October 15th

Fearless Forecasts

Okay, I was going out on a limb.

Yes, the Buffs had been shutout the last time they traveled to Columbia to play Missouri; and yes, the Tigers were ranked 10th in the nation, giving up only 14 points per game. But was it too much to ask that Colorado actually score two touchdowns on the road?

The answer to that question is, apparently, “yes”.

With the Buffs scoring an average of 3.5 points in two road games, the Friday Fearless Forecasts took another hit, but still checks in at 12-for-15 for the year.

This week’s Forecasts:

Colorado will be successful on a field goal attempt against Baylor.

Colorado has made exactly one field goal this season, and that was made under perfect conditions. It was in the second quarter of the Colorado State game, the first game of the season. The Buffs were already up 14-0, and were dominating the game, so there was little pressure on the kicker, senior Aric Goodman. The kick was not much longer than a field goal (28 yards), and the ball was placed in the middle of the field. There was no wind or other environmental factors. Aric Goodman connected to give Colorado a 17-0 lead …

… and hasn’t made a field goal since.

Goodman missed from 42 yards out against Cal, missed a 52-yarder against Georgia, and then, in what was apparently the last straw, missed a 40-yarder against Missouri. The one-for-four start leaves Goodman with a career mark of 16-for-36 in field goal attempts. After Goodman missed from 40 yards out, the red-shirt was torn off of true freshman Justin Castor, who had his 40–yard attempt against Missouri blocked.

Colorado as a team now is one-for-five on field goal attempts the season, with no successful attempts in the last 18 quarters of play.

So why predict success now? Because of Marcus Kirkwood, of course. The junior walk-on was tabbed this week as the Buffs’ latest best hope to perform the task of actually making a field goal. Kirkwood is a soccer player with all of one year of football experience. He is tall (6’6″), has big feet (size 13), and kicks left-footed.

Well, why not? All Kirkwood can do is miss, and we already have a kicker who can do that.

The only real surprise here is that, now that Justin Castor has burned his red-shirt year, that he is not being given a greater opportunity to perform on the field (Note to coaching staff: Being shutout, in Columbia – again! – aside, why didn’t you give Castor another chance against Missouri? The game was well in hand for the Tigers in the fourth quarter, when the Buffs had the ball in field goal range three times, but each time went for a first down on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal. It would have been logical to give Castor a chance to be successful in a situation with relatively little pressure … but that’s just me).

So, good luck to Mr. Kirkwood, the Buffs’ latest in a line of great Coloraodo field goal kickers!

– Barring injury, Cody Hawkins will not play a down at quarterback this Saturday.

Near the end of fall camp, Buff fans heard the news that they had been waiting for: junior Tyler Hansen would be the starting quarterback. Hansen was given assurances by his head coach and offensive coordinator that the Buffs were his team to lead. Hansen was told that he did not  have to waste any precious time looking over his shoulder, wondering if he was about to be yanked if there was an errant toss or a bad read.

Hansen was the starting quarterback. Period.

You can imagine Hansen’s surprise and frustration, then, when the coaching staff pulled Hansen in the third quarter of a 19-0 game. True, Hansen had been called for intentional grounding in the first quarter against the Tigers, which led to a Missouri safety. Hansen’s overal numbers for the game – 15-for-21, 117 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions – however, were not the primary cause of the Buffs’ failure to score. Head coach Dan Hawkins said he was hoping that son Cody would add a “spark” to the offense. Cody Hawkins finished the game hitting on 16-of-25 passes for 133 yards, no touchdowns, one interception. No points.

Hansen was reassured over the weekend that he will be the starter against Baylor, but you have to wonder about his overall confidence level after he was pulled against Missouri. There was no upside to Dan Hawkins’ move, and it only served to help erode the Buff Nation’s confidence in Hawkins’ ability to coach the Buffs.

Which is why Cody will not play against Baylor. If the Buffs are playing well, there will be no reason to pull Hansen. If the Buffs are playing poorly, an already restless and vocal Folsom Field crowd will not treat the replacement of the starting quarterback warmly. Cody’s entrance into the game would be met with a chorus of boos from a Buff Nation already looking for papa Hawkins’ head on a platter.

So it won’t happen.

A running back other than Rodney Stewart will carry the ball against Baylor.

This is not as easy a prediction to make as it sounds.

Through five games this season, only three running backs have carried the ball for Colorado: junior Rodney Stewart; junior Brian Lockridge (now out for the season with an ankle injury); and true freshman Justin Torres (who left the team last week, and will not be returning). Against Missouri, only Stewart carried the ball as a running back, with wide receiver Travon Patterson getting two end around carries (for a combined negative four yards), and with quarterbacks Tyler Hansen and Cody Hawkins running … for their lives (a combined six carries for minus-26 yards, including four sacks).

There are several options for the Buffs this weekend, all of which would entail another back getting their first carry of the season.

Red-shirt freshman Quentin Hildreth opened the season fourth on the tailback depth chart, but has moved up with the losses of Lockridge and Torres. Hildreth has been receiving more reps in practice, and he was the primary backup at running back against Missouri, but has yet to get a carry in a game. That could change against Baylor.

The other option is sophomore Will Jefferson, who was moved over from wide receiver this week. The move was greeted enthusiastically by Jefferson. “Whatever the coaches want, I’ll do,” said Jefferson. In high school, Jefferson actually spent most of his time at running back, carrying the ball 116 times his senior year, going for 755 yards and four touchdowns. “The only difference for me in playing receiver or running back is the few steps I take before getting the ball,” said Jefferson, who has 4.41 speed. “Once I get the ball, I run with the same mind-set”.

One issue Jefferson will have to deal with that he hasn’t of late, though, is pass blocking. Look for Baylor to blitz when Jefferson is in the game, forcing him to pick up oncoming rushers. “I like contact,” said Jefferson. “I’ve always been a physical player. That’s my style of football.”

Buff fans will find out Saturday if the experiment works out.

November 6th – A big day for Colorado fans?

Big 12 conference games on November 6th include Oklahoma State venturing into Austin to take on Texas, and Oklahoma heading south to face the 12th man at Texas A&M. Missouri and Nebraska, after taking each other on in a game which will likely decide the Big 12 North on October 30th, will be taking on Texas Tech and Iowa State, respectively.

The Colorado game at Kansas that day will likely attract little attention. It may well feature two teams entering the month of November will little to play for but pride.

Which is why it may be a red-letter day for the Buff Nation.

Colorado, winless on the road since October, 2007, has three more tries  to notch a “W” in the road column in 2010. The games at Oklahoma and at Nebraska may turn out to be “hide the women and children” games … which leaves the game against Kansas in Lawrence as the Buffs’ last best chance to win a game on the road before joining the Pac-12 next season.

The chances of that happening are looking better right now, after Kansas suffered its second straight humiliating defeat. The Jayhawks opened their 2010 Big 12 campaignwith a 55-7 beat down at the hands of Baylor. The Kansas players had a week off to think about the loss, a bye week to prepare for in-state rival Kansas State. While the Jayhawks were resting, the Wildcats were absorbing a 48-13 thrashing of their own by Nebraska.

Kansas was set to play one of their main rivals, at home, after a bye week … and went out Thursday and got mauled by Kansas State, 59-7.

For those scoring at home, that a combined score of 116-14 in two Big 12 games for the Jayhawks. This from a team which opened the Turner Gill era with a September loss to North Dakota State. Kansas has now lost nine consecutive conference games (starting with the 34-30 loss to Colorado in Boulder last year, after a 5-0 start).

Colorado meets Kansas in Lawrence on November 6th. Between now and then, Colorado has Baylor and Texas Tech at home, then a trip to Oklahoma. Kansas will host Texas A&M next week, before traveling to Ames to face Iowa State before taking on the Buffs.

The focus of attention on the Big 12 on November 6th will likely focus on the Oklahoma schools taking on Texas A&M and Texas.

But Colorado fans will have their attention fixed on Dan Hawkins finally winning a Big 12 North game on the road.

Octobe 14th

Buffs lose yet another defensive back

Beginning to wonder if Ashley Ambrose has any eligibility left?

The Buffs’ defensive backs coach may be wondering the same thing, as the already depleted ranks in the secondary lost yet another member, as freshman Josh Moten was suspended indefinitely after being arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of third-degree assault and domestic violence.

A physical altercation between Moten and a former girlfriend occurred early Tuesday morning when the couple sparred over a pair of earrings. Moten reportedly pushed the woman after she slapped him. The incident, according to Boulder Police commander Tim McGraw was “real minor”, and McGraw did not rule out citing the woman as well.

Until the matter is resolved, Moten has been suspended from the team. Moten was a member of the 2009 recruiting class, but gray-shirted due to issues over his test scores. Moten enrolled in January as a true freshman, and did not play in the first five games of the season.

October 12th

Defensive backfield continues to lose bodies

Attrition continues to hit the Colorado defensive backfield … with two of the best passing offenses in the Big 12 coming to town …

Junior safety Anthony Perkins is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL during the Missouri game. “He’s a warrior”, said Dan Hawkins of Perkins, who played the entire second half with the injury. “We will miss him physically and emotionally.”

Perkins will be replaced by either red-shirt freshman Deji Olatoye, or by a true freshman, Terrel Smith or Jered Bell. First-year defensive backs coach Ashley Ambrose did not rule out bringing in Arthur Jaffee to compete for the position.

Perkins joins a growing list of injured defensive backs. Safety Vince Ewing was lost for the season during fall camp. Against Colorado State, Parker Orms went down, quickly followed by Travis Sandersfeld and Paul Vigo. Orms, like Ewing and Perkins, is lost for the year, while Sandersfeld and Vigo could be back within the next few weeks.

Running back shuffle

At first, it appeared as if running back Brian Lockridge had only been slowed by an injured ankle. Now, however, Lockridge will undergo surgery to repair his ankle, and will be out for the remainder of the year.

The running back corps, already hurt by the defections of Darrell Scott and Demetrius Sumler, lost Justin Torres last week, when the freshman returned home. Now the Buffs are down to Rodney Stewart – who has yet to make it through the season without injury – and three true freshmen. To assist the depleted crew, sophomore wide receiver Will Jefferson will be spending time with the running backs this week.

“There won’t be any slow up at all,” said Jefferson of the move. “I’ve played running back my entire life.”

Kicker No. 3?

Apparently freshman Justin Castor’s audition lasted just one kick …

At his Tuesday press conference, Dan Hawkins intimated that junior walk-on Marcus Kirkwood could be the Buffs’ kicker against Baylor. The 6’6″, 220-pound left-footed kicker joined the Buffs midway through the 2009 season, despite never having played organized football. In the spring, Kirkwood went two-for-six on field goal attempts … but did go five-for-five on PAT’s!

Senior kicker Aric Goodman is one-for-four on the season. Goodman made his first attempt of the season, a 28-yarder in the first half of the Colorado State game, and has since missed from 42, 52, and 40. Freshman Justin Castor had his first attempt of the season, a 40-yarder last weekend against Missouri, blocked.

October 11th

Baylor wide receivers avoid suspensions after arrests

Imagine if this happened in Boulder …

Starting wide receiver Josh Gordon, along with backup tight end Willie Jefferson, were arrested a week ago Sunday at 2:00 a.m. in Waco. The pair were passed out in the drive thru of a Taco Bell. Police found marijuana in the vehicle, and both were charged with misdemeanor possession.

Gordon, with team highs of 14 catches for 327 yards and four touchdowns, along with Jefferson, were punished “internally”, according to a spokesman for Baylor. “It’s all going to be handled internally,” said the spokesman late last week. “(Head coach Art) Briles may have already made that decision.”

Was Gordon suspended, even for one game?

 Guess not.

Against Texas Tech this past weekend, Gordon had five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Willie Jefferson did not play.

Guess Jefferson served the suspension for both players …

Brian Lockridge out

Junior running back Brian Lockridge didn’t play last weekend due to a sprained ankle.  Now it turns out it may be much more.

Lockridge underwent an MRI which showed a possible muscle tear. The injury may respond to treatment, but it is possible that Lockridge may have to undergo surgery. “I really don’t know. I’m 50-50,” said Lockridge. “I talked to a doctor and it’s not looking too good … It could be (a fracture) or a muscle tear. So, we’re just going to see if we can get by with that, and hopefully it won’t end my season.”

Lockridge had the first 100-yard game of his career against Hawai’i. The junior has accumulated 146 yards rushing, 33 yards receiving, and 218 yards on kickoff returns. Having played in four games, he is not eligible for a medical red-shirt even if he does not play in another game.

In Lockridge’s place, red-shirt freshman Quentin Hildreth becomes Rodney Stewart’s primary backup. Hildreth played in the game against Missouri, but did not have a carry in the game. The only other running back to have a carry so far this year is true freshman Justin Torres, who left the team last week. Three other true freshman running backs are on the roster, Tony Jones, Trea Jones, and Cordary Clark, but it was assumed that all three of these players were destined to red-shirt. Now, one or more of them may see action in 2010 if Brian Lockridge is lost for the year.

Texas Tech does suspend players …

While Baylor handles the arrest of its players “internally”, Texas Tech has suspended a player for the remainder of the season.

Junior defensive end Scott Smith was suspended for the rest of 2010, head coach Tommy Tuberville announced Monday. The suspension is for a violation of team rules, though Tuberville refused to elaborate. “He made a mistake, but he’ll pay for it, and he’ll be out the rest of the season,” said Tuberville. “He’ll be able to practice and go through practices, and continue to learn.”

Smith played in the first four games of the season, and started against Iowa State. The 6’6″, 266-pound junior had 14 tackles in the first four games, including four for loss and three sacks. Smith also had an interception.

Buffs not ready for primetime

The Colorado/Texas Tech game will kickoff at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday, and will not be televised.

Better Big 12 television options? Nebraska at Oklahoma State certainly will be a higher profile matchup next week, as will Oklahoma at Missouri. But Iowa State at Texas? Kansas State at Baylor? Texas A&M at Kansas?

How far the Buffs have fallen …

One Reply to “The Colorado Daily – Baylor”

  1. It is wonderful news! Who in the hell wants to Dan Hawkins pull Rodney Stewart in the first quarter and replaces him with his kid? No, not Tyler Hanson, Rodney Stewart. This is what kind of nonsense Colorado tolerates and I am completely ashamed to see these idiotic antics on regional broadcast let alone national TV. The really depressing part is the long rebuilding process with a new coach will have to start all over when Hawk and his loser kid finally blow town. I wonder if it will look anything like one of Cody’s wounded duck passes?

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