safely say he has no such apprehensions.
“I feel good about the health of our team,” MacIntyre said at the conclusion of Thursday morning’s practice. “Of course anybody you lose you don’t want to lose, but we didn’t have any knees or really bad hamstrings that are lingering or anything like that, so I feel good about the health of our team to this point.”
Probably the team’s most significant injury in camp was to senior kicker Justin Castor, who suffered an upper leg injury that will sideline him for the season and make junior Will Oliver pull double duty on kickoffs and placement kicks. Other than Castor, no other player suffered a season-ending camp injury.
Aside from the anxiety filled uncertainties about a team’s physical state, some coaches tend to agonize just as much about whether or not his players are mentally adept enough to handle their first taste of game action after a long off season. Such deliberation becomes even more concerning in relation to freshmen who may not know what to except at the college level. Although MacIntyre feels he has adequately prepared his team for those mental demands he knows there is real no way to know for sure how a player will respond until he actually finds himself in that moment.
“I feel great about (our poise right now),” he said. “You never know until the game starts and the thing that you hope is that you fight through is the anxiousness and the composure in the game. So hopefully we warm them up right and put them through everything so they’ll be able to handle that. But there’s always that in the first game or two so we just have to fight through that. Other teams will have it, too. It’s just the way it is.”
Connor Wood on adversity: “Have a mind like a river”
From CUBuffs.com …
On Being Named The Starter At Quarterback “It’s a great feeling you know. To finally get that official stamp and title as a starting quarterback is always a great feeling. My attitude all the way through this off-season has been ‘I’m going to be the guy’ and to have the attitude walking into Dal Ward every day. So coming from the Utah game all the way until now, it’s been a long journey for all of us as a team and I’m really excited and really honored to be in this position.”
On Mindset This Year “Coach MacIntyre and coach Lindgren really speak confidence into us as quarterbacks. I mean really it’s the rest of the team and the different positions and for me personally I get a lot of encouragement from them. You see maybe a series of plays that doesn’t go well in practice then they’ll tell me what went wrong then encourage me and say ‘Go do your thing. You’re a good player just go play.’”
On Lingering Effects Of CSU Loss Last Year “I think the L. the Big L that’s been looming over our heads for almost a year now. That’s been the biggest thing that has been a big motivation for us this off-season, this summer when it’s been hot we think about “ok guys, CSU game is coming around the corner. Let’s work hard.’ That gives us an edge when times get tough during practice.”
On Adapting To Coach MacIntyre’s System “This summer was a great summer for me and I think the rest of the offense. We did these play alert practices I think two to three times a week and it was highly organized. We got a lot of stuff done. If you want to compare it to when we started in the spring till now, it’s night and day. I’m out there making calls and making protection calls and different run game adjustments very fast and more efficiently.”
On Hardest Part Of The Offense To Learn “Coach Lindgren, he lets the quarterbacks really sink their teeth into this offense slowly so there’s nothing that is really too complicated about what we do. As long as you study what we’re doing and in Dal Ward and at home you study your playbook it’s not a very complicated scheme as far as what we’re doing. So I’m out there doing less thinking and more playing.”
On Continuing To Improve “Just knowing every day and understanding that we have a lot of work to do. We went 1-11 last year and we have to make some strides to get to where we want to be and you just can’t take a day off, you know. You can’t say ‘Alright I’m the starting quarterback so I really don’t have to do much.’ It should be the opposite because now it’s my job to keep, you know. I mean look at last year. It was a quarterback circus and guys were going in and out and no one really solidified that spot. My job right now is to solidify my spot. We haven’t played a game yet. We haven’t played one down. So my job is to do the very best I can for this game and for the rest of the season.”
On Motivation “I don’t really operate with a chip on my shoulder. I’m very self-motivated. I pride myself in my motivation and my hard work. I try to keep a level head and not try to think about the competition or about this or that. Just about the job that I need to do. I think that gave me in trouble in the past sometimes. I was thinking about too much out there this and that. It’s all about X’s and O’s and all about ball getting from point A to point B and point B is that end zone.”
On How Offense is Progressing “We took it one step at a time through the fall camp and really a lot of the same plays we ran really in fall camp were stuff we ran in the spring so it’s carry over. The new guys coming in that’s where you see like ‘ok they’re kind of wide-eyed freshman’ but for the sophomores and the guys that have been here in the spring it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
On Paul Richardson “He’s a big X-factor for us. He’s got a lot of a speed he runs great routes and he’s an up and coming leader for us. He’s a captain so it’s great to have him back. He’s given me lots of options. He can split the defense and do a lot of great things and not only just Paul but we have a lot of other great receivers out there that I’ll be able to spread the ball around to and not just rely on number six.”
On Rivalry with CSU “I really didn’t know much about Colorado before I came here. This will be my third fall here and especially after last season, I understand the rivalry and how much this game means to the state and how much it means to both schools. I’m fired up for Sunday. It’s going to be a great game and I’m sure both teams are ready to go and will give their best out there no doubt.”
On Handling Adversity “Coach MacIntyre did a good job this year and during fall camp specifically of giving us surprise situations. We do a lot of two-minute drill for instance and like practicing different sudden changes. Like this guy went down or the defense intercepts the ball. We have to go out there. The offense has to go out there and make a play or capitalize off of a turnover. We’re trying to simulate these things in practice, you know. Like the ups and downs of a game because there’s definitely going to be that on Sunday. I think we’ll be more prepared for it and hopefully we’ll be able to capitalize on those opportunities.”
On Optimism This Year “I think with the new change of scenery with the coaches I think there’s a new sense of optimism but again every year is brand new. You’re trying to find out who you are as a team. First game you’re going to find out how tough you’re going to be. Like we said earlier about the ups and downs, you’re going to find out who you are as a team as a whole.”
On How Richardson’s Return Will Affect The Offense “Well once he came out for the spring, I think coach can testify, it’s a great thing to have him back. A kid with his speed and his talent I think he has more of a chip on his shoulder and he’s ready to prove some things because the media and different people hype him up and I think some of that stuff is well-deserved because he’s a great player but I think he’s ready to show it out on the field now. So you can see him. He does a great job during practice of motivating the guys and the different receivers. You could see him out there during the summer. He was taking control of that wide receiving corps, especially those young guys. He’s taken ownership of that position and it’s really, really great to see.”
On Having A True Freshman As the #2 Quarterback “I honestly don’t think about that. I think about just what I need to do out there. If it’s try to make a play then I try to make a play. I’m not trying to think about who’s behind me or any of that. Whether he’s a freshman or not. Again, the more that goes through a quarterback’s mind out there the worse he’s going to be. The less that goes through his mind as far getting into the zone and executing his plays and trying to make the offense the best that in can be, I think the better he will be.”
On Learning to Deal With Setbacks “I let the previous play linger in my head. I spoke about this to one of you the other day but Jeremy Bloom came out to speak to the entire student athlete population a couple days ago and one of the biggest words of advice he gave to us, I think he was speaking directly to the football team when he said this, but he said have a mind like a river. A fast moving river where nothing sticks. So if there’s a bad play happens boom it’s gone it’s out of your head and you’re on to the next play. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve been working on throughout this fall camp and this season. Just good paly or bad play, just have an even keel and be ready for the next play because that’s the most important play.”
Colorado State not looking to move RMS – “Let’s fix it”
From the Coloradoan … There won’t be a sellout crowd at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday to see the CSU football team take on the University of Colorado in the season-opening game for both schools.
There won’t be any of the $1 million paydays the game used to produce for the two schools, either.
That’s no reason, though, to jump ship and move the game back to the respective campuses, Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham said. Both school’s football programs have struggled in recent years, and interest in the game has waned as a result.
Denver Sports, in fact, couldn’t even get a title sponsor for this year’s “Rocky Mountain Showdown” to replace Cinch Jeans, when it’s two-year deal expired, said Justin Bresler, vice-president of marketing for Visit Denver.
Bresler wouldn’t say what title sponsorship cost but admitted it represented a “significant amount” of lost revenue for Denver Sports, which helps organize the event, and the two schools.
Both schools are falling far short of earning the kind of revenue this game used to produce. CSU had sold just 18,400 of its allotment of more than 30,000 tickets for this year’s game, and CU had sold 29,097 of its 39,000 allotment as of Tuesday afternoon, school spokesmen said.
… “You don’t make decisions to discontinue business activities on the back of down cycles and on the back of emotion, and right now we’re in that cycle,” Graham said. “So it’s tempting to just turn your back and walk away from a situation that’s not performing as effectively as it should be performing, vs. turning your attention to fixing it.
“So, let’s fix it.”
… Sigh …
Austin Ray leaves team
Redshirt freshman tight end Austin Ray has left the team and withdrawn from school. He’ll likely transfer after being fifth on depth chart.
Jordan Webb pleads guilty – to be sentenced September 6th
From the Daily Camera … Jordan Webb, a University of Colorado quarterback who, along with former CU offensive lineman Alex Lewis, was arrested in May after an altercation on University Hill that left an Air Force Academy cadet unconscious, pleaded guilty Wednesday to third-degree assault.
The misdemeanor is punishable by six to 24 months in jail and/or a fine of $500 to $5,000, according to the Colorado Revised Statutes.
Webb, 22, is scheduled to appear for a sentencing in the case at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 6.
Webb, a CU senior, tore a ligament in his knee during a football practice April 9 and is still rehabilitating following surgery. CU’s official athletic website notes he could return to the team early in the upcoming season, “but that is also dependent on a legal situation resolving itself.”
CUBuffs.com Preview Show
It’s about a half hour long, but there is some good stuff in there from Mark Johnson and B.G. Brooks
Mike MacIntyre press conference quotes
Opening remarks … “We’re excited about the game Sunday. It’s game week. It’s an exciting time. Our kids are excited about playing, and we’re pumped up about the game. It’s going to be a heckuva football game”.
On Colorado State … “We played Colorado State at San Jose State, we played them early in the year last year (and won 40-20), and of course I’ve watched every game of theirs a lot. I think that Jim McElwain has done a phenomenal job. They really improved as the year went on, and I thought that the last part of the season, they played really, really well. I was very impressed, he’s a heck of a coach. His offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin I know. He used to be the head coach at San Jose State. I think he’s a great offensive coordinator, a heckuva mind. On defense, they have co-defensive coordinators, Al and Marty. I thought that their defense has improved. They utilize their players well … When you play a team in an opening game, you have time to thoroughly watch every game they played, and really see how their team evolved, especially in a coach’s first year. So, we’ve got our work cut out for us, and it’s going to be a great game Sunday”.
On whether it helps that he had a team which played CSU last year … “I think that it helps, but it helps them also. (Offensive coordinator) Dave Baldwin was at Utah State before he went to Colorado State, so every year I’ve been a head coach, I’ve gone against Dave Baldwin, and he’s always done a great job. I think that (familiarity) helps both sides. I also think that both sides will come back with different wrinkles and different things they will come back with. They are a heckuva coaching staff.”
On the “rivalry” aspect of the game … “Opening game is always exciting. I don’t care who you are playing. And then add on top of that add in a rivalry game, at a neutral stadium, with half the stadium one color and half the stadium the other. I think that that just makes it unique. I also think its a 365-day game a year, that you are going to hear about it all the time”.
On adapting the new coaches to the CU personnel … “Any coach adapts his system to different strengths, so we’ve done that. I feel good about the players that we have here. They are buying into it. It’s our job as a coaching staff to get the right guys to the right place on defense. To make plays on special teams, you have to get the right guys in the right areas to make tackles. And on offense, to get the ball to the right guys so that they will be able to make plays. That is what we are working on as a staff. We are definitely feeling like the kids are beginning to understand what we are trying to do. But in a new system, you still don’t have everything in yet, by any stretch. Because you want to be able to execute, and get the snap count right, get lined up right, and do the little things you have to do to win”.
On first game anxiety as head coach at CU … “The first game jitters are the same, whenever you line up and play. Every year in college football, it’s a brand new team, really. You’re going to run out there with 18 and 19 year olds, so that is always exciting, so I think that makes it fun. So I am always a little anxious, but I love to see them play. You have done all this work, so I want to see them play, and they want to play – that’s the fun part of it.”
On being nervous about running out behind Ralphie for the first time … “I won’t be as nervous running out behind him (yes, he said “him”) as I will be running in front of Ralphie. You get the butterflies, you get the excitement. That’s one of the great things about coaching. That’s one of the great things about playing. You kind of feel alive for that moment, and it’s always a lot of fun”.
On the CU receivers, compared to the San Jose State receivers (the Spartans had three receivers go for over 100 yards – and four combined touchdowns – in the 40-20 win over CSU last season) … “I like our receivers, not just Paul (Richardson). I think Paul is a very good player, and he has done a good job for us, and has been a very good leader. But I think we have some other guys who can make plays, so we’ve got to find a way to get them the ball”.
On the progression of Connor Wood … “In the spring, I really didn’t see him get down on himself. Everybody was just learning everything. I think once the light bulb kind of came on, and he understood what we were doing, he took off. I think he did the same thing this fall”.
On what he learned about the team during fall camp … “I learned that every day they came to play. They came to meetings focused. They are on time for everything. They are showing you all the signs that it is very, very important to them. And they are showing the signs in their work ethic. We’ve pushed them extremely hard. I was especially glad for the hot weather. I love the hot weather. I think it makes them tougher. I think it makes you think when you are tired, with sweat running in your eyes, thinking, ‘I don’t want to be out here’, and you have to make a statement to yourself. I’ve seen that everyday this fall”.
On getting junior guard Daniel Munyer back into the rotation … “What we did is we limited his number of reps. So, he had 18 reps one day, then the last couple of days, he’s had a hundred reps. So we just kind of eased him in so it (his injured ankle) wouldn’t swell up. He took every rep in practice today, so he got hundreds and hundreds of reps today … He was able to be in our meetings, and the walk throughs, so he was able to stay on top of all that”.
On whether he would burn Sefo Liufau’s red-shirt if Connor Wood had to come out for only one play … “Yep … He’s good enough to be second team. I wouldn’t hesitate if (Wood’s) helmet came off (requiring him to come out for a play), to put him in the football game and go. Hopefully, nothing happens to Connor, but if it does, then I think Sefo is ready to go”.
On naming Wood as starter on the Monday before the game … “That’s just the way I felt I wanted to do it right now. I’ve done it different every year. As a coach, you have just got to do what you feel is best. There is no right or wrong. Everybody can look at one side or the other, it’s up to the coach, with his team. I really don’t think it matters either way, as long as you have a feel for your own team.”
OL Daniel Munyer- Ankle (Probable)
DB Yuri Wright- Concussion (Probable)
RB Josh Ford- Out 4-6 weeks (Underwent surgery on Aug. 19 to aid healing process on ankle)
QB Jordan Webb- Out 4-6 weeks (Return this season possible)
OL Jeromy Irwin- Out indefinitely (Broken foot suffered doing yard work at friends house on July 30th)
Out for the season:
K Justin Castor, DB Josh Moten, LB Tommy Papillion (Papillion was a senior walk-on, and has been named a Graduate Assistant)
Debate fodder – Colorado v. Colorado State
BuffStampede.com contributor 81435Buff found a great website, Winsipedia.com, which compares teams and their histories.
The Colorado/Colorado State matchup can be found here.
All-time series record: Colorado, 61-21-2 (reported incorrectly as 62-22-2)
All-time winning percentage: Colorado – 29th (out of 125); Colorado State 102nd
All-time wins: Colorado – 23rd (out of 125); Colorado State 92nd
Bowl appearances: Colorado 31st (out of 125); Colorado State 71st
Consensus All-Americans: Colorado 17th (out of 125); Colorado State 79th
NFL draft picks: Colorado 21st (out of 125); Colorado State 77th
Weeks spent in AP poll: Colorado 26th; (out of 125); Colorado State 78th
… Please feel free to share with your favorite CSU fan …
CSU won’t rule out using freshman quarterback
From the Coloradoan (including link to entire depth chart) … Could true freshman Nick Stevens be the starting quarterback for the CSU football team when it opens the season Sunday in Denver against the University of Colorado?
Coach Jim McElwain wouldn’t rule it out Monday, when he released a depth chart that listed the starting quarterback as Conner Smith “or” Garrett Grayson “or” Stevens. McElwain said he won’t choose the starter until after Thursday’s practice and that he might not tell the players themselves until they’re on the field Sunday warming up for the game.
Every time we put Nick in, the freshman kid, it’s like you go to film and say, “Whoa, that’s how you play the position,’ ” McElwain said at his first weekly news conference of the season.
McElwain said the young quarterback, who went 27-1 as a starter at Vista Murrieta High School in Murietta, Calif., has shown he has the physical ability, mental understanding and leadership ability to run Colorado State University’s offense. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder threw for 2,316 yards and 24 touchdowns as a high school senior, while running for another 661 yards and 11 touchdowns on 126 carries.
Stevens graduated from high school with a weighted 4.2 grade-point average and enough credits that he’s already listed as a sophomore academically in the online student directory. He’s majoring in business.
“The freshman kid is mature beyond his years,” McElwain said. “… He’s a guy that takes care of business. He’s a guy that perfects his craft on a daily basis. If he’s ready, he’ll go.”
Smith, a 6-5, 220-pounder from Richmond, Texas, had a strong final week of fall camp, McElwain said, to put himself back in the race after seemingly falling out of it in the first two weeks.
The Rams went 3-1 with Smith as the starting quarterback late last season after both Grayson and then-senior M.J. McPeek went down with injuries. He completed 80 of 126 passes for 1,022 yards and six touchdowns, with six interceptions.
Grayson, a 6-2, 220-pounder from Vancouver, Wash., started the first five games last fall before breaking his left collarbone while scrambling for a short gain in a loss at Air Force. He completed 78 of 138 passes for 946 yards and seven touchdowns, with three interceptions in the six games he played.
Vote for Ralphie!
ESPN SportsNation is running a poll, asking fans to vote for the best gameday tradition in college football. Voters get to rank fifteen different options, from the 12th man at Texas A&M to the singing of “Country Roads” at West Virginia games.
The running of Ralphie is part of the list, and, as of Monday night, is in first place by a wide margin!
Depth Chart released – Connor Wood named starting quarterback
The Colorado depth chart has been released, and can be found here.
From CUBuffs.com … At long last, Connor Wood has an offense to command. Of more importance, he’s never felt better about being in command.
An arduous and frequently frustrating journey that has taken him from Austin to Boulder and through three coaching staffs has culminated in what Wood has dreamt of all along: to enter a college football season as a starting quarterback.
The 6-4, 225-pound junior will open for Colorado on Sunday against rival Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. (CBS Sports Network) at Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Wood’s backup will be Sefo Liufau, a gifted true freshman who absorbed enough of CU’s pistol offense and made enough plays in August camp to ease past junior college transfer Jordan Gehrke and third-year sophomore Stevie Joe Dorman.
But the pistol is in Wood’s hands first, and he and his coaches believe he has the right feel for it.
“Since March it’s been a really, really good growing process for me – especially this summer,” Wood said. “It was a big time for me and my maturation in the offense. It served me well.”
“I’ve been pleased with his progress,” Wood’s position coach, offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, said. “Attending the Manning Academy in the summer was really big for him, being around some starters from around the country. You could tell his confidence was boosted from that. And being selected a captain by his teammates – that’s as big an honor as you can have, in my opinion. It shows the confidence this team has in him.”
A high school All-America selection in Houston (Second Baptist), Wood transferred from Texas to CU in 2011, sat out the mandatory transfer season and started one game (playing in seven) for the Buffs in 2012. His lone start – against Washington – wasn’t memorable: he attempted six passes, completed three for 11 yards, and threw two interceptions …
Gehrke (6-1, 190) said the biggest area of improvement for him must come in sharpening his timing with receivers: “Timing is the hurdle. It pays off in the long run when you don’t have to constantly look at your guys. You’re throwing to so many different receivers and you have to learn who can get out of breaks quicker, who takes a little more time. That just comes with time.”
Dorman (6-2, 215) said his biggest strides in August camp were in his accuracy: “I felt like I really improved a lot and had a good camp. From the spring until now, I’m way more comfortable with the offense. There’s not a big difference (in the pistol), but we have more wrinkles out of it. There’s a whole lot more diversity in having a back behind you instead on left or right side because you can run either way. I like it.”
Other Depth Chart notes of note
– Kicker Justin Castor, who was being used for kickoffs, and as a backup at kicker, is out for the season with a hip injury. Freshman Chris Graham will now backup Will Oliver at placekicker.
– The only other players already lost for the season due to injury are senior defensive back Josh Moten, out with an Achilles injury, and walk-on senior linebacker Tommy Papilion (knee).
– Other players on the injury list for the week include tailback Josh Ford (ankle), offensive lineman Jeromy Irwin (foot) and quarterback Jordan Webb (knee).
– The offense lists 12 possible starters on offense, including three wide receivers. Joining Paul Richardson and Nelson Spruce as a designated starter at wide receiver is junior D.D. Goodson.
– The interior line for Colorado State: center Gus Handler; guards Kaiwi Crabb and Daniel Munyer.
– Sophomore Christian Powell is the starter at running back, with his primary backup junior Tony Jones.
– Freshman Addison Gilliam held onto his starting position at linebacker, holding off junior Brady Daigh.
– The starting safeties will be junior Jared Bell (free) and senior Parker Orms (strong).
– The Buffs’ nickel back will be freshman Chidobe Awuzie, with sophomore Marques Mosley serving as the dime back.