… CU in a few minutes …
New defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot: “I’m about 50 percent fluent” in CU’s defense
From the Daily Camera … D.J. Eliot isn’t exactly trying to learn a whole new language, but it sometimes feels that way to Colorado’s new defensive coordinator.
Hired by CU last month, Eliot will employ the same 3-4 defensive scheme that the Buffaloes have used over the past two years.
It’s also the same scheme Eliot ran at Kentucky the past four years, but the terminology is much different.
CU, which begins spring practices on Wednesday, must replace eight senior starters from last year, as well as three assistant coaches. With all of that turnover, Eliot felt it would make the transition easier for the players if he adopted their terminology.
“Sometimes it’s been hard,” he said. “It’s kind of like learning a new language, but I think it’s easier to teach one guy than to teach 50. It’ll be fine. I’m already, I’d say, about 50 percent fluent. By the end of the spring, I expect to be 100 percent fluent.”
… CU in a few minutes …
College Football News … Colorado the No. 41 team in the nation
From College Football News … CU 2017 opponents … Texas State – No. 126 … California – No. 69 … Oregon State – No. 68 … Arizona – No. 60 … Colorado State – No. 57 … Utah – No. 47 … Arizona State – No. 42 … Still to come – UCLA; USC; Stanford; Washington (Northern Colorado from the FCS not ranked, so, if the College Football News is to be believed, Colorado will finish the 2017 regular season with an 8-4 record) …
Colorado Buffaloes Prespring Status
It was the biggest shocker of the 2016 season as Colorado went from Pac-12 doormat to the conference title game, but it all crashed with a thud. Forget for a moment that the Buffs only had a few nice wins and lost to USC, 10-4 was a special run considering how bad they’ve been since joining the conference. But they lost to Washington and Oklahoma State by a combined score of 79-18 to close out the year, couldn’t get the offense going against the better teams – except for, maybe, Washington State – and now have to prove it all over again.
QB Sefo Liufau might be gone, but most of the other key parts of the offense are back. Eight starters return on O, including almost everyone who did something meaningful for the passing game. However …
Colorado Buffaloes Biggest Issue
The defense that was so fantastic in the run to the Pac-12 South title has to all but start over. The defensive front three needs three new starters, two of the four starting linebackers are done, and three starters are gone in the secondary including star Tedric Thompson at one safety spot and both corners Chidobe Awizie and Ahkello Witherspoon. Eight of the top 12 tacklers, 11 of the 15 interceptions, and 25.5 of the 36 sacks have to be replaced.
Colorado Buffaloes Biggest Positive
286 of last year’s 289 receptions are back, including Shay Fields, Devin Ross, and everyone who caught more than one pass. This was a big play, efficient passing game that should be terrific again, going along with the returning 1,252 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground from Phillip Lindsay. It doesn’t help to lose Liufau, but Steven Montez occasionally filled in and was fine, hitting 59% of his passes with nine scores and just five picks.
Really, Why Are The Colorado Buffaloes Ranked Here?
That was great – now do it again. The offense should be able to hang around with just about anyone, but there are way, way too many key losses from the nation’s 19th-ranked defense to expect the same results. The D might not drop off the map to get back to 2014 and 2015 levels – the 2016 defense improved by over 100 yards from the one two years go – but it’s asking for way too much to be as good.
… CU in a few minutes …
Neill Woelk posts his ten priorities for CU heading into spring practices
From CUBuffs.com … It’s been less than two months since Mike MacIntyre‘s Colorado Buffaloes closed the 2016 season with the program’s first bowl game in nearly a decade.
It’s made for a short offseason as well as setting the stage for perhaps one of the more anticipated spring football sessions in years, one that will begin to answer a long list of questions.
Of course, the biggest question — how do the Buffs follow up their historic 2016 turnaround season? — won’t be answered until next fall.
But this year’s spring session, which begins next Wednesday and culminates with the March 18 Spring Game, should still begin to provide at least a good glimpse of what we can expect when the Buffs hit fall camp in preparation for the 2017 season.
There will be plenty of issues for the Buffs to address, beginning with replacing eight starters on a defense that finished 19th in the nation in yards allowed last year. (That starters number, though, is a bit misleading: while the Buffs lost eight defensive starters, they still return at least a half-dozen players with significant starting experience).
Here’s a look at 10 priorities for the Buffs as they begin their allowed 15 spring practice sessions next week:
… CU in a few minutes …
Regents approve contract for defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot
From the Daily Camera … Colorado regents voted Friday to approve the three-year contract for new football defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot.
Hired last month, Eliot is set to make $700,000 annually over the next three years, through Dec. 31, 2019, making him the highest paid assistant coach in school history.
Two regents were not present at Friday’s meetings, but the seven who were there voted unanimously to approve the contract.
Eliot’s contract will pay him a base salary of $500,000. In addition, Eliot will receive $200,000 in supplemental salary — $100,000 for Nike sponsorship support and $100,000 for community outreach.
As with other coaches, Eliot will receive $7,500 to use on a membership to the Boulder Country Club and receive $2,500 worth of Nike products. CU will reimburse Eliot, who came to CU after four years at Kentucky, for moving expenses (up to $20,000).
If Eliot were to leave the Buffs prior to Dec. 31 of this year, he would owe CU $600,000 in liquidated damages. He would owe $300,000 if he leaves before Dec. 31, 2018, and $150,000 before Dec. 31, 2019.
An additional $100,000 will be added to those liquidated damages if Eliot leaves CU to take a position at another Pac-12 school. That clause was not written in the contract of Eliot’s processor, Jim Leavitt, who left CU in December to take the defensive coordinator job at Pac-12 rival Oregon.
CU athletic director Rick George on fund-raising: “We’re not even close to being done”
From the Daily Camera … The Colorado athletic program is enjoying more fundraising success than ever, but athletic director Rick George made it clear Thursday that the finish line is nowhere in sight.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” George said during the first day of the board of regents meeting at the University Memorial Center. “We’re not even close to being done.”
CU recently reached a milestone, as it topped the $100 million mark in its “Drive for $105 million” campaign. As of Jan. 31, CU had raised $100,631,894 to go towards financing the recent facilities upgrades.
The Buffs have blown away their original goal of raising $20 million in endowments (they are just over $34 million), but well below their goal of $85 million in capital funds (currently at $66.6 million).
“We’ve got a lot more capital that we have to raise and that will be our focus in the next six to nine months,” George said.
The morning portion of Thursday’s meeting centered on athletics, where George presented an overall update of the department; senior associate athletic director Ceal Barry gave an overview of CU’s gender equity plan; and UC-Colorado Springs athletic director Nathan Gibson gave an update on his department.
… CU in a few minutes …
Four Buffs invited to NFL Combine – including CU history at Combine
From CUBuffs.com … Four Colorado Buffaloes – DB Chidobe Awuzie, QB Sefo Liufau, S Tedric Thompson and CB Ahkello Witherspoon – will be participating in the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, Feb. 28-March 6, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind.
The four Buffs in this year’s combine are the most since CU also sent four to participate back in 2006.
Having three defensive backs participate also marks the most since the 2000 NFL Combine when four Buffs went from the CU secondary – FS Rashidi Barnes, CB Ben Kelly, SS Erik Olson and CB Damon Wheeler.
Awuzie was mentioned by NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock as one of the top five special exceptions in this year’s draft. That is a category for players who are not ranked in the top five at their position, but have special value elsewhere (special teams, for example).
The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine is a vital event in the path to the draft. More than 300 prospects will participate in the 2017 combine in their quest to achieve their NFL dreams. It is essentially an intense job interview for hundreds of the very best football players with executives, coaches, scouts and doctors from all 32 NFL teams in advance of the NFL Draft.
CU has had 266 all-time draft picks in program history, which is the 22nd most of any program in the country and fourth most among Pac-12 schools.
Schedule for on-field workouts (timing, stations, skill drills):
Friday, March 3 – specialists, offensive linemen, running backs
Saturday, March 4 – quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends
Sunday, March 5 – defensive linemen and linebackers
Monday, March 6 – defensive backs
The 2017 NFL Draft is being held April 27-29.
Awuzie: Played in 47 games with 41 starts … two-time All-Pac-12 selection … finished his career with 273 tackles, 22nd all-time at Colorado, with his 226 unassisted tackles the seventh-highest figure … his 26 tackles for loss are the most by a defensive back at CU, as were his nine quarterback sacks … he also finished second in career third down stops (47) and fifth in pass deflections (35) … one of the most versatile players in recent memory at CU, as he played all four positions in the secondary: cornerback, free and strong safety and nickel as well as some outside linebacker.
Liufau: Played in 42 games with 39 starts, the most starts ever by a CU quarterback … is the owner of 98 school records (63 passing, 24 total offense and nine others … of those 98, he owns 84 outright and are tied for the other 14) … included among the top career marks he owns are total offensive yards (10,509), passing yards (9,568) and 300-yard passing games (10) in addition to numerous single-season and game records … he was just the second CU player to serve as a team captain for three seasons (doing so in 2014, ’15 and ’16), the first since Pat Carney did so over 120 years ago (1891-92-93) … was named the 2016 Polynesian College Football Player of the Year by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame (he is of Samoan ancestry).
Thompson: Played in 43 career games with 37 starts … finished his career with 13 interceptions, tied for fifth on CU’s all-time list as well as tied for the most over the last 23 seasons … concluded his career tied for sixth in pass deflections (34) and 38th in tackles with 246 (172 solo) … tied the CU single-season record with seven interceptions his senior year when he garnered second-team All-America honors from CBSSports.com and was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection of the Associated Press … led all FBS players in 2016 with 25 passes defended (18 pass breakups and seven interceptions).
Witherspoon: Played in 31 games, making 21 starts … second-team All-Pac-12 selection from both the Associated Press and league coaches as a senior in 2016 … finished tied for 13th on CU’s all-time passes broken up list with 28 … led the FBS in pass breakups with 22 his senior year, tying the CU single-season record that was set by CB Ben Kelly back in 1998 … had 77 career tackles, 18 third down stops and three interceptions.
Colorado Buffaloes at the NFL Scouting Combine
CB Ken Crawley
OL Stephane Nembot
WR Nelson Spruce
CB Greg Henderson
P Darragh O’Neill
DE Juda Parker
WR Paul Richardson
OT David Bakhtiari
TE Nick Kasa
QB Tyler Hansen
OG Ryan Miller
CB Jalil Brown
CB Jimmy Smith
OT Nate Solder
FB Riar Greer
OLB Jordon Dizon
OT Tyler Polumbus
CB Terrence Wheatley
WR Jeremy Bloom
TE Joe Klopfenstein
TE Quinn Sypniewski
FB Lawrence Vickers
RB Bobby Purify
OT Sam Wilder
WR D.J Hackett
WR Derek McCoy
DE Gabe Nyenhuis
OLB Sean Tufts
OG Justin Bates
DE Tyler Brayton
FB Brandon Drumm
CB Donald Strickland
DT Justin Bannan
TE Daniel Graham
OG Andre Gurode
SS Michael Lewis
OG Victor Rogers
OLB Jashon Sykes
OG Tom Ashworth
FS Rashidi Barnes
OG Brad Bedell
OG Ryan Johanningmeier
OLB Fred Jones
CB Ben Kelly
SS Erik Olson
CB Damon Wheeler
RB Marlon Barnes
WR Darrin Chiaverini
OLB Hannibal Navies
OG Ben Nichols
ILB Brandon Southward
FS Marcus Washington
Kyle Evans: “I just try to balance myself and do different things”
“All my life I’ve been the type of person who can never just sit around,” Evans said recently. “I always have to be doing something…I just try to balance myself and do different things.”
Between playing for the football team, working as a marketing and promotions intern, volunteering for the community outreach program and studying International Affairs at Leeds School of Business, Evans’ balanced mindset has allowed him to tackle all of these tasks simultaneously.
Evans’ dedication on the football field was noticeable before he arrived at CU. During his senior year of high school, Evans broke his hand in the first game of the season. Doctors advised him to sit out four months, but he was back on the field in five weeks. One year later he joined the CU football team as a walk-on and put his head down and worked during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Before the start of the 2016 football season, Evans was awarded a full scholarship, to the delight of his teammates https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sttFCHCDBas.
During the 2016 season, he proved his worth, as he was the team’s third-leading rusher, trailing only fellow running back Phillip Lindsay and quarterback Sefo Liufau. Evans finished with 84 carries for 346 yards and three touchdowns, and he also caught eight passes for 114 yards.
“My goal every year is to contribute more than I did the previous season,” Evans said. “Phillip Lindsay and I work out all the time over the offseason and summer … having guys like that around helps me understand what it takes to be a great player.”
… CU in a few minutes …
Four Buffs invited to participate in the NFL Combine
From NFL.com … Four former CU Buffs (but not Josh Tupou) have been invited to participate in NFL Combine, which will be from Feb. 28-Mar. 6 in Indianapolis.
Here is a link to all of the Pac-12 participants.
The Buffs, and the “Bottom Line” analysis from NFL.com (there is more in-depth analysis for each player, if you go to the NFL.com link and click on the player’s name:
CB – Chidobe Awuzie – Grade – 5.68
BOTTOM LINE – Sticky man-cover corner who possesses the reactive athleticism and foot quickness to maintain coverage responsibilities around the field. Awuzie is not a burner, but his technique and instincts should provide what he needs to compete downfield. His inconsistencies as a tackler, however, could turn off some teams. He can play outside or in the slot and has traits and talent to compete for early playing time.
QB – Sefo Liufau – Grade – 4.89
BOTTOM LINE – Liufau’s toughness, leadership and competitive spirit is exactly what teams want and it happens to come in an NFL-ready frame. Unfortunately, his lack of timing and anticipation as a passer is one of the reasons his touchdown numbers are so low per attempt. While he showed an ability to run Colorado’s offense with relative effectiveness, his game doesn’t appear to translate to the NFL level.
FS – Tedric Thompson – Grade 5.48
BOTTOM LINE – Thompson in an instinctive cover safety with strong ball skills and a history of production during his time at Colorado. Lacks physicality to operate around the box, but his football intelligence and playmaking skills will get him drafted and could give him a shot at eventually starting.
CB – Ahkello Witherspoon – Grade – 5.73
BOTTOM LINE – Possesses a rare combination of size and speed and saw his ball production take a substantial leap this season. Witherspoon played just one season of high school football so his technique and route awareness should continue to improve. Witherspoon’s length and his ability to mirror and match in space should launch him into early playing time, but his unwillingness to tackle and hit will be a complete turn-off for some teams.
… CU in a few minutes …
“Black History Month: How Buffs Bowl Teams Struck Blow Against Segregation”
From CUBuffs.com … They came more as moments of team solidarity than pure civil rights statements, situations when brothers in arms simply refused to allow their teams to be divided.
But in an era when racial segregation was still the norm in the United States, teams from the the University of Colorado delivered their message. While not celebrated on a major scale, the CU Athletic Department nevertheless played a role in the turbulent times of the 1950s and ’60s, making it clear that civil rights would not be denied to young men who had eaten, trained, sweated and bled together.
Put another way, “shoulder to shoulder” has been much more than just a snappy fight song phrase in the annals of CU history. Colorado’s history is peppered with key moments involving African-American athletes.
CU’s first All-American — in any sport — was discus thrower Claude Walton, who earned the honor in 1936, followed quickly by high jumper Gil Cruter in 1937.
Colorado’s first Olympian was track star David Bolen, who competed for the USA in the 1948 Olympics in London.
CU was also among the first teams in the Big Seven (later the Big Eight) to integrate its basketball and football teams, with black athletes joining the rosters of both sports by the mid-1950s.
No increase in season ticket prices for 2017
From CUBuffs.com …
LINK TO ONLINE SEASON TICKET RENEWALS: http://static.cubuffs.com/custompages/football/renewals/renewals.html
Season ticket prices will remain flat, no increases in 2017
BOULDER – The season ticket renewal period for University of Colorado football games opens Tuesday, Feb. 14 and runs through March 10, CU’s ticket office announced Tuesday.
As a show of CU’s love for its fans on Valentine’s Day, season ticket prices will remain flat for the 2017 season. Included in the 2017 season ticket package are the six games in Folsom Field plus a ticket to the Colorado State game in Denver at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sept. 1.
The Buffaloes are coming off a 10-4 season that saw CU go a perfect 6-0 at home and win the 2016 Pac-12 SouthDivision title. Colorado now looks to defend its Pac-12 South title in 2017 when it hosts the likes of Washington (Sept. 23), Arizona (Oct. 7 – Family Weekend), California (Oct. 28 – Homecoming) and USC (Nov. 11) once conference play begins.
Last season attendance soar up by 18 percent from the 2015 per game average (7,220 more fans per game), which was the second-largest increase among Power Five schools. That was CU’s largest improvement form one season to the next since 1988-89 (when the average jumped by 9,764). The Buffaloes sold out their season home finale against Utah, Folsom Field’s first sellout since Oct. 4, 2008.
“Last season was a phenomenal year, Folsom Field was electric and the community rallied around the Buffaloes,” said Matt Biggers, CU’s Chief Marketing Officer and Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs. “We are looking forward to another entertaining season at Folsom Field in college football’s most beautiful setting.”
As a season ticket holder you can save up to 50 percent off the regular gate price depending on the game and price level. Limits apply and specific locations will be subject to availability. Season ticket holders also receive priority access to purchase single game tickets to home games and purchase them at the season ticket holder discounted price.
Once Pac-12 Conference game times are announced, season ticket holders have up until 48 hours before kickoff to exchange their tickets for another home game in 2017 to help accommodate the schedules of the fan base.
Season Ticket Holder Notes:
– Season ticket holders will be invited to an exclusive telephone fan forum with head coach Mike MacIntyre, co-offensive coordinators Darrin Chiaverini and Brian Lindgren, and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot that will be held at noon MT on Feb. 28. Fans will be able to ask the coaches questions that day in an exclusive opportunity for season ticket holders to get on the inside with the Buffalo football program.
Important annual season ticket holder dates:
– February 14-March 10 – Season ticket renewals
– Late April – Season ticket holder seat relocation and upgrades
– Early May – Single game presales for season ticket holders
– Mid May – Single game tickets on-sale to the public
– Early July – Season tickets mailed to fans
… CU in a few minutes …
Mike MacIntyre contract approval put on hold by Regents
… CU, once again, finds a way to shoot itself in the foot, keeping issue alive for two more months …
From the Daily Camera … The University of Colorado’s regents are delaying a vote on whether football coach Mike MacIntyre should get a contract extension and a raise as they await the results of an external investigation into CU’s handling of domestic violence allegations against a former assistant coach.
In early January, the Athletic Department announced that MacIntyre had signed a $16.25 million contract extension through 2021, noting that the deal was subject to approval by the Board of Regents.
The board had planned to take up the contract extension at its regular meeting this week on the Boulder campus, but instead plans to vote on it at a later date, after the regents better understand how top university officials acted upon learning of the allegations against Joe Tumpkin.
“The university is going to engage in some outside consultation on this situation and so we really need to see that investigation run its course before we take any further action on MacIntyre’s contract,” Regent Jack Kroll, a Denver Democrat, told the Daily Camera on Monday.
CU spokesman Ryan Huff said the Boulder campus is looking to retain an outside consultant to review the handling of the Tumpkin allegations, but no contract has yet been signed.
Q & A with new CU defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot
From Jason Clay at CUBuffs.com … Colorado defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot is nearly one month on the job with the Buffaloes and has had an opportunity to study film and game plan with head coach Mike MacIntyre and his fellow defensive assistant coaches.
Colorado’s defense is losing eight starters from its 2016 unit that ranked in the top 20 in total defense, but it does return 22 lettterwinners on that side of the ball. Among those letterwinners returning are starters Afolabi Laguda, Rick Gamboa and Ryan Moeller, who was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection. Also returning is cornerback Isaiah Oliver, who Pro Football Focus recently ranked as one of the top 10 players returning in the Pac-12 this season.
With CU a week away from starting spring football – the first practice coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 22 – Eliot has mapped out his defensive syllabus for his first spring with the Buffs.
CUBuffs.com sat down with Eliot Monday afternoon to get his insight on the upcoming spring practices, player development, his defensive philosophies and a whole lot more with this Q&A session.
CUBuffs.com: Since you have had some time to settle in and learn the personnel returning, how do you gauge where the defense is at entering spring football?
D.J. Eliot: “We definitely lost some veteran players from last year, but I’m excited about our young players that we have. I think that they have talent, have the right mindset and attitude and I think that we have a lot to build off of with what these guys have and what they’ve done.”
CUBuffs.com: What is the progression that you would like to see from the defense this spring?
D.J. Eliot: “We need to make sure that we are fundamentally sound and that we’re executing. We are going to emphasize the basics of football this spring and making sure that we are playing with effort, that we’re playing fundamentally sound and that we’re executing every call.”
CUBuffs.com: Does that become easier seeing that you do return a number of players that have some experience under their belts?
D.J. Eliot: “Definitely, we have some guys that got in a lot of games last year so they have been in the fire and that is going to help us moving forward.”
CUBuffs.com: Coaching the linebacking corps, how do you plan on going about coaching that group?
D.J. Eliot: “Well in every position we try to make sure they got a toolbox of skills that they need to be successful at their position. Then we are going to push them to play with effort and enthusiasm at practice so that they’ll do it in the game.”
CUBuffs.com: At inside linebacker you have Rick Gamboa and Addison Gillam returning, who have played an awful lot. Behind them you have a couple young players like Drew Lewis and Akil Jones who have flashed, what do you see in of those guys?
D.J. Eliot: “Drew and Akil I think have a lot of athletic ability, which is good. They’re fast, they’re able to make plays in space, so I’m excited about working with them and helping them develop into better linebackers.”
CUBuffs.com: You have had success throughout your career coaching all-conference players and ones who have gone on to the NFL. What is your theory behind developing players?
D.J. Eliot: “I think that you have to have a plan on how you are going to develop that player 365 days a year. For every skill that player has, you need to define it and then you have to have a drill that fits that skill. Then you need to have the time allotted throughout the year to drill it. So the player development plan is one that fits each position or each type of player within that position specifically and then there is a plan to execute it and develop that guy.”
CUBuffs.com: Having worked at big programs in the past like Florida State under Jimbo Fisher in the ACC and in the SEC at Kentucky with Mark Stoops, to come to a top 20 program in the Pac-12, how will those experiences help you here?
D.J. Eliot: “Fortunately I was able to work at Florida State and we took a 6-6 team and went 11-2 and I was the interim defensive coordinator at the Orange Bowl and in the ACC Championship game, which we won both of those games. At Kentucky, we took a team that was 2-10 and four years later we were 7-5, so we’ve been a part of two turnarounds in the last seven years. I’m very excited, having coached in the ACC, SEC and now in the Pac-12, it’s different challenges everywhere you work, but it’s big-time football at all Power Five programs and it’s great atmospheres, great players, it’s great coaches and it is something that I am excited about doing here in the Pac-12.”
CUBuffs.com: Your 3-4 defense, being multiple and disguising where blitzes may be coming from, can we be expecting a defense that has many sacks and takeaways?
D.J. Eliot: “It can be. The philosophy behind it is that it is multiple, but simple for the players. So it is multiple for an offense because there is anybody that can be the fourth rusher and we can get into a lot of different coverages and they look the same before the snap, but we are trying to be simple for the players to where they don’t have to learn a lot and can play fast. With that, you can create turnovers, you can create tackles for a loss and we just need to emphasize on that in practice that we’re trying to create turnovers, we’re trying to create tackles for a loss, we’re trying to create sacks, and that we need to make sure we demand it in practice so we’ll execute in the game.”
CUBuffs.com: What is the role going to be Ryan Moller this year? Last year with his versatility, he was able to play all over the field and he made a number of plays. Where will he fit in with your defense?
D.J. Eliot: “It would be the same, he’s going to be a safety in some calls and he’s going to be a nickel/outside linebacker in some calls.”
CUBuffs.com: What do you see in Ryan Moeller that you have liked on film?
D.J. Eliot: “I see a guy that is athletic enough to play in space and be a good nickel and I see a guy that’s physical enough to hold up the run game, which is what we are going to need from him.”
CUBuffs.com: You lose three guys in the secondary that will probably be in the NFL, but you also have a lot of talent returning. Do you like the skill set on the backend?
D.J. Eliot: “I do. (Afolabi Laguda) is back as a starter, Isaiah Oliver has started a lot for us, Nick Fisher‘s played in some games for us, so there’s a group of guys who have a good skill set and have played for us.”
CUBuffs.com: How has your first month at CU gone? Have you been running around with your hair on fire?
D.J. Eliot: “It’s been great. I have, but that is part of the job. That is actually one thing that I love about it is the fact that it is football all day every day.”
ESPN: Steven Montez ready to lead CU to a “New Era”
From ESPN … So a player who turned in one of the truly execrable games behind center in 2016 (v. Michigan) did a stunning about-face and produced one of the best. Montez earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors after completing 23 of 32 passes for 333 yards with three touchdowns and rushing for 135 yards on 21 carries with another score in Colorado’s 41-38 victory.
Montez went on to beat Oregon State and then nearly led the Buffaloes to a win at USC before Liufau returned to his starting spot. But Montez’s performance after his horrific debut, including his notable redemption and the mental toughness it demonstrated, is a big reason why few around the Colorado program are worried about the offense in 2017.
An athletic, 6-foot-5, 225-pounder, Montez owns a big arm and will be surrounded by a veteran supporting cast that includes eight returning starters and several experienced backups. When Colorado begins spring practice on Feb. 22, a rebuilding defense — not a quarterback competition — will be the lead story for the defending Pac-12 South Division champion.
… CU in a few minutes …
Strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson – “We still have work to do”
From the Daily Camera … As well as the Colorado football team played last season, Drew Wilson knows that the Buffaloes have at least as much work to do, if not more, to keep it going.
The Buffaloes’ director of football strength and conditioning, Wilson played a pivotal role in CU’s resurgent 10-4 season last fall, but it was how the season ended that bothered him.
After a 10-2 regular season, the Buffs were routed by Washington, 41-10, in the Pac-12 title game and by Oklahoma State, 38-8, in the Valero Alamo Bowl
“I told the guys, ‘We got handled,’ and as a strength coach, you notice that right off the bat,” Wilson said. “They were bigger, they were stronger and they handled us. You could take getting beat if a team is better than you, but you can’t handle if a team is just physical dominating you and that’s where I felt, ‘Hey we still have work to do.’
“Not that I thought we were a finished project by any stretch of the imagination.”
… CU in a few minutes …
CU athletic director Rick George issues statement over Tumpkin
… Related … “Rick George: CU didn’t try to ‘hide’ domestic violence claims against Joe Tumpkin” … from the Daily Camera
From colorado.edu … First and foremost, I want to acknowledge that I could have handled this situation better. I feel particularly bad that I did not personally reach out to the woman involved. I realize it would have been helpful for her to hear from me directly, letting her know the steps we would take and just checking in with her to offer personal help and support.
I also should have engaged our Office of Equity and Compliance right away. As the Chancellor stated last Friday, we will err on the side of caution by reporting when in doubt moving forward and should have done so here.
Additionally, I take responsibility for not being aware that a temporary restraining order had been filed prior to the day we received a copy, Jan. 6. Immediately after reviewing the report, we called Joe in and suspended him the same day. I understand this may appear to some that we were trying to hide the allegation. We were not. We hesitated to put Joe immediately on leave after we first learned of the allegation without any police investigation being brought to us or filings in a court. This does not change the situation, but gives you an idea of our conundrum. In the future, we will do better involving our experts around the campus immediately.
People need to know that I am committed to doing things the right way here. I am as thrilled by our football success as anyone, but I don’t ever want to compromise our values. I want us to be a model program in all ways and at all times. I am fully supportive of the changes the Chancellor is implementing and I am committed to upholding CU Boulder’s values in all our words and in actions.
Athletics Director, University of Colorado
Mike MacIntyre statement
From colorado.edu … I write this to the CU community not only as a coach who has built his career on always trying to do the right thing both on and off the field but as a person who tries to be compassionate.
I understand the concerns of those who worry about the safety of women—as I do—and those concerned that success on the football field means we will abandon our ethics and morals. That is not who I am as a man, a coach, a teacher and as a member of the CU community.
I did not come to CU to run a program or to achieve success at any cost. Nor has the CU leadership ever encouraged such behavior. I can assure the campus community, all CU fans and all of our student-athletes and their families that I personally (and our team and coaching staff collectively) will continue to build the rise of CU football on a bedrock set of values: decency, honor, excellence, respect for women and for all people being chief among them.
Upon hearing the allegations by Joe Tumpkin’s girlfriend, my initial reaction and foremost concern was for her safety. I reiterated that to her several times and confirmed that she was in fact, safe.
In the same conversation, I was clear in communicating to her my obligation as a university employee to notify my superior, which is exactly what I did. I can say I did everything necessary to ensure this individual’s statements were relayed immediately.
I would like to clarify the following reported statements:
There were two separate conversations. The first was her report to me of the abuse. In the second conversation, I communicated to her that I reported it.
Tumpkin was made the play caller for the bowl game because, at the time of the decision, there was no police report or legal complaint. This decision was approved by my superiors.
I want to be clear I unequivocally endorse the chancellor’s plans for improving CU’s policies and practices in dealing with matters of domestic violence and pledge that I and the entire football coaching staff will work to carry out our obligations under university policy.
Head Coach, University of Colorado
… CU in a few minutes …
Affidavit: Tumpkin assaulted victim over 100 times
From the Daily Camera … Joe Tumpkin’s former girlfriend told Broomfield police that the former University of Colorado assistant coach assaulted her more than 100 times over the course of 21 months, according to court records obtained Thursday.
Tumpkin, 45, appeared in court Thursday in Broomfield to be advised of five counts of felony second-degree assault. He was free on bond, and was set for a preliminary hearing on March 23.
Tumpkin did not comment on the allegations during or after Thursday’s hearing at the Broomfield Combined Courts.
According to an arrest affidavit, Tumpkin’s ex-girlfriend told investigators that he assaulted her more than 100 times between February 2015 and November 2016.
The woman told police on Dec. 19 that she began dating Tumpkin while she was living in Michigan and Tumpkin coached at Central Michigan. When Tumpkin was hired as the safeties coach at CU and moved to Colorado, she said she flew out to visit Tumpkin every 10 days or so.
Chancellor Phil DiStefano posts an updated response
From CUBuffs.com …
I am writing today to let you know our next steps related to the allegations of domestic violence against former assistant football coach at CU, Joe Tumpkin and how those were responded to internally. Athletic Director Rick George and coach Mike MacIntyre also offer their responses to our plans and the situation itself.
You may recall that on Feb. 3, I wrote about the university’s response to issues covered in Sports Illustrated article. I apologized to the alleged victim on behalf of the university and on behalf of head coach Mike MacIntyre and CU Athletic Director Rick George. We regret that we did not involve our Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) as soon as any of us learned of the allegation and that we did not reach out appropriately to her.
I have met with Valerie Simons, executive director of OIEC, and we are stepping up our educational efforts and processes going forward to ensure that in the future all of our employees, including the three of us, know to report anything of this nature, even when it involves someone not affiliated with the campus. You can expect to see communications soon about increased opportunities to become familiar with university policy in this area and where to report.
Since the early 2000s, we have made some key structural changes to more closely align athletics to the campus and provide accountability. Just some of those changes were:
- The finances of the athletics department and construction projects report on a dotted line to our SVC/CFO Kelly Fox for external review and oversight.
- We have placed an academic officer in athletics reporting directly to the provost to ensure that all academic offerings, credit and support are in line with our academic standards across the university.
- The senior fundraising officer for athletics reports to the head of Advancement on the campus to align the fundraising efforts across the campus.
- More recently, our office of Performance Improvement engaged with Rick George and his team to develop a full strategic plan, which includes metrics and accountability.
Recent events, however, demonstrate that more needs to be done. So, today I am making two changes to enhance our ability to respond to misconduct and to encourage effective reporting of misconduct through all relevant campus channels.
- First, we are designating Senior Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations and Senior Women’s Administrator Ceal Barry as the direct liaison from athletics for all sports and operations, including football, to the head of OIEC.
- Second, I have also directed OIEC and athletics to develop a plan to strengthen the collaboration and education between OIEC and athletics to provide regular training and guidance to the athletic director and the entire athletics staff.
Mike and Rick are working with me in strong support of these changes, and the three of us are all committed to moving ahead assertively, ensuring that all our campus protocols and policies are well understood and effectively carried out. Our university has come too far and accomplished too much in terms of instituting reforms to be deterred now.
You have my promise that, moving ahead, our commitment to improving in these areas will be steadfast and unwavering.
Philip P. DiStefano,
… CU in a few minutes …
Previously suspended defensive back Evan White happy to be back in the fold
From CUBuffs.com … Evan White is bigger, stronger and faster than he was the last time he set foot on the field in a Colorado football uniform. He looks every bit like a Pac-12 safety should look.
But the biggest change in the Colorado junior might not be his physical frame. Instead, it might be his frame of mind, a circumstance of spending a year away from football.
White, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound safety, has returned to the Buffaloes after being dismissed from the program just before spring ball in 2016 for a violation of team rules. Now, he says, he’s ready to take advantage of the opportunity — and instead of dreading offseason conditioning workouts, he looks forward to them. The opportunity to work, sweat and push himself is something he greets with a smile.
“Not everybody gets a second chance,” White said earlier this week after a morning weight room session. “I think what I realized is that when I was here before, I was taking all of this for granted. I’d be waking up early for conditioning and lifting and I’d think, ‘I really don’t want to do this.’
… CU in a few minutes …
Best summary yet of MacIntyre/Tumpkin situation
While the handling of the Tumpkin firing has seemingly died down (it’s still on the front page of Sports Illustrated and ESPN college football pages, but is no longer prominently displayed), it’s worth your time to read the article posted by Doug Ottewill of Mile High Sports. “Making Sense of Mike MacIntyre’s misstep” does not exonerate Mike MacIntyre and the CU administration, but also gives a realistic review of the timeline.
It’s too easy.
Too easy to point the finger. Too easy to stand atop a soapbox of righteousness. Too easy, in retrospect, to say what Mike MacIntyre, the head football coach at the University of Colorado, should have done.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, stop, and read Michael McKnight’s recent article. That’s not an endorsement of the article, but the background is imperative.
If you are familiar with the topic I’m about to discuss, chances are, you’ve already formed an opinion. That’s okay, here’s mine:
In retrospect, we all know what Mike MacIntyre should have done. Even CU chancellor Phil DiStefano, who penned a response to McKnight’s Sports Illustrated article, said what MacIntyre – and many around him – should have done. These aren’t Chancellor DiStefano’s words, and it might even be a stretch to say that I’m paraphrasing, but here’s what everyone would suggest to MacIntyre now: If you’re privy to confidential information about possible domestic violence between two people, tell anyone and everyone immediately – there is no room for gray area, interpretation, delay, judgement or precaution.
Offensive line should be a strength this fall
From the Daily Camera … When the Buffs improved from 4-9 in 2015 to 10-4 last season, the veteran group of offensive linemen played a key role in the turnaround.
“I’ve been really proud of the way they’ve competed week in and week out, and I felt like we got a lot better as the season went on,” co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said before CU’s appearance in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. “Coach Adams has done a good job with that.”
Now coming into his second season as the Buffs’ line coach, Adams is hoping his group takes another step forward.
While three-year starting center Alex Kelley and Sam Kronshage, a part-time starter at tackle, will move on, the Buffs return an experienced group.