“No Más”

The year of “No Más” was 1980.

It was a year which Buff fans have been reminded of fairly often this fall.

1980 was, at the time, the worst season in CU football history. The Buffs went 1-10, the first ten loss season ever at Colorado. That fall, Sports Illustrated did a scathing piece on CU for the cutting of “non-revenue” sports like baseball, gymnastics and wrestling, all while Buff head coach Chuck Fairbanks was having his office redone. In 1980, Colorado fell behind UCLA 56-0 in the opener … at halftime. Indiana beat the Buffs 49-7 in the first home game. Oklahoma re-wrote the record books with an 82-42 track meet. Then the Buffs lost to Drake … for the second year in a row.

Yes, 1980 was the nadir of Colorado football.

1980 was also the year of two legendary fights between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. The two welterweights had met in June, 1980, with Duran winning a unanimous – but close – decision. The November re-match was so big it was moved to the Superdome in New Orleans. Leonard used his superior speed and movement to outbox and befuddle Durán. In Round 7, Leonard started to taunt Durán. Leonard’s most memorable punch came late in the round. Winding up his right hand, as if to throw a bolo punch, Leonard snapped out a left jab and caught Durán flush in the face.

In the closing seconds of the eighth round, Durán turned his back to Leonard and quit, waving his glove and saying to the referee  “No Más” (“no more” in Spanish). Leonard was the winner by a technical knockout at 2:44 of Round 8.

Fast forward to November 10, 2012, the day in which I wanted to turn my back on the Buffs, telling the football world, “No Más”.

The 2012 season has been a mockery, with each week a new trip to the record books. Some records, like giving up over 50 points in three straight games for the first time in school history, are ones we can keep to ourselves. Others, though, are putting new ink to conference and national records, and that is beyond my level of tolerance.

Ka’Deem Carey will – one assumes – now forever etched into the record books at Colorado, Arizona, and the Pac-12. Carey’s 366 yard rushing total is now the new standard for the Pac-12. Move over Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charles White, Marcus Allen, Chuck Muncie, Ricky Bell, Reuben Mayes, Eric Bieniemy, Russell White, Rashaan Salaam, J.J. Arrington, Reggie Bush, LaMichael James and all you other All-American backs who have played for Pac-12 schools.

Make way for Ka’Deem Carey.

This is not to take anything away from Mr. Carey, who was a four-star running back recruit from the Class of 2011 who had offers from Arizona, Arizona State and … Colorado. Carey had over 1,000 yards on the season before the game started, and was already considered one of the top backs in the conference before he blistered the Buff defense.

Which makes Carey’s accomplishments all the more galling … CU knew what was coming.

Arizona’s star quarterback, Matt Scott, was out with a concussion, leaving the Wildcats without an experienced signal caller. Scott’s replacement, B.J. Denker, fumbled on his first play from scrimmage, allowing the Buffs to enjoy something they hadn’t experienced in almost a month … a lead.

It stood to reason, then, that the Buffs were to see heavy doses of Ka’Deem Carey the rest of the afternoon. And they did … or at least they would have had Carey been forced to stay on the field any longer. Carey’s rush total for the day – 25 carries – was fairly average (CU’s Christian Powell, by contrast, had 32 carries), but Carey’s results were extraordinary. Carey’s 366 yards work out to an average of 14.6 yards per carry.

We’ll let that one sink in for a moment … 14.6 yards … per … carry …

Carey had runs of 14, 10 (for a touchdown), 13 (for a touchdown), 30 (for a touchdown), 26, 21, 46, 14, 14, 71, and 64 yards.

Colorado, coming into the Arizona game, had five rushes for over 20 yards – on the season. Carey had five rushes for over 20 yards – in one afternoon against the Buffs’ defense.

All this while the Colorado defense could have been … should have been … focusing their efforts almost exclusively on stopping Carey.

It was a pretty simple game plan: Stop Carey. Force Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker, in his first career start, to be the player who had to make plays to beat you.

Instead, all Denker had to do was hand off to Carey, and rush down field to meet him in the endzone.

“We were playing the run”, said Jon Embree. “There weren’t any surprises”.

The Buffs were simply powerless to stop Carey, or anything else Arizona tried, for that matter.

Or anything else any other team has tried this season.

No Más.

No More.

This has got to stop.

I am not a coach. I cannot dissect game film. But then again, I’m not being paid to. “I don’t know if it’s an effort issue or a getting blocked and being out of position issue,” said Embree of the Buffs’ joke of a defense. Which begs the question: When will he know?

Then there was this little pull out your hair tidbit from Embree: “On a couple of (Ka’Deem) Carey’s long runs, we didn’t give up and chased him down.”

Oh, goody!

After Carey’s 71-yard run, the Wildcats scored on the next play.

After Carey’s 64-yard run, the Wildcats scored on the next play.

At least it’s good to know that the Buffs didn’t give up on the play, and forced Arizona, which held the ball for only 18 minutes the entire game, to run another play before scoring.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was excited that Greg Brown came back to act as the Buffs’ defensive coordinator.

Brown spent the 2010 season as the co-defensive coordinator at Arizona, helping return the Wildcats to the nation’s Top 25 for the first time in over a decade.  At CU, he had most recently served as secondary coach for four seasons (2006-09), the last three as defensive passing game coordinator, after returning in 2006 to the state of Colorado for the fourth time in his professional career. 

In his most recent stint at Colorado, Brown helped tutor Terrence Wheatley, coaching him to first-team All-Big 12 honors and a second round NFL draft pick by the New England Patriots. He also tutored a pair of young cornerbacks in Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown, the former a two-time All-Big 12 performer, as well as their coach for the 2010 season, Ashley Ambrose, who Brown recommended to Hawkins as a graduate assistant (Ambrose would replace Brown as secondary coach after his move to Arizona).

In his first opportunity as a coach at CU, Brown coached the secondary for three years (1991-93) at Colorado under coach Bill McCartney, tutoring a pair of Jim Thorpe Award winners during his first days at CU: cornerbacks Deon Figures (the 1992 winner) and Chris Hudson (the 1994 winner). Colorado led the nation in pass completion defense and the Big Eight in pass defense in 1992; he also coached the kickoff coverage unit on special teams for the Buffs. He joined the CU staff days after the Buffs won their first national championship (January 7, 1991), and returned to the NFL in 1994, joining the Atlanta staff as defensive backs coach; the Falcons finished second that season in the league with 23 interceptions.

Brown had the resume, both as a recruiter and as a Buff coach, to earn the opportunity as defensive coordinator.

For whatever reason, it has not worked out.

Is Brown in over his head? Is there just not enough talent on the team? Are the Buffs so obvious in their schemes that opposing coaches can easily exploit CU’s weaknesses?

Again, I am not a coach. I don’t know why the Buffs are failing so miserably.

But I do know that they are.

Jon Embree is almost certain to be given a third year as head coach, but the fate of his coordinators, Eric Bieniemy and Greg Brown, is – must be – in peril.

There are possibilities about the future of the offense. The Buffs lose exactly one senior, tight end Nick Kasa, from the offense. Christian Powell could be a star. Paul Richardson will return, giving CU a desperately needed outside threat. Other offensive weapons, including some red-shirts and grey-shirts, could add to the skill positions. If either Shane Dillon or Sefo Liufau can even be mediocre at the quarterback position, the Colorado offense could show significant improvement in 2013.

On defense, though, it’s a different story. Some of the best players on defense – defensive lineman Will Pericak, linebackers Jon Major and Doug Rippy, and safety Ray Polk – will be gone, and that is from the most horrific defense in Colorado history. There is nothing which could lead an objective observer to believe that the Colorado defense is even within shouting distance of mediocre, or will be in the immediate future.

Which necessitates that a change be made.

Greg Brown may be the scapegoat for the failings of others, but you cannot be the coach which allows the pride and tradition of Colorado football to be turned into a running joke on ESPN and expect no consequences.

No Más.

10 Replies to ““No Más””

  1. Stuart,

    Another great article…After the Fresno St game I thought Brown should have been let go. I’m sure Brown is a great person, but for some reason it’s not working out. The defense is the laughing stock of college football. I’ve watched every game available on TV this year and it’s been painful. My wife doesn’t understand why I put myself through the torture.

    Also, was it just me or did it look like the offense was frustrated with the play calling on Saturday? I’m not a football expert but an offense can’t get into rythm if the QB is waiting on the OC to select a play on each down.

    Oh well…Hopefully the Buffs can pick a victory or two over the next couple of weeks and go into the offseason with some positive momentum.

    Go Buffs!

  2. I cannot help but point out that every player on this defense knows nothing about geometry. After watching footage after every game it is the same story. They think too much and then hesitate and this leads to a delay in the angles they take to stop the ball carrier. They also are blocked without any effort. This is terrible coaching. Their is an obvious speed deficit but this can be offset by the angle you project to the ball carrier. Joel Klatt said it best. “These kids know nothing about the game of Football!” Greg Brown might not be the problem, it is more than likely with his assistants and this must be corrected in the off season. They are terrible. Even Rippy, polk and Major never matured. They are the same arm tackling bunch from the Hawkins era! ARRRRRGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

  3. There are many things to look at with the defense. One that interests me is why do CU defenders not quickly close on a runner or receiver when they can see him coming? They wait for him to arrive. It’s as if they are nailed to the ground.

    Many years ago when TV started showing hundreds of basketball games on TV, it was noticed that high school players became much better because they could watch the big boys on TV make classy moves in replay, often in slow motion. Simply by watching on TV they improved their game.

    I bring this up because NFL games show linebackers and corners closing on runners and receivers like heat seeking missiles. I am going to assume young players watch some NFL games. Why then do many defenders fail to close quickly? Maybe it is much more difficult to accomplish than it would seem.

  4. Amen brother Amen……..I was a student during the 1980 football season and this season is so much worse than the 1-10 season……No Mas……hire Bob Stitts as OC and a SEC coach for DC …….Now!

  5. Stuart, I have to disagree somewhat with you regarding your take on the defense. Of those four seniors you list only one is truly able to contribute to his full ability this year and that is Pericak. For what ever reasons the other three are in my opinion are shadows of their former selves due to some pretty debilitating injuries. They all were pretty good players but most likely unable to compete at that former level. While they do have experience and most likely know where they should be on the field I don’t think that many of the times they are able to get to the spot to salvage a play.

    We just have to hope that whomever is the new DC next year, as we’re sure there will be one, can straighten out whatever has made this one of the sorriest defenses I think I’ve ever seen anywhere in college football. There were some moments out there when I counted about 8 players that were true freshman, red shirt sophomores or sophomores on the field. Maybe there is some hope for next year. It is amazing what a little consistency, ability to control the ball and score by the offense could eventually do to boost the defense next year.

  6. Amen!

    Been a serious Buff fan for over 20 years and went to those early ’80s games as a kid. Man, I never thought that the Buffs would reach this low, and never thought I might ever turn my back on this team. It’s hard, the AD the team gives the average CU fan no glimmer of hope.

    So I absolutely agree, NO MAS, THIS HAS TO STOP! Make the commitment to a competitive team and share it us before many of walk away!

  7. You keep bringing up the memory of Drake which had extra significance to me. My best friend in high school and I both graduated in 1980… he went to Drake, I went to CU. Don’t think that wasn’t painful!

    The biggest problem to me as a fan is Embree repeating over and over, “I don’t know why….. ”

    Jon, Why don’t you know? You are involved in game planning. You are involved in picking the players. You see the practices. You see the game. I don’t know for sure but I have some ideas, why don’t you?

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