September 23rd

By the Numbers

What does a 24-0 shutout do for a team which was ranked no higher than 100th in the nation in six statisitical categories?

Great things, apparently.

Now, after three weeks of play, the Buffs are only ranked in the bottom twenty in the nation in three statistical categories … yea! Granted, Colorado is still in the 100’s in rushing offense (106th – ouch!), rushing defense (104th – not completely unexpected) and pass efficiency defense (100th – yuck), but the Buffs have made progress in the areas of total defense (99th, up from 111th), scoring defense (78th, well up from the ranking of 107th a week ago), and sacks allowed (93rd, up from 104th). The Buffs also moved up in net punting (42nd, up significantly from 75th), pass defense (75th, up from 98th), and sacks (38th, up from 67th).

If it’s any consolation, there are only three categories in which a Big 12 North team leads the conference – pass efficiency defense (Kansas State), pass efficiency (Missouri), and sacks allowed (Iowa State).

Dare to dream – Colorado is just another shutout or two away from really making a statisical splash!

Roster updates

As the Buffs’ bye week continues, the roster continues to improve in terms of healthy bodies. As noted last night, offensive lineman Bryce Givens in back on the practice field, after being out last week for personal reasons. When asked if Givens would be coming back to play, Dan Hawkins said, “He’ll go”.

Also back practicing with the offensive linemen is Maxwell Tuioti-Mariner. MTM, out since early August with an MCL injury, was first destined to be gone for two years on a Mormon mission, but decided to stay and play with his teammates. While back practicing, it remains uncertain as to whether the freshman guard (MTM received a medical redshirt for 2008, and thus remains a freshman) will be able to play in 2009. “We’ll see how I progress as I get out there,” said Tuioti-Mariner. “I definitely don’t want to rush things. But it feels good.”

Hoping for an earlier return is defensive lineman Nick Kasa. Out since August 17th, the true freshman may still play this season. Kasa’s knee did not require surgery, and the rehabilitation has gone well enough to allow Kasa to resume practice. “It felt good to get out there,” said Kasa. “We’ll see how it progresses and what the best course of action will be as I get back into it a little bit more.”

Noting that the Buffs’ rushing offense and rushing defense are both still in the 100’s nationally, the return of any or all of the above three players will be considered a bonus by Buff fans. Of the three, the least likely to play any time soon is MTM, with Givens hopefully back in the mix for West Virginia.

Also back at practice was running back Darrell Scott. The sophomore running back did not play against West Virginia, a late scratch due to a lingering knee injury. As for the West Virginia game, Scott was optimistic. “I’m good,” said Scott. “(the knee) felt good today (Tuesday)”. Scott also indicated that he was willing to resume kickoff return duties. “Oh yeah,” said Scott, who averaged 26.3 yards in 13 kickoff returns in the first two games. “I love it”.

 

September 22nd

First peek under the hood – West Virginia’s offense

Okay, so the game is not until next Thursday, and there is still plenty of time to bask in the glow of the first Buffs’ victory in ten months, but here are just a few tidbits about the West Virginia offense which I hope the Colorado coaches are posting on the CU bullentin board (the complete “T.I.P.S.” for the West Virginia game will be posted on Sunday):

– Running back Noel Devine had a 71-yard scoring run early in the first quarter against Auburn. For the Buffs, such a run would have been the longest run from scrimmage in the Dan Hawkins’ era. For the Mountaineer junior, it was only the fourth longest of his career. (For those counting, the last time a Buff ran for that many yards in one play – Hugh Charles had a 74-yard touchdown run against Oklahoma State in 2005).

– The 41-30 loss to Auburn marked only the second time since 2000 that the Mountaineers have scored 30 or more points in a game – and lost. West Virginia is 60-2 when scoring 30 or more in that span – and the Mountaineers have scored 30 or more in each game this season.

– Wide receiver Jock Sanders (more on him, and his rap sheet, on Sunday) tied a school record with 12 receptions against Auburn.

– West Virginia has had five scoring drives consuming less than 2:05 in game clock this season; three have taken under a minute.

It’s time to dig out the tape from last year’s game, and figure out how the Buffs held this team to 14 points last season!

UPDATE – It is being reported that red-shirt freshman offensive lineman Bryce Givens, out last week for “personal reasons”, is back practicing with the team. Also back is freshman quarterback Jerry Slota, who was previously had been suspended for violation of team rules.

September 21st

Walking wounded

The Buffs have this Saturday off, with ten days to prepare for their road trip to Morgantown to face West Virginia. The extra days will give some of the Colorado players some extra time to heal. An update as to some of the Buffs’ walking wounded …

Darrell Scott was a surprise scratch Saturday morning, out with a bruised knee. According to offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau, Scott will be at full speed for the West Virginia game (there is some internet chatter about Scott’s work ethic, but, at least for now, I am going to resist jumping on the “Marcus Houston II” bandwagon. I remain very hopeful that Scott will prove to be a star running back at Colorado) …

Scott’s absence opened the door for Rodney Stewart to carry the ball 32 times against Wyoming. Believe it or not, Stewart was also on the injured list prior to the Wyoming game (hamstring). Stewart’s 127 yards and two touchdowns later … uh, Stewart’s a 100% go for West Virginia.

Two players out for most of the fall are getting closer to being on the field … Defensive end Nick Kasa suffered a torn MCL in his left knee on August 17th, but will return to practice Tuesday. “I don’t think I’m red-shirting right now, but I have to see how I’m practicing”, said Kasa. “If I can play really good, then, yeah, I want to come back. But if I’m not ready to go, then a red-shirt might be the best thing for me.” … Not quite as far along is offensive guard Maxwell Tuioti-Mariner. MTM, who has undergone ACL surgeries on both knees in the past year, is reportedly two to three weeks away from full-speed workouts.

One player who remains out is offensive lineman Bryce Givens. Givens, who was allowed to leave the team for “personal reasons” last week, remains out.

Other notes on the injury front … Linebacker Shaun Mohler, who was out for the Toledo game with a concussion, had three tackles against Wyoming and is a full go for West Virginia … Wide receiver Markques Simas, back from suspension, received his first start against Wyoming, but did not play much of the game and did not record a catch. Simas continues to suffer from a sprained knee, and Simas played sparingly. “I didn’t get as many reps as I wanted,” said Simas. “My knee was kind of bothering me, but I’m happy with the win”, adding,”I’ll be all right after this bye week.”

September 20th

Buffs pick up two more (soft) commitments!

Both Rivals and Scout are reporting that Corona, California, defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe has given his commitment to play for Colorado. Uzo-Diribe is 6’4″, 227 pounds, and reportedly runs a 4.7 40.  The California defensive end is rated as a three-star prospect, the 107th best defensive end in the country.

This should still be considered as a “soft” commitment, however, as Uzo-Diribe is still planning on making official visits to other schools this fall. Uzo-Diribe will be making his official visit to Colorado the weekend of  October 30th (the Missouri game), with other visits planned for Arizona (November 7th) and UCLA (November 20th).

Uzo-Diribe is the sixth known commitment of the 2010 recruiting class. The Buffs presently have four offensive commitments (quarterback, running back, tight end, and guard) and two on the defensive side of the ball (defensive end and middle linebacker).

The seventh commitment of this year’s class is only presently being reported by Rivals. Linebacker Lowell Williams, from Missouri City, Texas, made his verbal commitment after making his official visit this past weekend. Williams is 6′ 1″, 210 pounds, and is considered a three star prospect. Williams is being recruited by Big 12 rivals Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas, and Oklahoma State, but has not yet scheduled any other official visits.

September 19th

Scott out for Wyoming game

Not that the Buffs needed any more bad news, but it is being widely reported that Darrell Scott will not play today against Wyoming. Scott has a knee issue (no more information disclosed) which hampers his ability to cut. 

Rodney Stewart also has been limited in practice (sprained MCL), but is expected to play …

September 18th

Amidst Chaos – a commitment

Despite all of the negative press the Buffs have been receiving of late, there was a bit of good news late this week.

Offensive guard prospect Daniel Munyer has become the latest commitment for the Colorado recuiting class of 2010. It is being reported that Munyer, a 6’3″, 265 pound guard from Sherman Oaks, California, has committed to be a Buff. Munyer is ranked as the 83rd best guard in the nation, and chose Colorado over a number of other schools (though none from BCS conferences), including Colorado State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, and UNLV. Munyer may play either guard or center at Colorado. “I sat down with my parents and I went over all my options,” Munyer told Scout.com, “and I felt that I could succeed with all my goals academically and with football at Colorado, so I felt that was the right decision for me to make.”

Welcome to the Buff Nation, Daniel!

Wide Receivers ready to show their stuff?

After two games, the only statistic in which the Buffs are within shouting range of decent, is … drum roll … passing offense. Okay, so it makes sense that Colorado is ranked 18th nationally in passing, especially when you take into account the fact that the Buffs have trailed by double digits for much of their first two games.

Still, there is something to build on here, and Markques Simas is anxious to be a participant. After waiting two years and two games to put on a game jersey, Simas is ready to play. In an interview with BuffStampede.com, Simas has “no excuses” for not being ready. “I have been keeping my nose in it, making sure that I am where I am supposed to be,” said Simas, who will play for the first time this Saturday. “I have been paying close attention in meetings, getting my film work in, so I’ll be good.”

Simas also feels that one of the other purported saviors of the wide receiver corps, transfer Andre Simmons, is ready to break out. “This offense is not an easy one to learn,” said Simas. “It takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of repetition, and then (Simmons) coming out here and not being able to practice as soon as he got out here hurt him, too,” adding that Simmons “should be getting a lot better as the season progresses.”

September 17th

Lies, Damed Lies, and Statistics

You just gotta love Dave Plati.

Even in the depths of one of the worst weeks in recent Colorado history, the CU Assistant AD/Media Relations came up with a positive spin on the Buffs’ atrocious defense. True, the Buffs have given up 1,000 yards in two games, Dave acknowledges. Yes, the Colorado defense has given up 16 plays of over 20 yards, with eight of those going for over 40. The 16 plays have accounted for 676 yards (the total goes up to 788 yards if you count an additional eight plays of over ten yards.

What does it all mean? Glad you asked. Dave points out that all of those “explosion” plays account for 79 percent of the yards, with the remaining plays netting only 212 yards, or 2.3 yards per play. How about that! Almost 80% of the time, the Colorado defense holds the opposition to just over two yards per play!! “So if and when the coaches solve the big play issues,” Dave writes, “the appearance is that this could wind up being a pretty good defense.”

Talk about trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear! All we have to do is get rid of those pesky “explosion” plays, and the Buffs will have a great defense!

I can’t wait …

Real Numbers

With the two losses to end the 2008 season, Colorado is presently on a four game losing streak. That number ties the Buffs for the seventh worst current streak in college football. Of the teams that are worse, only one, Virginia, with a six game losing streak, plays in a BCS conference.

One team of note … Miami (Ohio) is third on the list, currently suffering through a seven game losing streak. Did you notice that the RedHawks, the team that Colorado was supposed to play last weekend, is 0-2 on the season, having been out-scored by the count of 90-0 (42-0 loss to Kentucky; 48-0 loss to Boise State)?

If only … okay, sour grapes.

Injury Update

Other than Nick Kasa and MTM, who will each be out at least another few weeks, all of the players listed on the Colorado injury list are considered “probable”, with the exception of senior linebacker Shaun Mohler, who is listed as “day-to-day”. Notables on the “probable” list include quarterback Cody Hawkins (concussion), Darrell Scott (bruised knee), Rodney Stewart (hamstring), and Markques Simas (sprained knee).

Not on the list is guard Bryce Givens, who remains gone from the team. Offensive line coach said Givens was “dealing with personal issues”, but did not elaborate. There have been a number of rumors and posts on the internet about Givens’ status with the team, but since nothing has been confirmed, I’ll leave it with the attributed quote. As soon as there is more substantiated information, I’ll let you know.

 

 September 16th

Depth Chart Issues

Buffstampede.com is reporting that starting right tackle Bryce Givens is not currently with the team, as he deals with what are described as “personal issues”. Ryan Miller, the former tackle moved to guard, has moved back to tackle (which presumably will move Miller’s backup, Blake Behrens, back to starting at guard. Behrens became a starter last year after Miller and MTM were injured).

Other items of note from the Wyoming game depth chart: Markques Simas is finally listed on the roster (story below).  Suspended for the first two games for violation of “team rules”, Simas is in the wide receiver grouping for the first time this season. The sophomore is listed as “injured”, but Simas, who has what is described as a “slightly strained MCL” has no qualifications about his being on the field against Wyoming. “I’m going to play; I’m playing regardless”, said Simas.

Those hoping for a switch at quarterback can get back into their seats. Tyler Hansen is now listed below true freshman Seth Lobato on the depth chart. Hansen, along with Clark Evans, is now listed amongst those slated as “plans to redshirt, but could play if injuries dictate otherwise”.

Also worthy of note. Two injured players are back listed as starters: Center Mike Iltis  and safety Patrick Mahnke. Linebacker Shaun Mohler, who sat home last weekend with a concussion, has also been cleared to play against Wyoming.  

Throwbacks

Have you seen the throwback uniforms the Buffs are going to be wearing this Saturday? http://www.cubuffs.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=600&ATCLID=204794844

Gold uniforms; silver pants – the uniforms from 1937, the year Byron “Whizzer” White became the Buffs’ first All-American. Also planned: field lettering will be from 50 years ago; the Boulder sesquicentennial (that’s 150 years, folks) will be acknowledged, as will be Jenny Barringer, who, if you have been staying up on cubuffs.com posts, is simply amazing (Barringer will be presented with her award as being the Honda Track and Field Athlete of the Year).

 While the throwback uniforms are a good idea, and may draw in a few more fans, the game is not going to be televised, so most of us will not get to see what the uniforms look like other than through a few still pictures.

Oh well. While the uniforms are ugly, you have to give props to the athletic department for trying to attract more attention to a game which did not look to be a sell out – even before the disasterous open to the season …

Simas offensive savior – or latest disappointment?

Markques Simas, the scout team wonder who has yet to play a down for the Buffs, will make his debut on Saturday. A academic, then a “team rules” casualty, Simas has been waiting to make his contribution to the wide receiver corps which is in desperate need of a spark. “I don’t want to keep hearing, ‘he could have been this, he could have been that’,” said Simas. “I want to be that guy. I want to be one of the best receivers at Colorado.”

While Simas’ attitude and confidence are refreshing, and while his introduction to 1-A football this weekend gives Buff fans looking for anything to be optimistic about something to talk about, it’s hard not to be skeptical. Remember how excited we were when the Buffs signed three new receivers last spring? Remember the internet frenzy over Andre Simmons’ qualifying? Remember how Will Jefferson took fall practice by storm? Yeah, me too. Here’s hoping that Markques Simas is worth all the print he has generated over the past two plus seasons …

September 14th

Gruesome Numbers

The Colorado defense has given up an even 1,000 yards in the first two games. That’s 500/game, more than double what the top teams in the nation gave up last season. Overall, the Buffs rank 111th out of 120 teams in total defense (98th in pass defense; 107th in scoring defense; and 112th in rush defense). To be honest, I am surprised that the there are  nine teams ranked lower than the Buffs in total defense (of course, none are in BCS conferences).

If the Buffs continue down this road, they will set any number of negative records. The worst Colorado defense in school history was not that long ago, and that 5-7 team gave up 5,185 yards in 2003. The 2009 version is on a pace to give up a cool 6,000. The worst season in terms of average was the infamous 1980 squad, which gave up an average of 464.4 yards/game on its way to a 1-10 record.

Yuck. You get the idea …

“We’ve got to get back to the basics and emphasize techniques and coverages that we know, and get better,” said defensive coordinator Ron Collins. “We had too many people trying to run in and out of the field; that was an issue.”

A few more record notes from the Toledo Massacre …

The 38 points was the second most points scored by the Buffs when losing a game. The most? The 42 points in the 82-42 record-smasher against Oklahoma in 1980.

The eight kickoff returns by Darrell Scott tied a school record, first set by Walter Stanley against Nebraska in 1981. The score of that game? Um … 59-0.

Not exactly records you want to be setting …

Where is Darrell?

Those clamouring for more from Darrell Scott will be surprised to learn that Scott had the fourth most total yards in a game Saturday. Scott had 290 all-purpose yards (the record was set by Rashaan Salaam, who had 362 against Texas – 317 rushing, 45 yards receiving). The sad part is that 204 yards were in kick returns, with one yard receiving and 85 yards rushing – all in the first half.

Collateral Damage

One clear cause-and-effect that comes with a stretch of losing games (and seasons) is the negative impact the losses have on recruiting. The Buffs’ 2010 class, already sparse in comparison to their Big 12 bretheren, lost a commitment this past weekend. Zack Craig, a cornerback commitment from Texas, switched his commitment from Colorado to Oklahoma State.

While it is true that Craig did have ties to Oklahoma State, there is more bad news. Mister Jones, a June running back commitment from Denver (Littleton), has become a “soft verbal”. While not de-commiting, Jones is now planning on taking official visits to other schools. Jones’ quotes tell you all you need to know about the state of the 2010 recruiting class. “I mean, it’s obvious,” said Jones. “They lost to like Toledo and Colorado State the last couple of weeks. The CU program isn’t doing too good right now.”

Hard to argue with the young man …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.