Fourth Down, Forever to Go …

CU in 2014?

The University of Colorado football program took a step backward in the 2012 edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown … and it may take two years to recover.

Neither Colorado nor Colorado State played particularly well Saturday in CSU’s 22-17 victory. This was to be expected from two programs coming off of a 2011 season in which the two teams played to a combined final record of 6-19. However, the Rams played better, and with more emotion, than did the Buffs.

As big a fan of Jon Embree as I am, the game came down to a series of fourth down calls … And new Ram head coach Jim Elwain did a better job with his decisions than did Embree.

This is not to say that Embree did not have the better of it early on …

4th down No. 1 … The set-up: In the first series of the second quarter, with CU down 3-0, Colorado had the ball at the CSU 28-yard line, fourth-and-seven. Rather than kick a field goal, Embree decided to go for a first down. (Side note: Why was their no confidence in sophomore kicker Justin Castor to kick a 45-yard field goal to tie the game? There were swirling winds, to be sure, but the CSU kicker, Jared Roberts, had made a 47-yarder going that same direction a few minutes earlier, and sophomore Buff kicker Castor had fared well – 5-of-6 from 40 yards or longer – in such kicks in 2011. Why not tie the game instead of going for it on fourth-and-seven?). Embree’s decision was rewarded, though, when quarterback Jordan Webb hit Nelson Spruce for 12 yards and a first down. The Buffs scored two plays later to take a 7-3 lead.

4th down No. 2 … The set-up: On the Rams’ ensuing drive, first-year Ram head coach Jim McElwain also decided to go for a first down on fourth down. Colorado State faced a fourth-and-two at their own 46-yard line with ten minutes to go before halftime. The Rams sent running back Tommey Morris up the middle, where he was stopped for a one yard gain by CU senior defensive tackle Will Pericak. Ball turned over on downs. Momentum was clearly on CU’s side of the field.

4th down No. 3 … The set-up: Colorado risked giving the momentum right back to the Rams a few moments later. Taking over at midfield, Colorado drove to the CSU 30, but was stopped, facing a fourth-and-five. Again, Embree decided to forego a field goal attempt, opting to go for it. Webb’s pass fell incomplete, but senior tight end Nick Kasa was interfered with, giving CU a first down at the Ram 16 yard line. Six plays later, Webb hit sophomore wide receiver Tyler McCulloch for a nine yard touchdown and a 14-3 Colorado lead with 4:25 left in the half.

4th down No. 4 … The set-up:  Colorado had survived a fumble by Jordan Webb at midfield, with the defense forcing a fourth-and-15 at the Colorado State 42-yard line with less than a minute to play before halftime. On the previous down, a third-and-21 play, Jim McElwain opted to run up the middle, gaining six yards, content to go into halftime down 14-3. The Buffs called timeout to stop the clock and force CSU to punt. To this point, Embree and Co. were playing by the established book. I have no problem understanding the time out. I wouldn’t have taken it, opting to let the half run out, but I understand the logic: Plenty can go wrong on a punt – the snap could be fumbled, the punt could be blocked, the punt could be shanked. Here, however, Embree and special teams coordinator J.D. Brookhart made a coaching mistake which I believe cost Colorado the game.

The Buffs sent ten men to try and block the kick (fine), leaving sophomore running back D.D. Goodson back to field the kick. When the punt got away successfully, however, that should have been the end of the play. Goodson should have been told to stay far away from any kick which got near him. Even if he fielded the ball cleanly, he wouldn’t have gotten anywhere, as the Buffs did not have a return on. A fair catch was also unnecessary. CSU only had one time out left, so even if Goodson had let the ball go, with the ball downed at the five, the Buffs could have just taken a knee and run out the clock. For the record, this is not just 20/20 hindsight. I do have a witness that heard me say before the kick, after stating that I would not have called time out: “A lot more can go wrong down here (pointing to the redzone in front of us, where Goodson waited for the punt) than can go right back there (pointing back to midfield where the punt was to take place).

Instead, Goodson tried to take in the low punt, coming up on the run. Goodson muffed the punt, which gave CSU the ball at the Colorado 20. On the very next play, CSU scored a touchdown, changing the momentum for the remainder of the contest. For his part, Jon Embree disagreed that the botched punt return changed the game: “Special teams had a block,” said Embree after the game. “We were supposed to get and fair catch it and obviously we didn’t do that. I don’t think it deflated our team by any chance, we had a good mindset coming into halftime.”

4th down No. 5 … The set-up: Colorado trailed late in the third quarter, 16-14. CU linebacker Brady Daigh has just forced a fumble from running back Tommey Morris, recovered by Will Pericak, giving CU the ball at the Colorado State 15 yard line. Five plays got the ball to the CSU three yard line. On third-and-goal, CU running back Malcolm Creer fumbled as he reached for the goal line. The ball was returned 99 yards for a CSU touchdown, but the play was, after replay review, called down. Faced with a fourth-and-goal at the one, Jon Embree decided to go for the touchdown and a 21-16 lead, rather than a chip shot field goal and a 17-16 lead. The play call: a roll out pass, which Jordan Webb threw way too high for tight end Nick Kasa to have any chance at a catch.

Here, the error was not in the choice to go for it on fourth down (I would have done the same), but in the play call. Colorado, in an era of spread offenses and five wide receiver sets, is going old school, with tight ends, a fullback, and a power running game. What does it say about the CU offensive line – and the coaches’ confidence in it – to not simply power the ball into the end zone? Sure, if Webb keeps the ball and rolls out to find an unguarded Kasa, it’s an easy touchdown. But CSU did not sell out, apparently not feeling the need to, and the Buffs received a gift fumble at the opponent’s 15-yard line … and came away with nothing.

4th down No. 6 … The set-up: Two Colorado State field goals, offset by one by the Buffs, made the score 22-17. Colorado, needing a touchdown to win, pushed its final drive to the CSU 39-yard line with 54 seconds to play. Fourth down-and-two to keep the drive alive. The play? A dump off pass to running back Malcolm Creer, which lost a yard, turning the ball back over to the Rams, ending the game.

“We felt it gave us more options, we had three options,” said Embree of the final play call. “We had a run and two guys to throw it to, and they did a good job of defending it. We felt it was better for us. Tony Jones was out with a shoulder and Malcolm Creer got dinged a little bit on that so, we thought that was our best option.”

Game over. Colorado State 22, Colorado 17.

I  have been asked on numerous occasions over the years what was my favorite CU game (the 20-10 victory over Nebraska in 1986), but on only a few times have I been asked about my worst moments. There are certainly many options – the 82-42 loss to Oklahoma in 1980; any number of losses to Nebraska; losses to Drake. The 2006 loss to Montana State was particularly painfully for me, having grown up in, and still living in, Bozeman, Montana, the home of the Bobcats.

Still, my lowest point as a Buff fan came on Thanksgiving Day, 2009. I was driving up the Turnpike (sorry, the Buffalo Highway) on my way from the airport to Boulder for the Nebraska game, to be played the following day. It had just been announced that Dan Hawkins, who everyone had agreed was a goner, would in fact be retained. It was a low point for me, cresting the hill as I made my way down to dear ‘ol CU, as I felt that the decision not only condemned Colorado to another losing season under Hawkins in 2010 (it did), but that it also would kill off two recruiting classes – both the 2010 Class (Hawkins and Co. had only put in a half-hearted effort, with Hawkins – and many of his assistants – likely figuring they would be looking for new employment before the Class could be signed) as well as the 2011 Class, which would be recruited, for the most part, by a lame duck staff.

To me, losing out on two recruiting Classes set the program back two years. Instead of enduring growing pains in 2010 under a new head coach, the Buff Nation had to wait until 2011 for a new coach, with the new head coaching staff all the further behind in terms of assembling talent. Unfortunately, looking at the Colorado roster today, where 65% of the roster are underclassmen, the folly of retaining Hawkins for another season is obvious, with the pain on the field to be extended all the longer.

It was my hope that Colorado could find a way to win five games this season. Sure, the “Goal is a Bowl” slogan is great, and I was hopeful that CU could make it to six wins, but I saw five as a springboard. Five wins would mean progress with a very young team, a team which loses very few players (four senior starters, total), and  which has favorable schedule in 2013 (CSU in Denver, Central Arkansas and Fresno State both at home in non-conference play; Stanford and Washington replaced on the schedule with Cal and Oregon State in Pac-12 play). With five wins in 2012, I reasoned that a run at a bowl game in 2013 would be realistic.

Now, I don’t see it.

The Buffs were kept under wraps in spring and fall practices, perhaps giving us all false hope. True, Colorado had no skill position players coming back on offense, but there was fresh young talent coming up, and, we believed, the veteran offensive line would create holes for the running backs and protect the quarterback. Did anyone see that from the offensive line at the Rocky Mountain Showdown? Me, neither … and this was against one of the poorest defensive lines the Buffs will face all season.

The defense, for the most part, did it’s job, as was expected. When you hold a team under 300 yards of total offense, and give up only 22 points, you should win most of your games. Unfortunately, the Colorado offense, which in 2011 was ranked 92nd in total offense, and 109th in scoring offense, will be even worse this year. The Colorado defense will play better this year, but the effort may not be reflected in the W/L column.

Now, the hope is not for a bowl, or even five wins. It appears that this team will have to improve just to eek out the three wins last year’s team produced. If that is the case, then five wins in 2013 becomes the goal, with a bowl game the hope for the 2014 season.

I hope I’m wrong. As Dave Plati pointed out in his Game Notes, CU struggled in the first game last season (240 yards of total offense against Hawai’i, compared to 245 against CSU), but bounced back with a season-high 582 yards against Cal in week two. Against a mediocre 1-AA team in Sacramento State next week, the Buffs may well produce 582 yards of total offense, but that doesn’t mean that the ship will have been righted. Much more work will have to be done, and quickly: the first six games this season are against teams which posted losing records in 2011; five of the last six games are against teams which had winning records.

From what I saw against Colorado State, the Buffs remain two years away from respectability and a bowl. It makes me sad to write that, but until there is evidence on the field to the contrary …

…. CU in 2014.

25 Replies to “Fourth Down, Forever to Go”

  1. Our performance in this game shows we’ll be fortunate to get 1 win this season. And don’t expect improvement as the season matures, the other teams are improving as well. I saw many mistakes that are typically corrected in junior high. That’s how poorly prepared some of these freshmen are. These kids looked as though they’d never played before. I watched some ACC and SEC games this weekend and saw no where near the level of ineptitude by their freshmen as I did ours.

    Something is very rotten in the CU football program. Only Cabral seems able to consistently produce quality position players at CU. I’d be very interested in an investigative piece that can get to the heart of the problem. Maybe a simple table rating the various factors (entrance requirements, academic rigor, facilities, administration support, coaching, recruiting/athleticism, fan support, donations, etc) on a scale from 1 to 10 would be as illuminating. Use Alabama or LSU as a 10.

    Bottom line……there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for Colorado to lose to a CSU team under any conditions, let alone to one missing several key personnel and under a first year coach.

    As Brant mentioned below, we’re in our 7th year of “re-building” and are regressing!

  2. Coach Embree is making huge progress with all facets of the program…some still unseen by the public. This is a young team as 13 Freshman played on Saturday. The OL will get it done right. Jon and his staff are working hard to right this program and he will get it done! BELIEVE IN EMBREE! The Buffs will be great by 2013 as the OL returns and the Freshman will be experienced and another strong recruiting class enters the program.

    For fun in 2012 they could mix things up with Tony Jones in the backfield and try Christian Powell at RB (he would be similar to LeVeon Bell of Michigan State University) and Alex Wood at FB. Both provide Mass, Strength and Athleticism as both run, block, pass protect and pick up blitz/block and have the ability to block for each other.

    With Wood leading Powell thru the hole we would watch the 500lbs pair of Buffs stampede thru the D-Line into the secondary. We would get to “CU Punish” the opponent’s defense which would be tired & sore by 4Q as CU racks up big yardage on the ground.

    Go Buffs. Believe in Embree!

  3. I thought the point of getting a fullback was to run with a lead blocker…not just add an occasional passing play. I don’t want to see runs out of the ace-formation ever again, I think they are almost always a weaker play than running with an I-formation or a pulled guard or some other kind of lead blocker. Get that big fullback in the game and use him!

  4. Very disappointing….as was mentioned in the piece our “O” line was playing against CSU’s 2nd string given the loss of the players kicked off the team.Does not bode well.I think CSU was ranked 112th BCS school.Do any of you think Embree/Eric are not seasoned/mature enough to lead a BCS school???I must admit every year I seem to buy in (including the early Hawk years).But this loss is sobering and until we see evidence on the field with a quality opponent I will remain skeptical…

  5. Does anyone wonder what has happened to Josh Ford ? This guy rips it up in the last two spring games and then is not seen for the rest of the year! Our running game suck and this poor kid never get to carry the ball in real games. He is the oldest running back on the team….give him some carries……if it doesn’t work out sit him on the bench but just let him have a chance. DD Goodson gets more chances and the kid is awful. When Tony Jones wasn’t delivering he should be yanked out and a new runner given a try. Yes the O-line was pathetic. How about a two fullback backfield? And just run over the top of the O-line. They seem to get a few yards when they gave the fullback the ball(what was it …only once!).
    One last point: If you can’t beat a team by being predictable(power running game)…then be unpredictable. Yes I am talking about trick/clever plays. For some of you older Buff fans you might remember McCartney used them quite a bit in the early 80’s to swing momentum. When you don’t have the talent to go “head to head” you have to out-smart your opponent . Of coarse that is what the CSU coach did to us(onside kick, unorthodox formations etc etc).
    The bottom line is that if a kid in not performing well then give another a chance. Some kids will perform better in games and should not be judged solely by practice ethics.
    I could go on and on but will save it for next week!

    1. Wal:

      Love your point re: unconventional plays. While Coach Mac was not the most innovative play caller at times he knew how to turn a game around with a “gimmick” play. In ’86 he burned Nebraska with the flanker reverse with Soupy Campbell. I’m suddenly nostalgic for those days….

  6. I’m sorry – it wasn’t the kids. Our coaches and Bieniemy in particular were terrible. Webb can’t throw on the run. He proved that repeatedly through the game. But, he hurt CSU at the end of the first half when we opened it up just slightly and CSU was only rushing four. Clearly, CSU went in at halftime and the COACHES changed the plan. Just as obviously, CU went in and accomplished nothing. After halftime, Webb was getting pressure because CSU brought six and covered the swing pass with a linebacker. At what point does Bieniemy use any tactic to take pressure off the quarterback other than rolling him out (draw, middle screen, slant pass to either the tight end or the wide out, bubble screen)? The answer is, he didn’t and CU lost as a result.
    Bieniemy’s call on the goal line declared he lacked confidence in his offensive line and fullback. Run a quarterback sneak! His lack of any deception in any form (counter, pump and go, reverse or the old half-back option) shows a lack of imagination and perhaps contempt for a defense that had a month to prepare for CU. We won’t win many if that is the best he can do.
    Is it too early to get a new offensive coordinator?

  7. Watching the game on Saturday afternoon/evening was quite distressing for me – as it was for all here. Reading Eric Bieniemy’s comments after the game however was even worse. After doing the expected “wish I had that 4th and 18″ call back at the 1/2 yard line” he threw his kids under the bus. A lot of “we expected our kids to play harder and better”. Really? So only a little bit of Saturday’s debacle rests with the adults who are getting paid and the bulk of it rests with the kids? Amazing.

    I understand the lament re: the cupboard being bare when the current staff arrived before last season. I get it. But I also understand that I did not watch the game on Saturday while looking backwards at my TV thru the rear-view mirror of my car. The CSU I saw on the screen was NOT in fact USC inverted. It was CSU. Am I to believe that the talent level at CSU is that much better than it is at CU? I doubt that it is on the field but based upon Saturday it certainly appears to be on the sideline.

    Bieniemy’s play-calling was dreadful and the HC’s decision-making was as well. If you do not believe that from the 1/2 yard line you can line up and run the ball into the end zone on 4th down, then kick the field goal. Is it almost mind-boggling that they could not get the ball in the end zone on a drive that started at the CSU 15 yard line? Sure. But at that point in the game getting points was important.

    Our coaches look very amateurish on game day. Very amateurish indeed. And blaming the kids post-game for what happened on the field does little to nothing to eradicate that image.

  8. Stuart,

    Please tell me there is hope. When was the last time our offense scored 20 or more points consistently?

    Living in Big XII country surrounded by wildcats, jayhawks and tigers doesn’t make the losing any better.

  9. Outcoached… again.

    Started in HI last year (well at least it did for this staff). Then WSU & Cal.

    Another year, same staff, same results.

    Same nauseated feeling I have watching my beloved and once highly respected Buffs.

  10. One thing that I could not help but notice was how how good our defense looked. Major played pretty good contrary to some fans comments, but Derrick Webb and Chidera Uzo Diribe were flat out mean. The secondary was much better than last year. True, last year our secondary would have looked stellar against this Rams team as well, but, the butterflies are out for the kiddies and progress from week one to week two should be amazing in the secondary. Did anybody watch Topou? Holy crap! That kid was double teamed and he crushed em anyway. If he ever figures out that he is not on the offensive line he is gonna be a good one!

  11. Bill Brandt – I am right there with you. I cannot believe that a coaching staff of former Buffaloes cannot get their team fired up and ready to play. I can handle the losing, but I cannot handle the total lack of passion that we have seen for too many years now. I thought Hawkins guys were passionless, but to see it with a Jon Embree team is a real punch in the gut.

  12. Some observations:

    1. No bowl game this year. Maybe a one win season.

    2. I watched a number of games over the past 3 days, and CU and CSU are the worst teams by far that I saw. They are so slow you would think they are playing on soft sand. Arkansas State fell behind Oregon 50-3 in the first half,and The Oregonian called A-State “pathetic”. Well, A-State would stomp on CU.

    3. CU has a mid level Big Sky Conference offensive line. Handler could not block a stationary Volkswagon if it was parked in front of him, and a nimble 12 year old girl could get by him. Munyer looked lost out there.

    4. FOUR STAR NICK KASA was awful on defense last year, and he is awful on offense this year. When Webb was nailed in the back in the 4th period FOUR STAR NICK KASA looked just like a matador as he spun gracefully to let the defensive player slide by towards Webb. I believe the bull fight crowd calls the move a “Veronica”. I actually said Ole’ when I saw the replay.

    5. Parker Orms is more valuable to the Buffs when he is not in the game. In the 4th period when CSU made a nice running gain to left Orms was flattened like an insignificant bug by a blocker, which created a nice big lane for the runner. Does anyone know if Parker’s parents named him Parker after Parker Posey? It’s kind of an upscale girls name.

    6. Jon Major. Was he in the game? He was only mentioned twice by the announcers. Once to say he received 50 scholarship offers coming out of high school (got to be 49 schools happy about his college choice),and once when they said his guy caught the wide open pass in the end zone.

    7. Why do CU receivers ALWAYS run out 2 or 3 yards short of the 1st down marker to make a catch on 3rd down? They did it last year and they are doing it again.

    1. Great points. As for your 7th point, the answer is that our receivers are terribad. Look at our friggin “wide receivers” none of them even pass the eyeball test, but on the other hand they sure are slow. If I could trade the Buffs receivers straight up for the Rams receivers I would do it. That’s depressing.

  13. The Embree watch has begun. 2012 is a lost cause. This does not bode well for the future. Do you have confidence that this staff has the skill to turn Saturday’s “Rocky Mountain Stinkathon” around?

  14. Agree whole-heartedly with Bill Brandt and jeff buff. Never been more embarrassed to be a CU fan in my life. This loss was one more punch in the gut, one more step toward complete irrelevance (if we are not already there). This is the second year for this staff, and regardless of talent deficiencies, I would have expected the coaching staff to make progress and begin to help push this team “over the hump”. That is clearly not happening. That CSU team is not good. They will probably end up with more wins this year than CU just because of the weak conference they play in, but come on, there is no reason the Buffs should have lost that game.

    Jordan Webb is simply not good enough. He would be a backup at CSU, not sure he would even be second string on the other sideline. Being at the game, I had no idea he was hurt, but if he couldn’t get the job done then Connor Wood should have been in the game. I was at the spring game, and by no means did Wood look like a world beater, but I truly believe he could have done everything Webb did yesterday and more. Which makes me really start to doubt this coaching staff and their ability to make the right decisions and evaluate talent. Yes, the O-Line was awful too, but there were plays to be made and Webb didn’t make them. I have seen enough.

    The offensive “game plan” was offensive. 4th and goal from the 1-foot line and you call a roll out pass? That needed to be a QB sneak or fullback dive, and if we don’t get in, so be it. Terrible. EB is not good as an offensive coordinator. Maybe we would have have been better off with EB as the head coach and JE as offensive coordinator. At least then someone else would be calling plays.

    As a season ticket holder I am doubting my own ability to make good decisions with my time and money. The last recruiting class was a good one, largely based on hope and promises of the new coaching staff after a 3-10 season. If we put up another 2 or 3 win season, or even 4 wins, I don’t think talented high school kids are going to buy it anymore. Then we are back to the same pattern we have been in for the last 6 or 7 years. I am depressed.

  15. Thanks for your excellent work, Stuart. You nailed it as usual.

    Best all-time CU victory for me was 10-9 over ND followed closely by 62-36 over NU.

    Watching in disbelief yesterday at the Buffs ineptness for 3 of 4 quarters has left me numb to the program and the idea of real progress any time soon. The Buffs were out-coached, out-schemed, out-played, out-everything’d. The lifeblood of any program is recruiting talent and the results on the field drive the ability to recruit. The lure of opportunity for early playing time that CU used as the carrot for this year’s recruiting class is no longer there. Sadly, yesterday’s performance sends the message that CU is a loooong way from being competitive against solid FBS teams (which CSU is not). Failure to produce wins, especially in winnable games like yesterday, perpetuates the downward spiral we have become accustomed to the last 7 years.

    I love my Buffs and will stand by this team and staff until they turn it around but that is going to be a long and lonely walk.

  16. Bleeding some serious black and gold here… two thoughts. It was obvious to all that Jordan Webb was too injured to be effective. Are our backups that poor that we cannot substitute, if so it will be a loooong season. Second , and this really pains me because I was so excited for him to join the staff, but it is now painfully obvious that EB does not have the ability to be an offensive coordinator. By any fair evaluation our game plan was a continuation of the high school like plans of last year. I have always contended that any coordinator or coach who has first and five or first and goal at the five and does not run the ball four times( QB sneak even) is a moron and should be fired. The only exception is if you have some kind of clear defensive matchup that is easy to exploit on first down. Otherwise you are almost always fail in college. That series killed our momentum in my opinion and was a major factor in us losing the game. Sorry EB and John E , but it really is time for him to go

  17. I agree with everything that has been said on this board, no need to repeat anything. One question- has anyone heard anything about Polk’s injury? I was searching several websites but did not find anything. I would appreciate if anyone has info. Thanks,

    1. It’s listed as an ankle, with Polk “day-to-day” on the injury list.
      Embree, though, said “I think it is going to be a while regardless with him” – for what that is worth …

  18. Rock bottom here. I don’t want to hear about the Fairbanks era anymore. This is worse. We’re in our 7th annual rebuilding project but what are we rebuilding to? In what way have we improved? In what way are we improving? Year after year after year we have a putrid, imcompetent offense. Occasionally we scrape and scratch out a win or two but we never have an identity. When was the last time you remember the Buffs being fun to watch? 2001 right? More than a decade ago. The utter failure to recruit skill position players is an indictment of the coaching staffs going all the way back to Barnett. GB was a fairly solid gameday coach but he wasn’t a good recruiter. He failed to turn a Big XII title into any kind of sustained success. Oh and then there was the faux scandal which didn’t help but I’m digressing.

    After 30+ years as a die hard fan part of me wants to keep ranting and raving and making pointed comments about the offense and defense and playcalling. The other part of me, the larger part is just numbed now. The team I love more than any other is just hapless and helpless. We’re a laughingstock, it’s humiliating to be a fan of a team that is so utterly inept. Everyone in my life knows that saturday is sacred, they know how much I love college football in general and the Buffs in particular. The wry looks I get on monday mornings after yet another embarrassment are very painful to me. I know I’m a grown man and shouldn’t be this invested in a game played by amateurs, but it is what it is. Yesterday at the end of the first half I knew the Buffs would find a way to lose. I absolutely knew it in my heart. You would think after so many years of losing I’d be able to assimilate and process it better but I can’t. Anyway, sorry about the wall of text. I am a hurting Buffs fan and this is my manifesto.

  19. Thank you as always for your perspective Stuart. Yes, the 2009 Nebraska game was a very sad day and the decision to retain Hawkins clearly set the program back another two years. Yesterday is proof that the program is still being held behind by the lame duck recruits of the Hawkins regime and it will be a long road to rebuild the program after the administration allowed the damage to go on into the 2010 season. With all that has happened since then with the move to the PAC 12 it’s unbelievable how short sighted it was to keep Hawkins for 2010.

  20. Agreed, more painful than most. The problem with comparing this to last year’s start is that LAST year, that game was on the road (IN Hawaii) against a very proficient offense/veteran head coach vs a brand new head coach. Additionally, the loss was simply due to being out played on the field. This year, while our online was out-muscled, I believe it was poor coaching decisions that cost us the game (I told my we needed to kick on 4th and goal at the 1/2 because we were going to need it at the of the game…a field goal attempt from 56 is certainly better than trying to score a TD from 39 when you’ve got no pass protection whatsoever).

  21. Well said!
    OL very poor showing. Webb very small & slow and he was lucky on those TD passes by great catches from the receivers, Did they ever try to throw long?…Nope……Did we have TE in the game ? I didn’t see them…..Running back… “Nada”……The expected rookie mistakes from the Freshmen……..Coaching & Preparation…Nada….Play calling=High Schoolish…… Very very disappointing game….except for the first 13 minutes of the second quarter…the Buffs looked dazed and confused.
    Let hope they can learn from this and build or we are looking at a long season

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