Throwbacks

For their game against the Wyoming Cowboys, the Buffs donned 1937 vintage jerseys (what? No leather helmets?). The uniforms were a dull gold with black numerals; the helmets and pants silver. It was a “throwback” weekend in Folsom Field, as the Buffs did what they used to do when they played Wyoming decades ago – dominate.

A few words about the vintage uniforms … Ugg-ahh-lee! Memo to marketing staff: First, thank you for not choosing to put CU fans through a 25th anniversary restoration of the baby blue uniforms from 1984 (sorry, make that “Colorado sky blue at 9,000 feet”). However, if you wanted to actually market and sell vintage uniforms, you might have been better served by going with a 20th anniversary replica of the 1989 jerseys (now, those were cool uniforms!). You might ponder this as you crate up the unsold 1937 jerseys for their “Goodwill Tour” of a country where football is actually soccer.

As for the game, the throwback to a defense which could shutout an opponent was well received, and much appreciated. A decent crowd of 50,535, buoyed by a number of Wyoming fans hoping to bear witness to only the third win over Colorado in school history, saw the Buffs dominate from the opening series. For a defense giving up 500 yards per game, a 230 yard effort was just what the doctor ordered.

Still, while Buff fans can bask in the glow of the first win in 315 days – there is still much to temper the enthusiasm:

1) Three weeks ago, an objective look at the schedule would have probably resulted in “Wyoming” as being penciled in as the most likely win of the season. A new coach (albeit Dave Christiansen, mastermind behind the 58-0 shutout by Missouri last fall), with no returning running backs and no quarterback. The Buffs could have and should have counted on this victory;

2) Toledo ain’t that great. The Buffs made the Rockets and their quarterback, Aaron Opelt, look like world-beaters a week ago. Notice how well Opelt did against Ohio State? Under 200 yards passing in 45 attempts – 0-38 final score.

3) The first three games of the 2009 season represented the easiest quarter on the schedule. Up this next quarter: at West Virginia; at Texas; and Kansas.

Yes, West Virginia lost last night (40-31, on the road at Auburn), but the Mountaineer offense, even without Pat White and four offensive linemen from last season, remains potent. West Virginia was up 14-0 before five minutes had been played. Quarterback Jarrett Brown is just as elusive as White was, Noel Devine had 128 yards and three touchdowns, and wide receiver Jock (“I’ll try an avoid another felony charge if you’ll let me play”) Sanders had 115 yards receiving. If you watched the game, you know that it was West Virginia’s six turnovers, not the lack of talent on offense, which turned the tide in favor of the Tigers. (Note: Colorado has forced only five turnovers in three games – the Buffs may need to double that total to stay with West Virginia).

As for Texas and Kansas … for now, I’ll spare you the comparison of the Rockets’ Opelt to the Longhorns’ Colt McCoy and the Jayhawks’ Todd Reesing …

4) the Colorado offense is still in low gear. Yes, it was great to see Speedy over 100 yards, and yes, it was good to see Cody Hawkins manage the offense better than the first two games, but the CU offense is far from a polished product. There were two good touchdown drives, but in between, there were ill-timed penalties, misreads, and missed opportunities. The Buffs posted 326 yards of total offense – not bad, but that number is only a few yards above the 2008 season average of 318.5 – a number which ranked Colorado 95th in the nation.

5) Will the Buffs ever produce a wide receiver? Congratulations to Scotty McKnight, who continues to set records and move up the all-time lists, but really … is Scotty all the Buffs have? We’ve been living the dream of a complement to Scotty since last February:

– All hail the incoming freshmen, Jarrod Darden and Terdema Ussery!;

– Former running backs Brian Lockridge and Kevin Moyd spend the spring working with the wideouts!;

– Will Jefferson signs right before fall camp opens; dazzles staff and players!;

– Former cornerback Anthony Wright moves to wide receiver to add speed and depth!;

– Andre Simmons finally a Buff!!; and, most recently

– Markques Simas off of suspensions, ready to break out!

The box score from the Wyoming game: Scotty McKnight, five catches; tight end Riar Geer, four catches; Jason Espinoza, three catches. Of those players mentioned above, Brian Lockridge had one catch, as did Will Jefferson. In three games, the seven wideouts listed as potential new stars in the Colorado passing game have a total of five catches.

The Buffs will not be, and cannot be, a threat in the Big 12 North unless there is more to the Colorado passing game than Scotty McKnight and Riar Geer.

(Hey, if it doesn’t work out in 2009, we can all spend the off-season getting excited about transfer Toney Clemons and the return of Kendrick Celestine!).

I understand that the above sounds negative, and that is the last thing Colorado fans want to read about after posting a 24-0 shutout. Still, this is not the dawn of a new day in Colorado football. It will take exemplary efforts by the offense, defense, and special teams if the Buff hope to win even one of the next three games.

“It’s the little things that decide games,” said Dan Hawkins after the Wyoming win. “We got gashed a couple of times on defense the last couple of weeks. It wasn’t massive things. It was the little things …”.

Here’s hoping that the Buffs can continue to improve upon the “little things” …

Now, about those uniforms …

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