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Inaction is not an option

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Inaction is not an option

 

The September schedule next fall sets up well for Colorado.

At least on paper.

The Buffs open the 2018 campaign against Colorado State in Denver. The Rams finished the regular season 7-5, but those seven wins came against teams which went 1-11, 2-9, 3-9, 6-6 (Utah State), 3-9, 3-9 and 2-11.

After the Rocky Mountain Showdown, the next four 2018 opponents for Colorado:

— A team which went 4-8 in 2017, and fired its head coach;

— An FCS team;

— A team which went 6-6 in 2017, and fired its head coach; and

— A team which went 7-5 in 2017, and fired its head coach.

Theoretically, you would have to say that Colorado has a very good chance at a fast start to the 2018 season.

Fill in the names of the opponents, though, and many Buff fans will wince, and wonder if a 1-4 start is in the offing.

— Game One: Colorado has beaten Colorado State three straight times, but this game is never, ever a given.

— Game Two: The 4-8 team the Buffs will face is Nebraska, with the game to be played in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers fired their coach, Mike Riley, after a season in which the Cornhuskers lost six of their last seven games, lost more games than any Nebraska team in half a century, lost their last four home games, and gave up 50 or more points in each of its last three games.

Yet the Cornhuskers will be favored over the Buffs as optimism has returned to Lincoln, as Nebraska has hired its former quarterback, Scott Frost, fresh off of leading Central Florida from 0-12 to 12-0 in two seasons.

— Game Three: The home opener, against an FCS team. The opponent, though, is not a mediocre Big Sky Conference team (like Northern Colorado). Instead, the Buffs will face New Hampshire, a team which has made the FCS playoffs 14 straight years. Saturday, the Wildcats went on the road to knock off the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, Central Arkansas, to advance to the FCS quarter-finals

— Game Four: The Pac-12 opener, against UCLA, which fired Jim Mora. The game will be on a Friday night, and will attract national attention … but not because the Buffs will be 3-0 and looking to avenge a tough loss to the Bruins in the Rose Bowl last fall. Rather, the game will attract national attention because it will be the first Pac-12 conference game for Chip Kelly as the coach of the Bruins.

— Game Five: A home game against Arizona State, which fired Todd Graham. A third straight home game, against a team which the Buffs handled the last time the teams played in Boulder, 40-16, looks like a winnable game. The Sun Devils, though, also has reason for optimism heading into the 2018 season, picking up a new head coach of its own, with Todd Graham being replaced (presumably) by Herm Edwards.

All of CU’s first three Power-Five conference opponents in 2018 will take the field with a new head coach … with all of the attendant uncertainties which come with a new coaching staff.

Yet all three of those fan bases are more optimistic about their upcoming season than CU fans are about theirs.

Now, this is not a recommendation that Colorado fire Mike MacIntyre. You are not going to release a coach one season after he was named National Coach-of-the-Year.

But inaction is not an option.

After watching the Buffs limp into the off-season with a humbling 34-13 loss to Utah, MacIntyre was not fire-and-brimstone, promising immediate changes to correct the Buffs’ listing ship.

Instead, MacIntyre was just the opposite.

“I’ll look at it,” said MacIntyre when asked about adjusting CU’s approach. “I learned it from Bill Parcells not to say anything emotion in the moment, I’ll look at it over the next few weeks, a little over Christmas time, I’ll look at it and make decisions from there”.

So, while other schools are making wholesale changes, giving their fan bases at least some hope to cling to … Colorado is standing pat until after the Recruiting Class of 2018 has been signed (Signing Day, if you weren’t aware, has been moved up from February to December 20th).

What was that definition of insanity again? … doing the same things over and over again, yet expecting different results?

I’ve spent the last week in a funk. It wasn’t as if we couldn’t see the writing on the wall after the Arizona State debacle. A 5-4 record turned to 5-5, then inevitably 5-6 and 5-7 after losses to USC and Utah.

Still, the listless performance by the Buffs stung, and I’ve spent the last week trying to remember when I felt like this before …

— The early 1980’s? No. Even the 1-10 seasons didn’t have this feel. The first time I was witness to CU posting a winning season was my second year of law school, six years into my college career. We were used to seeing the Buffs find new and ingenious ways to lose;

— 1997? Close. After all, the numbers are almost identical to what we just went through. The Buffs in 1996 won ten games, then went 5-6 the following fall. Still, as bad as the 1997 season was for fans, it was the first losing season for CU since 1984, and the Buff Nation expected the team to bounce back (which they did, going 8-4 in 1998);

— 2006? Nope. Even though the Buffs went 2-10 (in embarrassing fashion) that year, squandering the momentum of four Big 12 division titles in five seasons, there was the feeling that Dan Hawkins would turn things around quickly (after all, he had won 50 games in five seasons at Boise State), and the Buffs did make it to a bowl game in 2007.

No. For me the correct answer is 2009.

That Thanksgiving weekend, the Buffs were coming to the end of a putrid 3-9 campaign, a season which included a nationally televised debacle – a 54-38 road loss to Toledo – played before a “hostile” crowd of 20,082. Buff fans were enduring a tough November, but were enduring the pain bravely, as we knew that we were seeing the end of the Dan Hawkins experiment.

Like Cornhusker fans this November, it was just a matter of getting through the season, waiting for inevitable news of the firing of the head coach, and moving on to the next coach with renewed optimism.

Instead, we were told that Dan Hawkins, 16-32 at CU, at the time the only coach in the history of the school to post four consecutive losing seasons, would be retained.

“Dan is our coach,” said athletic director Mike Bohn. “We will continue to have candid, constructive discussions with each other … We recognize the importance of continuity to reach our desired competitive results. We have made progress on many fronts, but fully realize the importance of improvement and growth of the program in all areas.”

It was a gut shot.

Not only was Dan Hawkins going to be around for Year Five, but we knew nine months before the 2010 season began that it would be a wasted year.

Sure enough, the Buffs were 3-6 the following fall when Hawkins was let go. Losers of five straight when Hawkins was fired, the Dan Hawkins era ended in early November when the Buffs blew a 28-point fourth quarter lead in falling to lowly Kansas, 52-45.

Keeping the status quo at the end of the 2009 season not only meant a lost season in 2010, it hurt the Recruiting Classes of 2010 and 2011, pushing the program even further down the rat hole.

I am in a funk this December … because the end of the 2017 season feels like the end of the 2009 season.

Again, I am not advocating the firing of Mike MacIntyre.

But changes need to be made.

It is way above my paygrade to know what those changes should be, but it is easy to make suggestions:

— Offensive coordinators: Whether its the coaches, the personalities, or the system … it ain’t working. The candidate most Buff fans have for firing is co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren. The Buff offense is predictable and stagnant.

The other co-offensive coordinator, Darren Chiaverini, though, should also be subject to scrutiny. He is largely given a pass by Buff fans as he is a CU alumnus, has only been in Boulder two years, and is arguably CU’s best recruiter. Chiaverini, however, does have the title of co-offensive coordinator, and it is not without significance that one of the most disappointing units on the team this fall – the “Blackout Boyz” at wide receiver – are coached by Chiaverini;

— Offensive line coach Klayton Adams. Another under-performing unit. Adams – and his head coach – bragged about this unit in August, claiming it to be the best in MacIntyre’s five years in Boulder. The line did produce a back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher in Phillip Lindsay the past two seasons, but many Buff fans would argue that Lindsay’s yards are as much a result of Lindsay’s talent and heart as anything manufactured by the line. The sacks surrendered, the penalties, the obvious lack of cohesion … this unit was a mess in 2017;

— Defensive coaches. It’s hard to argue for adjustments in the coaching staff when three of the four coaches are new. Only defensive line Jim Jeffcoat returned from last season, and yes, eight starters from last year’s team graduated. Still, if you want to argue for the release of new defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, there are numbers (109th in total defense; 75th in scoring defense) to back you up.

At the end of the day, however, it’s too late to blame the revered Jim Leavitt for not recruiting decent replacements for the players he had been given. We have to deal with what remains in Boulder. And what remains on defense at Colorado, if you read “Recruiting Trail – Defense” … is a dumpster fire.

The Buffs were a bad team in 2017. There was a clear lack of leadership in the locker room. The offense was a frustration; the defense was pushed around.

What makes this December so bleak for the Buff Nation, though, is that there are no indications from the CU hierarchy that there are any significant plans being made to make 2018 any different or better than was 2017.

In Lincoln a week ago, the proud Cornhusker fans watched their team turn a 14-14 halftime tie against Iowa in the finale into a humbling 56-14 defeat. It was a dismal end to a dismal season … yet this morning Nebraska fans are gleeful, excited about the possibilities of what Scott Frost brings to the table.

In Westwood, the Bruin faithful are ecstatic. Instead of bemoaning the loss of quarterback Josh Rosen to the NFL, and the mediocrity which such a loss might bring to the program, UCLA fans can’t wait for the 2018 season – and the Chip Kelly era – to begin.

There is no such enthusiasm in Boulder.

There needs to be.

With little indication that the Recruiting Class of 2018, to be signed in just a few short weeks, will set the world on fire, the CU administration is telling the world that they have a pat hand, and are willing to stand with what they have in place.

That’s not going to work.

Fans can argue over what steps need to be taken, but we can all agree on one point:

Inaction is not an option.

22 Responses to “Inaction is not an option”

  1. buffluv

    Stuart, you list this in your latest poll as an option: “I don’t care. I’m more interested in how CU will fill its two assistant openings.” As of today, I thought we only have one, the position vacated by Brian Lindgren. Where did the other position opening come from?

  2. VK Berlin

    Well now how about that for inaction? I mean the complete lack of inaction. Wow, sure would have like to have seen the 2017 Mighty Buff offense be that quick, and fast and decisive.

    There will be a ton of comments (probably a few by me) and opinions (me again eh?) as this changed is dissected over and over. It will be a fun time.

    There is one item that struck me and as perhaps the most overlooked item, I will be ripping into it.

    That is this comment by MickeyMac

    MacIntyre said. “We’ve been together for six years, which really can be a long time in the coaching profession.
    I appreciate all he did for us at Colorado as well as at San Jose State. Brian has been a big part of our successes at both San Jose and Colorado, he’s done a great job developing quarterbacks at both schools and has been extremely loyal. “

    has been extremely loyal. “

    No question that means Loyal to him period. Not to the Buffs, but to him. Meaning him MickeyMac………”He don’t know what he’s talking about.”
    Blind loyalty very similar to the BLB………….Blind Lemming Banker…….

    It really is and really has been all about MickeyMac. From the very beginning of his time here. It was never about CU, only about him. Period.

    Look at his staff that came in. Loyalists period…
    Two years. Three outsiders brought in. Er nudged in. Er forced in.
    One star DC
    One up and comer
    One goofball

    The goofball is just that… loyal only to himself..And hidden wacky….

    The DC is a star and would not follow MickeyMac with blind loyalty..GONE

    The up and comer is just that. Has a ‘godfather in the administration’ but still knows his place.

    So with Lindgren leaving (Still amazed and pleased for all parties) Mac has no choice other than to put Chev as the play caller. He is already the Co-Oc so Mac can’t bring someone in over him. The Chev “Administration Godfather” will not let that happen. And this is a problem for Mac. Loyalty. Chev is not that guy……….meaning Chev is Loyal to CU……..Mac or no Mac and that is a problem………

    Hence the shoving of Adams into the ‘vacant Co-Oc’ position. And BOOM loyalty restored. Yup. The spy came out of the Ol or something like that. Adams has MM’s ear, Chev does not. (But Chev has his own “ear”…..love it)

    So this whole deal is coming together big time.

    The good:

    -Mac gets his glory (one year) and then back to his start up role.
    -Chev comes home, gets a chance and now a bigger chance. Working up the ladder
    -Lindgren leaves home and gets away from the micro manager and maybe will shine
    -Buffs get a new offensive kick in the arse. Hard Reset Please.

    The bad:
    MickeyMac is still MickeyMac
    The buyout is too high
    MickeyMac is still here
    The DC coaches are weak
    The DL players need major uptics.

    The Ugly:
    The TE coach is still here. (Wasted spot…..Aha the loyalty default….)

    Welp Go You Mighty Buffs. Still work to be done with the coaching staff (RG)

    Buffs.

    Note: I kinda like how this all played out. One more year. Okay maybe two. The ol seven year itch eh………….

  3. VK Berlin

    This ‘Inaction is not an Option’ article needs to stay on the front page for a long time Stuart. Seriously. Keep it here until………Well a long time.

  4. VK Berlin

    Yup Stuart the Revered Leavitt is to blame for the lack of defensive talent. Okay then. 2017 is the fault of Leavitt. Why? Cause he ain’t here. Hard to prove otherwise. Wins losses………..He’s here….They win 10 He is not well you know.

    So lets look at this just a bit. Recruiting

    Mickey’s now on his 6th recruiting class (Wow going into his 6th year. Well there ya go all you advocating for stability rather making the right decision 3 years ago. Oh well hooray for stability) FlimFlamed oh holy moly.

    year….247 ranking
    2018…56
    2017…35
    2016…69
    2015…69
    2014…74
    2013…68

    1. So ya have a winning season and you get higher (not necessarily better) ranked recruits. and around it goes.

    2. So ya have a great DC and you win 1O games.

    3. So otherwise no winning season (even with “lendn-Lou” having his DB savant as HC) and you get lesser ranked recruits. Just data and facts out there. Run the math.

    But I blame JMFL for the 5 years (about to be six) of MickeyMouse Buff Football led by MickeyMac powered by Lingering-Less. Just gotta be the case.

    Buffs.

    Note: At somepoint the DL just has to be better. Has to be.

    Note 2: At somepoint the Coaching staff just has to get better. Has to.

    Note 3: Maybe Colorado football is just Colorado football.

    • KevinMac

      Leavitt did win 10 games with a defense with 8 seniors and a stud DL – brought in before he was here. As DC he has to be in the conversation about lack of talent this year, but not for all of it. Hope they’re out fishing in the junior college ponds.

  5. I think coach Mac does an ok job of coaching and does care but I don’t understand his coaching hires or his dreadful recruiting. It would be nice to see a few 4 star recruits at least in the conversation now and then. Plus the imbalance in positions is startling. How can you have a class full of receivers and only 3 or 4 lineman and linebackers. This used to be linebacker U and the best one we have had in years went hiking. Recruiting must improve or it will be more long seasons to come.

  6. Chirality

    I’ve been a big defender of Lindgren on these boards. I think Lindgren should stay, Montez looked notably better by the end of the year, and continuity with offensive systems (especially for a young QB) is extremely important.

    On defense? Blow the whole thing up, save for whoever has been coaching secondary (or is that just Mac himself?).

    Props to the special teams coach this year though!

    • VK Berlin

      Hmm well okay then

      After 5 years of being at the bottom of offensive scoring in the pac 12 you want another one??

      Well okay then

      Another year after 5 years of middling offense stats. You want another!!

      The only 10 win season under MickeyMac came with an all star DC

      CAREFUL WHAT YOU AND THE BANKER BABBLER WISH FOR.

  7. VK Berlin

    4️⃣2️⃣ days and I’m back where I belong. On the gridiron🏈 making plays and in class chasing that degree🎓 These past 6 months have shaped me to become the man I am today. I thank God for all that he has done and I will continue to put him first in everything I do 🙏🏾 boCO I’m coming back 2018😈 skobuffs💪🏾

    • VK Berlin

      Hey stuart, this is Falo’s post

      could you add that in the above post please

      • Wasn’t it his brother Josh who had some key plays in the SC game? Who was “almost” a Buff? Hey, I can understand losing a kid to USC. Or OSU. They’re kinda marquee programs in most peoples’ minds…

        CU will get back there. Keep the faith. Having NJ back will be big, too.

        Go Buffs.

  8. VK Berlin

    Yup inaction is a large problem for MickeyMac.

    But the other maybe bigger problem is ‘delayed-action’….. which he is famous for. Look at his coaching firings and hiring. How long did it take him to replace the defensive coaches from last year?

    For whatever reason his delaying in making decisions is a disaster. The ol “we are gonna take our time on this and do it right” or “I gotta look at the film” or “Bill Parcells said………..” has negatively impacted his reign.

    His ‘bottom of the barrel’ assistant coaching (except for JMFL which was forced on him” has been a damn right disaster………Starting from when he showed up here. Either he has no clue in how to choose good assistants, or maybe just maybe all the good assistants understand working for him is basically a dead end. The good ones he was fortunate to have are gone. Okay I give Hagan a pass and Chev a little one (Because he couldn’t force his will on DABL or Mickeymac)

    A Damn Shame. Again the Brian article kinda lays it out.

    Because of that contract RG can’t save it. A terrible miscalculation on his part. Oh well recruit signing in a few weeks. Then again in Feb. Then spring ball, summer workouts, then fall camp then it starts again………..

    THE BIG NINE MONTH WAIT………….AGAIN.

    BUFFS

    Note: are Falo, Umu Julmisse on the way back? There was a facebook post by Falo yesterday stating in 42 days he would be back with the Buffs.

    Umu? Dismissed cause he beat up a walkon lineman in practice and gave him a concussion. Hope it gets worked out. He can play and is a mean one.

    Julmisse? Silent……….But he is still in school (rumor has it) and he has been silent on social media……….Getting a lot of pressure from his family to get it right and get back to work……

    Note 2: MickeyMac is still pissed about that $100,000……….Still believes he was right in his actions……..course he wasn’t………No Stick on the Teflon Emperor……..ever……As he said about that player……..”He doesn’t know what he is talking about”…………Except that player was correct and it proved out the remaining games.

    Note 3: Famous…….”I am sure the coaches will fix it……….I am sure they will win next week……I trust em to do it……..MickeyMac is a defensive genius…………….blah blah banker babble….3 bags full…… which fits right in with ……….

    I AM mIKE mACiNTYRE AND YOU ARE NOT

  9. buffluv

    Thanks for your honesty, Stuart. And thanks for not letting Chev off the hook either. The receivers were mediocre at best this year, especially for being seniors. It’s obvious MM is waiting to change coaches until after the new recruiting signing date. That way, he doesn’t upset an already fragile class, many of who are being persuaded to sign elsewhere. Meanwhile, yes, DEFENSIVE LINEMAN are THE area of biggest concern we need to address. I can’t believe how ineffective we are at recruiting them. If Eliot wants us to believe, he’d better get his butt in gear with recruiting some lineman for his defense.

  10. Antonio

    I’d be fired up for 2018 if Jim Leavitt were CU’s HC.

  11. Mr. Owl

    Inaction is MacIntyre’s middle name.

  12. Tatonka Thunder

    I have a good deal of respect for coach Macintyre and all that he has done for the CU program. I do wonder though, if he had his bags packed for Oxford as early as mid-September. There just seemed to be such a lack of fire and missing leadership from early on. I also wonder what Coach Chev was seeing in practice to compel the continued week after week starts of WR’s who proved over and over again that they couldn’t handle the bullets from Montez vs. those who did in very limited playing time.

    Is there anyone on the staff that can recruit top level Defensive Linemen? I know they are very rare, but the JUCO path is hit or miss at best. I can’t believe the DL cupboard is so bare, especially after 5 years. Say what you will about Embree but look what he had recruited – Quality DL and a stud QB. Plus he had some good DB’ s that are now in the NFL.

    It’s just hard to accept that after 5 years, here we are – last in the division, no bowl game, losing seasons the last 4 out of 5, and nothing to point to for next season that makes you feel optimistic for a successful year. The roster is better and more athletic, yes, but the losing seasons should have stopped after year 2.

    What I wouldn’t give for even some 3 star DL’s instead of yet another WR or DB. The Offensive line is not going to get better going against lower talent everyday in practice.

  13. ep

    The Bill Parcels dodge stands out to me Stuart. Previous to that MM said he was going to look at every bit of game film last season to find out what went wrong.
    This is tantamount to admitting he has been asleep all season. Maybe he hasnt. Maybe he is just trying to buy some time for his good buddy Lingering et al.
    My feeling is RG is going to have to force the issue if he already hasnt.
    With the money he is being paid he owes the players, fans and the school a lot more.
    Another thing that worries me is the friction between MM and Leavitt. I know MM is a very devout person and that in itself is fine ( I admit I am not) but I have seen many times where devout people arent as always willing to forgive as Jesus. Bottom line is I wonder if MM is too inflexible and if that hinders his working with assistants.
    Give MM one more year. I have a feeling the recruiting will suffer if he goes but might actually improve, for whats left, if Lingering is gone. Sure would like to know why the Culver kid ran off.
    AND
    If there is a proven DC out there looking for a better situation who might be an improvement we arent joined at the hip with Eliot are we? I have relatives in KY who didnt think Eliot was all that hot.(a polite translation)

  14. cjbuffco

    Nice article. The #1 (arguably, according to what leadership training material you reference) characteristic of effective leadership is:

    Decisiveness.

    Leaders do not have to be right all of the time to be credible. What they do need to have: the courage to take action and make the hard decisions.

    I do not have confidence that Macintyre will make the hard decisions unless he is pressed. His comments feel like rationalizations. People usually do not make changes until they have to. I have always been impressed with RG. My hope is that RG force the changes upon Macintyre who does not have a strong staff below him. Doing the same things next year with the same staff would be an example of the definition of insanity.

  15. WarBuff

    Great write up Stuart.

    This past year was an absolute downer, and we all know why. I was hoping for a much better record, but was accepting that a 6-6 record was entirely possible. What I didn’t expect was the absolute no show we got almost the whole year, and like you, fully expect the same next year without SIGNIFICANT changes. Don’t know if the coaches couldn’t motivate this group at any level, or if these players are significantly worse than the majority of PAC12 talent, but Lingering’s consistency as one of the 2 worst offensive PAC12 records his whole time at CU says all that one needs to know. He can’t win, and can’t coach a winner consistently. 1 year out of 6 isn’t good enough.

    I do know that I am sick and tired of recruiting and landing nothing but 3 star players that are “under the radar”. If we are a players best option because it’s either CU, or North Texas, NMU and any school on the Puskers schedule for NC games, we need to be competing and winning against other PAC 12 schools for talent. THis groiup as a whole doesn’t win the talent outside of Chiv.

    Seems to me that this coaching group is OK with being mediocre. Time to find those that aren’t.

  16. Thomas

    Totally agree with all you have written … no way MacIntyre can just ignore that CU 2017 looked nearly identical to CU 2014 (except we had much improved talent on both sides of the ball in 2017) and not address the problems on the coaching side.

    It was a big deal when the AD decided to keep Bill McCartney another year… but McCartney HAD to make changes to his staff. MacIntyre should be forced to do the same. Our offense has never been great under MacIntyre, but for a couple of seasons our D was thanks to Leavitt. It is time to force some changes, I just hope Rick George is willing to tell MacIntyre as much.

    And frankly, if MacIntyre has lost his fire for the game, fine. Walk away with no buy out money. But walk away. I will respect that honesty much more than the lack of fire and effort I saw this team give in Utah at the end of the season.

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