Colorado Daily – Oregon

October 4th

Buffs looking to keep up with Oregon offense

From … The No. 2-ranked Ducks are college football’s top rushing team (332.5 yards a game), are No. 3 in total offense (599.3) and No. 2 in scoring (59.8 points a game).

Slowing the Ducks is close to impossible, so this week finds Baer and his staff trying to put the Buffs in position to “play fastball with them,” he said. “You’ve got to communicate and get aligned. You’ve got to understand what they like to do out of certain backfield sets and formations, then communicate and get aligned in a hurry.

“You make a play on the ball, then you get ready and do it again. They’ll run the same play out of the same set two or three times. You’ve got to get aligned and communicate. You get aligned and you’ve got a chance to get yourself in the right spot.”

That thought is being stressed and re-stressed this week, said junior defensive end Juda Parker: “We were looking back at the games that Oregon has played this year and our coaches have been telling us if you’re not in the right spot they’ll gash you and it’ll probably be six points. We’re really focusing on being in the right gaps, staying in the right gaps and attaining leverage so we can make plays.”

But this might surprise some: While they are college football’s highest-ranked team playing “fastball,” the Ducks aren’t even atop the Pac-12 Conference in averaging the most plays per game. In fact, there are seven Pac-12 teams – including CU – that average more plays per game.

California is No. 1 nationally, averaging 98 plays per game, with UCLA and Washington at 86.3, Arizona at 83, Arizona State at 82.3, Oregon State at 81.2, CU at 77 and Oregon at 74 – or No. 60 on the overall list. Hoping to get his players accustomed to lining up fast and in the right places, Baer’s plan by the end of the week was to have his defense see 120-130 plays per practice.

But what puts the Ducks offense a cut above most of the other hurry-up outfits is superior personnel, starting with quarterback Marcus Mariota. He averages 324.5 yards a game in total offense and operates the spread offense as efficiently as any QB in the country. In four lopsided wins, Mariota has run for just under 300 yards (295) and passed for just over 1,000 (1,003).  He’s thrown for nine touchdowns (no interceptions) and run for five more.

“You’re not a very good spread team if that guy can’t run,” Baer said. “It’s all part of it . . . Mariota creates another dimension to worry about. That’s why they’re a good spread team. That guy can run and he does a good job of throwing the ball.”

Oregon’s 332.5 ground yards a game have been compiled without a 100-yard per game rusher. But three players are averaging 73 or more ground yards a game: De’Anthony Thomas (84.5), Byron Marshall (81.5) and Mariota (73.8). However, an ankle injury suffered on last weekend’s opening kickoff against Cal is expected to sideline Thomas this Saturday.

Given the Ducks’ overall speed, the Buffs also are stressing sure tackling “in space,” which Baer’s players know is critical. Oregon’s speed, said senior inside linebacker Derrick Webb, “only puts pressure on the defense if you give them a lot of one-on-one situations. When they get us in space we’ve got to rally to the football. When you get speed like that in the open field it’s going to be tough for any defender . . .

“If you make the tackle in open field it’s a great tackle, but if you miss then there’s a lot of space to be made up. We’ve got to get more than one guy on each player when they get in space. They’ve got a lot of speed on the outside; they’ll try to get the ball in their playmakers’ hands . . . we’ve got to run to the football, swarm to the football.”

October 3rd

Mac: “We’re the only ones that think we’re going to win”

From … “I think we should be loose and we should be ready to play,” CU coach Mike MacIntyre said Wednesday. “Nobody thinks we’re going to win. We’re the only ones that think we’re going to win. So I think that frees you up to go play as hard as you can play, so hopefully we do.”

On paper, the challenge looks like a monumental one for the Buffs. With an average margin of victory of 49 points, Oregon (4-0) has yet to be challenged in any game this season. The Ducks will come into Boulder armed with the nation’s second-best scoring offense and the fourth-best scoring defense.

As a result, many are calling them the best team in the country. And as CU attempts to bounce back after a loss at Oregon State last Saturday, players and coaches alike know that they will have to play their best game of the season if their dreams of pulling off a colossal upset are to come to fruition.

“We want to win the game and that’s our plan but we have to get to the second half (with the game still in reach),” said MacIntyre. “So we’ve got to understand the entourage we’re going to have come at us and we’ve got to bring the same thing back and we’ve got to get to halftime. If we get to halftime we’ve done better than 90 percent of the teams they’ve played. So that’s what we’re going to do then we’ll see what happens after that.”

The asset that most believe makes a team like Oregon so dangerous is speed which is visible in a variety of ways. The offense is littered with players whose 40-yard dash timings are among the fastest of any players in the country. That, combined with their extreme hurry-up no-huddle offense, often leaves opposing defenses grasping at air.

“This team is the fastest I’ve ever seen on film,” said MacIntyre. “We played Alabama my first year at San Jose State and they were fast but they didn’t play the game as fast as far as lining up and doing all that.

“They have so many other weapons. (Running back) Byron Marshall is really good. Then, the young tailback (Thomas Tyner) is a little different than those other guys. He’s bigger but he can really run. He’s a good player, but to me the fastest guy on the field is the quarterback (Marcus Mariota). I mean he’s unbelievably fast.”

To MacIntyre and his coaching staff, the only way to beat a team with that much firepower is to limit possessions, force turnovers and try to keep the Ducks offense off the field for as long as possible.

“Getting turnovers steals a possession from them and the fewer possessions they have the better chance we have,” said MacIntyre. “It doesn’t matter how long they have it because they score so quick, it’s just about getting the possession. So if you can keep them from getting seven possessions instead of ten that’s three times they’re not going to score. So I think that’s important.”

October 2nd

No new injuries reported

Knock on wood, but to date, the Buffs have suffered very few injuries, especially when compared to previous seasons.

This week’s injury report is virtually the same as last weekend’s:

TB – Josh Ford – ankle – suffered a high ankle sprain (Aug. 11), underwent surgery (Aug. 19) to aide healing process – OUT/2-3 WEEKS

FB – Clay Jones – neck – suffered a neck sprain against Central Arkansas (Sept. 7) – OUT/3-4 WEEKS

OL – Jeromy Irwin – foot – suffered a broken bone in his foot doing yard work at a friend’s house (July 30) – OUT/2-3 WEEKS

Out for the season:

DB – Josh Moten – Achilles – suffered initially in late May, was rehabbing and recently reinjured it a second time (late July) – OUT/SEASON

PK – Justin Castor – hip – suffered an avulsion (severe flexor strain on Aug. 21) and may require surgery – OUT/SEASON

S – Terrel Smith – shoulder – underwent surgery on Sept. 5 to mend a chronic injury and will redshirt – OUT/SEASON

QB – Tommy Papilion – knee – suffered a torn ACL in the spring game (Apr. 13); he has elected to be a student coach – OUT/SEASON

October 1st

Tuesday Press Conference Notes (full transcript below)


. . . . On forcing Oregon to actually maintain possession longer … “I don’t think that makes a difference,” he said at his weekly media luncheon Tuesday. “You better score and you better stop them. You might be better off if they have the ball a long time. If it’s longer drives, there’s more chances for turnovers, there’s more possibilities of making them have to do more third downs. So if you come out of it and they got it 30 minutes you might have played better.

“I’m being serious because then they’d have to put drives together and there’d more times they might turn the ball over. They’ll have more third downs. That’s more long-down situations where you can kind of go after them. A lot of times they slow down on third down and longs so they can see what they want to do (rather) than just keep moving. So if they get first down, second down, first down, second down they just got you in such a rhythm that it’s tough.”

. . . . MacIntyre’s critique of his O-line against OSU: The guys up front “weren’t as big a problem as maybe the wet ball.” He said for whatever reason – maybe it was the long layoff – “we weren’t on our game early as we should have been.” Right tackle Stephane Nembot, he added, continues to progress: “He’s getting better every game; one day they’re never going to get around him.”

. . . . Freshman Michael Adkins II ran for 98 yards in his college debut and will see Duck duty Saturday, with that role to be determined by Thursday. MacIntyre said Christian Powell, who has opened at running back in the first three games, likely will see playing time at fullback to get him and Adkins in the same backfield. Who gets the most tailback carries depends on who’s the most productive.

. . . . MacIntyre worked under Bill Parcells in the NFL (Dallas) and picked up this from the coach formerly known as “The Big Tuna:” You can learn a lot about your quarterback after both bad and good games – specifically if he rebounds from bad ones and takes the good ones in stride. He added that CU starter Connor Wood won’t be facing a pedestrian ‘D’ on Saturday.

. . . . CU has scheduled Charleston Southern University (another CSU) on Oct. 19 for its 12th game. MacIntyre said Athletic Director Rick George “exhausted himself” in the search for an opponent to replace Fresno State. As for MacIntyre’s part in the process, “I felt like a used car salesman; I never got so many ‘no’s in my life.” He called being able to schedule a 12th game at this point of the season “great for the community and the university.

. . . we’re excited about the opportunity to do it.” . . . . Former CU coach Bill McCartney, who is to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December, will be honored at Saturday’s game. “I’ve known about him since I was a player and I’ve gotten to know him here,” MacIntyre said. “I respect him as a person and a football coach  . . . I know what he did for his young men as a coach; all that I’ve talked to respect him as a coach and a person.” MacIntyre’s roster features McCartney’s two grandsons – freshman defensive end Derek and offensive graduate assistant T.C. Bill McCartney will be honored at a Thursday banquet on campus.

Derrick Webb and Juda Parker – “We’re not the ‘same Buffaloes’ as last year”

“That’s what really upset me more than anything in the Oregon State game,” said senior linebacker and captain Derrick Webb. “You look at the score at the end of the game and it looks like, OK, these are the same Buffaloes as last year. I know that’s not the case.

“We’re not the same football team, we’re not the same defense as last year. You can pull up whatever stats, turnovers – we’re better there – we’re better on third down, we’re better stopping the run. After those three (games) we’re just a lot better on defense.

“We’re not the same team; we don’t give up . . . we play to the end (and) we play hard. We just had a couple of hiccups in that (OSU) game. It’s something to learn from; it’s a learning experience. You’ve got to make the plays that you have to make.”

“This is a new regime, a new program with new people,” added junior defensive end Juda Parker. “Last year’s in the past; we can’t think about that. We always have a goal in mind. You win some, you lose some. But you always have to stay focused. We’ll keep our heads up and press forward toward our goal.”

Complete transcript of Tuesday’s press conference

From …

General / Opening Statement “Oregon State has a good football team and like I said going in, I thought they should’ve still been in the top 25.  Watching on film, they had the one game earlier in the year where they couldn’t tackle the quarterback but, I think they’re a very good football team …. Excellent quarterback ….. I think they do a great job.  We were battling and we had a couple of miscues on the kickoff return … One of them was like a bad hop for a shortstop, it was tough.  The other one, we just have to carry the ball high and tight better.  That kind of got us out of the game but I was excited with the way our kids kept battling and kept fighting.  I thought we did do a few good things.  There were three or four plays that changed the game and we have to make sure we make those plays.

This week’s opponent, Oregon, they are …. Like I said Fresno was fast, this team is super-fast, hyper speed.  I’m going to go just hyper speed.  They’re very good.  The running backs are amazing, the receivers …. They’re defense is phenomenal. How hard they play … but the guy that amazes me most is the quarterback.  He reminds me of (Colin) Kaepernick when I was at San Jose State and we played Nevada.  He’s fast, he can make all the throws, he can run and he is an excellent, excellent player.  (Marcus) Mariota makes their team go.  We got our work cut out for us.  Kids are already excited about playing the game.  We had a good practice Sunday night then we had Monday off and we had a good practice today.  They seemed very focused and ready to go and had no hangover from the loss and so we’re ready to move on.”

On Responding After the Loss “Well I think when they came out to practice Sunday they got after it, they were energetic, they weren’t dragging.  You didn’t have people showing up late or trying to get out of practice for mysterious injuries.  That’s kind of how I watch it and I haven’t seen that happen at all.  Then I thought today they had a very, very good practice.  We’re really focused and I think when you watch Oregon’s film it makes you focus more because you know you better be playing good.  So I was pleased with that and we’ve made good strides and we need to keep making strides.  There was some disheartening things that happened Saturday but not things that we couldn’t correct I think. I don’t think it was a situation.  I think someone asked me afterwards if I thought it was the athletes and I said ‘No I think our athletes were good enough to play against Oregon State.’  We just can’t turn the ball over against a good football team and expect to win.  When teams are close to even, the ones that win the turnover ratio are always basically win the football game.  So that was important for us. Basically we gave them three drives inside the 20 so you gave them 21 points but I think they’ve responded well and I know they’re excited about playing on Saturday.”

On Trying to Adjust to Oregon’s Style of Play “I think you just have to do whatever you do best.  If you try to change what you want to do in a game …. You just have to do what you do best and try to hope for the best.  I think the teams that did good that played them, they did pretty good offensively but they did really well defensively.  I mean they didn’t give up as many big plays.  They kept them down in scoring.  I mean Stanford beat them, 17-14.  If you would have went to that game and someone said ‘They’re going to win 17-14’ you would have said ‘Yeah right.’  So I think you have to play really well defensively to understand where you’re run …. Really you have to understand your run fits.  I mean I know that’s a simple thing.  Chad (Brown) knows what I’m talking about.  They move people, they move the back a lot.  They go really fast and they get all these different formations and if you don’t line up right then all of a sudden there’s a big gap and they go so fast that they’re gone.  So you have to understand where to line up and hopefully we’ve practiced against ourselves enough, and we do fast speed periods, that we can line up correctly and then you have to tackle them in open space.  That’s what we have to do so hopefully that’s what we do.”

On Keeping the Oregon Offense off the Field “Well it was a funny statistic but they had the least amount of possession time of anybody in the country …. Oregon does. And they’re scoring the second most in the country so they don’t have the ball.  They’ve got it 20 minutes a game.  So I don’t think that makes a difference.  You better score and you better stop them.  You might be better off if they have the ball a long time.  Its longer drives, there’s more chances for turnovers, there’s more possibilities of making them have to do more third downs.  So, if you come out of it and they got it 30 minutes you might have played better.  I being serious because then they’d have to put drives together and there’d more times they might turn the ball over.  They’ll have more third downs.  That’s more long down situations where you can kind of go after them.  A lot of times they slow down on third down and longs so they can see what they want to do then they just keep moving.  So, if they get first down, second down, first down, second down they just got you in such a rhythm that it’s tough.”

On Offensive Line Struggles “I think that we played Alex Kelley a little bit more in the second half after Daniel (Munyer) got the personal foul but Daniel is a very good player so he’ll be back playing a lot.  We just keep working with the offensive line.  I still think that we have some good offensive linemen that can do some good things so we just have to keep jelling and keep working.  I don’t think that the offensive line was a big of a problem as maybe the wet ball a little bit even though we practiced in the rain and their defensive line …. They had three tipped balls that most people think were just bad throws by Connor (Wood) but they tipped the ball …. They just barely tipped it and it kind of fluttered out so I thought they were aggressive there.  And we just weren’t on our game quite as good early as we needed to be.  I’m not using excuses.  I don’t know if it was the layoff or what it was but I think it had to do with the fact that we were playing extremely hard but we just didn’t take advantage.

We were moving the ball a little bit early then we ran the reverse to Paul Richardson on the first play then we came back the next play and threw him a screen and got some yards then came back the next play and got a first down on hitch to him and we got a holding call.  Then, we got backed up then we tried a draw, then we got …. And then we just kind of started sputtering.  Then we had a big play that got called back.  It was 10-3 and D.D. (Goodson) I thought made a great catch and I thought we got the play off before they could have buzzed it but it got buzzed and they overruled the play.  I had a feeling we had a chance to go in and score then and it would have been 10-10 with like five minutes to go in the first half.  So, we need to play better but right there, if we catch that ball a little bit better or we don’t get a holding call here or there …. But the kids were playing hard and trying to execute.  We just have to execute better all the time.”

On the Development of the Offensive Line “With what we have I don’t see anything wrong with the personnel.  They’re trying and playing hard.  I think Stephane Nembot is getting better every game.  One day they’re never going to get around him.  He’s learning in the process but he really is improving tremendously.  He kind of blocks the sun out and he can move.  He’s extremely smart.  He speaks six languages.  I’m pleased with his progress I really am.  Of course we want everybody to play perfect but nobody can.”

On Connor Wood’s Psyche Following the Loss “He had a good practice today.  It’s kind of funny because last Thursday was his best practice he’s had since I’ve been around him … the whole time … and then we didn’t play as good as we all would like or he would like on Saturday and it wasn’t all his fault.  Bill Parcells used to always say ‘You find out about quarterbacks when you see how they respond after a bad game and everybody’s saying you should be playing the second teamer and getting all these questions which were never thought of.  And then how you play after an interception and how you play after you get hit.’  That’s all part of being a quarterback.  Then how you handle a few games in a row when you’re successful …. Can you keep sustaining your work ethic and your confidence and all that? So I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays and he’s also going to play a really, really good defense.  So, It’s going to be an test for all of us.” 

On the Projected Running Back Rotation This Saturday “Today we rotated them in and out and we’ll discuss that more Thursday when we see if everybody is healthy.  We feel like everybody is healthy now but we play them continuously during the week and they rotate and get all the plays.  We practice so hard you can’t run all the time with just one guy because you’ll wear them out for Saturday.  So, they get all of the looks so they’re all ready to go but right now you’ll definitely see Michael Adkins as much as you saw his last week unless something happens.  Christian Powell, you’ll see him at tailback and you might see him at fullback some too.  Being able to have both of them in the backfield ….. So, we have some combinations like that that we can work …. And he’s been in at fullback in some games already too.  As we kind of get to the plan and as we looked at some things today there are certain things we’d like certain guys to do more than others and it just depends on what we feel like we can get going in the game.”

On What to Tell the Team before a Big Matchup against One of the Best Teams in the Country “Enjoy the moment.  I mean you’re getting to play against the best team in the country on national television.  You’re at home, great crowd.  That’s what you dream about all your life is always playing and you get another day to play.  I enjoy playing every game just the same amount or just coaching every game the same amount.  It doesn’t matter who we’re coaching against or who we’re playing.  I really do enjoy them the same amount.  Sometimes there might be more pop and circumstance around it but once you start inside those lines and you’re coaching you don’t notice anything and neither do the players playing.  I think they’ll really enjoy playing and it’ll be a lot of fun.”

On Calling Oregon the Best Team in the Country “I would say that right now to me, they look like one of the top two or three teams in the country.  But, I would say right now the way they’re clicking off and beating everybody, I mean it’s not even close.  At halftime, it’s over every game…it’s over.  So, hopefully this one won’t be over and we will be right in it and that’s what we’re planning on doing.”

On Listening to the Strategies of Other Head Coaches in Game Planning For an Opponent “Each week I call coaches that I know that have played against teams that I’m going against, or similar offenses or defenses, just asking them, ‘Here’s what I’m thinking, what do you think?’ They might say, ‘That’s good, that’s good, but think about this’… So, I always do that, and I get buddies calling me about certain things and thoughts about how to practice.  We’ve learned, that will hopefully show up Saturday, how to practice against teams like this.  There’s a certain way you have to practice, there is a certain way you have to have your scalp team go.  So, that’s a big part of it, of trying to practice fast and getting lined up, because half the time you watch their big play and the team isn’t even lined up.  That’s why I’m talking about getting a line fit.  The first time I ever played against a fast-paced team we had a boundary corner, and a field corner, and a … FORGET IT.  ‘You go right, you go left, ‘you line up and you get the call.’  You don’t have time and I learned that the hard way as a coach … ‘Make sure you go right and left and make sure your safeties go right and left.  Make sure you’re not switching everything, give one hand signal calls, you can’t do multiple hand signal calls.’  Things like that I think are big.”

On the Purpose of Using Two Balls in Practice “We do it anyway.  One man is running and putting it, and the others are getting it.  We’re going fast and working on that.”

On Filling the Open Date with a Matchup against Charleston Southern “I am excited that we have another game.  I’ll tell you, Rick (George) exhausted himself after the Fresno game.  Me and him spent a lot of Saturday and then all day Sunday calling people right and left and working every scenario.  I felt like a used-car salesman.  I never heard so many ‘no’s’ in my entire life and I know Rick felt the same way.  We had a couple of them that we thought we had done, signed, sealed, delivered and we get a phone call after they played the game on Saturday saying, ‘No, we’re too beat up we’re not going to do it.’  We were like, ‘What are we going to do next, what are we going to do next?’ So, Charleston Southern are going to be 5-0 and I think they are going to be 7-0 when they face us, and in the top 25 in the I-AA, and they’re the only team left standing that was wanting to play us.  Thank goodness they did and it’s going to be great for the community, great for the university, and it’s a way we can give back to the community through the whole thing.  It’s also our guys getting another game and the university getting another game and so I am excited about the opportunity to do it.”

On Disrupting Oregon’s Offense “You know, I will just use defensive secondary as an example.  If you are playing the defensive secondary and the game is close, you don’t play as uptight, you don’t take as many chances.  You’re up 20 or more points you can do anything you want in the secondary.  You act like you’re coming, you jump routes…it doesn’t matter because if you’re up 40 points, even 28 points, they can just suffocate you.  So, we need to keep them at bay and not let them suffocate us too early and all of a sudden, we will have more options on offense.  We will move the ball better than people have moved on them if we cannot let them get up 28 points – bang, bang.  So, that’s a big ‘if.’  Nobody’s done it, so that’s our goal to be able to do that and compete in every play.  To be able to have the chance to take it into the second half and see what happens. Nobody has taken them into the second half yet and that’s what our goal is, and to win the game is our main goal.  I mean seriously, we want to win the football…period.  But, the first goal is that we have to get them into the second half, which nobody else has done, then you have to win the game.”

On Bill McCartney “Well, first of all, I have two of his grandsons.  One is on my staff and one is on my team, so I do know a lot about him.  I’ve known about coach since I was a player I really respect him and I’ve gotten to know him well since I’ve gotten here. We’ve gotten together quite a few times.  I really respect who he is, number one as a person, number two as a football coach.  I am so glad that they’re honoring him, he deserves it.  He’s also getting inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December.  He definitely deserves that.  What he did for the young men that he coached, all of them that I have ever talked to and met, respect him to the utmost and he has made a big difference in their lives.  I think what he did for the University of Colorado, to me, he kind of put the University of Colorado on the map.  Especially in football and all that, and he should be honored.  I am excited that he is getting that and I am excited that I will be able to be there to see it.  I probably won’t notice any of it going on during the game, but I am excited for him.  In fact, I am going to be seeing him on Thursday.  We are having a banquet here on campus, so I am excited to be there to be a part of that.”

On Special Teams “Well, to be honest with you, we did good on special teams.  Now, a kid was running up in there, got punched from behind, and the ball fell out.  The next one, it was raining hard and that ball took a 90 degree bounce.  We’ve got to take care of it, I understand that, and we work those drills all the time.  But, covering, punting it, covering it down, covering their good returners, all the things that we did with it, pinning them down there … I think we did a good job on that situation.  The thing I’d like to do is I’d like to return a lot more punts and I’d like to return a lot more kick-off returns, and then you’re doing good.  So, we have been working hard on all those, even on film I thought everything fit up a lot better.  We’ve got to make sure we hold up the ball and make sure we get it … It was a very, very unfortunate bounce.”


Defensive Back Greg Henderson

On Slowing Down Oregon “We just have to get lined up and communicate.  They are going to have a really fast tempo.  The main thing is really getting aligned and knowing all your responsibilities.”

On CU’s Fast-Paced Practices “Yeah, I feel like it’s going to help us on Saturday.  I mean, you try to match the game speed and it does help.  Hopefully we’re going to get lined up; we just have got to compete and play hard.”

On Contact with Receivers versus Coverage “Both, I think it’s both equal.  You want to get hands-on at the line and disrupt their route, and it’s coverage as well.  You can do good on disrupting their route, but if you don’t have good coverage then the ball is going to be caught for a touchdown or for anything like that, so it’s both equal.”

On Tackling in Open Space “Yeah, I feel like we’ve gotten better at tackling.  Today, we did a leverage tackling drill and we’re always doing tackling drills with the corners.  It’s been helping and it’s been showing on Saturdays.”

On What He Learned from the Oregon State Game “I feel like we were prepared.  We were in the right position, we just didn’t finish on the plays.  It was just a few plays that if we would have made it, it could have been the game-changer.  That’s all we’ve got to do.  We’ve got to finish on the plays, catch the ball, and it will really help us in the end.”

On The Team’s Emotional Reaction to the Loss “I feel like our heads are high.  I think we had a good day at practice today.  I don’t think anybody’s heads are down or anything like that.  We’re still confident in our game and in our abilities.”

On Whether Playing against Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks was a Good Learning Experience “Yeah it did, because every week in the Pac-12 there is always a good receiver on every team.  So, just facing good receivers, it helps to learn how each receiver has different tendencies.  In practice too with our receivers, we have some good receivers too so it helps us on Saturdays.”

On the Importance of the Upcoming Game “It’s very important.  We are the 38-point underdogs or something like that, so I know nobody believes in us.  But, it starts with us, so if we believe we can win then I feel like we can beat this team.”

On The Team’s Reaction to Pundits Who Are Predicting a Big Loss to Oregon This Weekend “I try not to worry about the underdogs and all that.  You just got to go out there and play hard because it’s college football, so anything can happen on any day of the week.”

On The First Time He Played Oregon “Their tempo is very fast.  They get to the ball very fast, but I mean we should be prepared for it.”

On Helping the Freshmen Understand the Opponents “I think it’s something that you need to experience for yourself.  I mean we tell them that they’re going to be fast. Honestly, you just got to get aligned, get the call, and know your responsibilities, and they will be in good shape.”

On Watching Oregon Play “Yeah, I like to watch a lot of the Pac-12 teams and see the different competition, see some players you might know on the teams, or if you just like to watch them play.  I like their fast-paced tempo and you see that they’re running it in the NFL now too because it’s very efficient, so it’s a good offense to run.  But, I don’t know anyone on the Oregon team.”

On the Progression of the Team’s Freshmen Class “Oh, they’re playing great.  Addison, he has a high motor, has high energy, he’s all over the field flying around.  Chidobe (Awuize) as well, he makes a lot of plays, forced the fumble in the Central Arkansas game.  They don’t even play like freshmen I don’t think. They play like grown men…so they’ve been doing a great job.”

On How Much He’s learned Since His Freshman Year “Well, from playing from freshman year, it’s helped me in the game to slow down for me and to have more experience. I’ve become smarter…I’ve become more of a student to the game.  You know, it’s just helped and I can just play faster now.”

Former Daily Camera writer warns Duck fans: “Upsets do happen in Boulder”

From the Eugene Register-Guard … Mark Helfrich has witnessed the death of a visiting team’s national championship dreams at Folsom Field once before.

On Sept. 29, 2007, No. 3 Oklahoma suffered a stunning 27-24 loss at Colorado. It was one of the only highlights of the Dan Hawkins era in Boulder.

Helfrich, CU’s offensive coordinator the day redshirt freshman Cody Hawkins completed 22 of 36 passes for 219 yards against the Sooners, will return to Folsom Field this Saturday as the head coach of No. 2 Oregon.

“We had a couple of great wins there,” Helfrich recalled after Monday’s practice. “There was a game very much like ours, we beat Oklahoma, who were second or third in the country at that time, Sam Bradford and all those guys, and we beat them at home. West Virginia on a Thursday night, we beat them at home. It’s a great place, very passionate student body, which is part of the challenge.”

The Ducks (4-0, 1-0) are heavy favorites to beat the rebuilding Buffaloes (2-1, 0-1). The seniors in the struggling program are playing for their third head coach (Mike MacIntyre) in four seasons.

Two years ago, Oregon won 45-2 at Folsom Field with Bryan Bennett starting for an injured Darron Thomas at quarterback, and Kenjon Barner carrying the load at running back for an injured LaMichael James.

Even if De’Anthony Thomas misses this meeting, the Ducks should be in good shape, as long as they get out of Ralphie’s way when the powerful live mascot runs around the field before kickoff.

“They were training a new Ralphie one year I remember at the spring game, and she broke loose, which was entertaining,” said Helfrich, who was CU’s offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008 before taking the same position at Oregon. “It’s always good watching the visiting team when she makes the U-turn and comes back down the sideline. Everybody becomes like a rodeo cowboy after he gets kicked off the bull, climbing up the fence. We’ll do our best to avoid that.”

Helfrich’s fondest memory of Boulder? That’s an easy one, his son Max was born there.

Former Buff Cha’pelle Brown on Oregon coaching staff

From Eugene Register-Guard … Mark Helfrich received a call from Chip Kelly five years ago that dramatically changed his career path.

The Oregon coach may have done the same for Cha’pelle Brown by hiring the former Colorado player to be a defensive graduate assistant coach with the Ducks this season.

“I guess I did things right at Colorado to be fortunate enough to be on this coaching staff,” Brown said after Monday’s practice as Oregon began preparing for its road trip to Boulder to face the Buffaloes. “I always knew I wanted to be a coach after football. It’s something that I’ve been working towards even as a player. It’s always something I knew I wanted to do.”

When Helfrich was the offensive coordinator at CU from 2006 to 2008, Brown was a standout cornerback. The connection has paid off so far for the first-year head coach and the baby-faced member of the veteran Oregon staff.

“He was always just someone that I thought was a really intelligent guy, a really positive guy and someone I thought our guys would benefit from being around,” Helfrich said. “I think he’s a guy that has a very bright future if he chooses this profession.”

Brown played in 46 games for CU during his career. As a senior in 2009, the diminutive defensive back was voted most valuable player by his teammates and All-Big 12, second team by the coaches he competed against.

As a budding coach, Brown, 25, not only has great rapport with his players, but an understanding of how they think.

“I told them, ‘I’m almost as young as you, so you can’t trick me,’” he said with a laugh. “It’s great to be able to work with them.”

When Helfrich was hired at CU, he was the youngest offensive coordinator at a BCS program. Brown’s youth has also served him well this season working with Oregon’s accomplished secondary.

“He’s a players’ coach,” cornerback Terrance Mitchell said. “He played the game and knows what it’s like.”

September 30th

Buffs back to work after Oregon State loss

From … Much of Mike MacIntyre’s resume features time spent coaching defensive backs, and in his short time as Colorado’s head coach he’s been a frequent drop-in for secondary position meetings and for DB drills on the field.

MacIntyre knows quality secondary play and recognizes fundamentally sound DB work. And with a few exceptions, what he saw from CU’s secondary in Saturday’s 44-17 slap-around by Oregon State did not qualify as a quality or fundamentally sound day at the office.

The secondary wasn’t the primary culprit in CU’s first Pac-12 Conference loss under MacIntyre, but it’s as good a place as any to begin the repair job, as well as MacIntyre’s assessment of what went amok.

Granted, the Buffaloes in the back end weren’t facing a random slinger in Sean Mannion or a slacker in receiver Brandin Cooks. Mannion set school records with his fifth consecutive 350-plus yard passing game (he finished with 414) and by throwing six touchdown passes. Two of them went to Cooks, who had nine receptions for 168 yards.

MacIntyre knew Mannion and Cooks were capable of those kinds of numbers, but he also believed his secondary had improved enough to make delivering stats like that a bit more difficult. Mannion was intercepted once – corner Greg Henderson got his second pick of the first three games – but MacIntyre trotted off the field at halftime convinced that the Buffs should have had two more picks.

One should have been by safety Jered Bell on the Beavers’ first series. Bell let a Mannion pass zip through his hands on third down, and on the next play Trevor Romaine gave OSU a 3-0 lead with a 36-yard field goal.

Henderson got his interception on the next OSU series, leading to a Will Oliver field goal that tied the score (3-3). CU’s next should-have-been-a-pick occurred two possessions later when a high-arcing Mannion pass was pulled down by Cooks between Buffs corner Kenneth Crawley and safety Parker Orms for a 52-yard gain.

Cooks, said Henderson, “goes for the ball. That’s everything – going for the ball . . . we have to catch the ball. If we catch the ball that stops drives and takes points off the board.”

Four plays later, Mannion hit tight end Caleb Smith with the first of his six TD passes. The Buffs fell behind 10-3 and spent the rest of the afternoon in Reser Stadium trying to recover but never did.

And MacIntyre said, “We’ve got to work on making that play. We’ve got to do a better job as coaches and make them ‘high-point’ the ball.”

There are plenty of additional areas that require his coaches’ attention before No. 2 Oregon comes calling on Saturday (4 p.m., Folsom Field, Pac-12 Network). While Mannion was re-writing OSU’s record book, CU’s quarterback play was regressing in comparison with the first two games, when Connor Wood had averaged 370.5 passing yards.

On Saturday, Wood passed for 146, completing 14 of 34 with two interceptions and two touchdowns. MacIntyre deferred any critique of Wood’s performance until he and his staff breakdown tape. “We’ll look at the film and find out” why Wood was largely ineffective, he said.

Wood and receiver Paul Richardson connected only once for two yards in the first half, and Richardson’s afternoon concluded with five catches (one TD) for 70 yards – far below his nation-leading 208.5 yard average. “We got it to him in the second half,” MacIntyre said. “We’ve just got to keep working on it.”

Mannion was sacked twice, and the guy who got one of them and caused a fumble said the Buffs’ pass rush must improve: “He was able to sit back there and throw the ball downfield and look for his guys all day,” end Chidera Uzo-Diribe said. “We didn’t get enough pressure.”

Another area to work on: special teams’ ball protection. On consecutive kickoffs, returner Marques Mosley lost a fumble and Brady Daigh, a middle linebacker, failed to control a squib kick that OSU recovered.

MacIntyre said both turnovers “weren’t coaching mistakes; those were kids not doing what they’re supposed to do . . . they’re things we’re working on all the time. We’ll just have to keep working at it. With turnovers you just never give yourself a chance, especially on back-to-back kickoff returns. That’s a huge momentum thing.”

For all of their miscues after finally getting back on the field for the first time since Sept. 7, MacIntyre did say the Buffs never rolled over: “We were down 17-3 at the half and hadn’t moved the ball at all. I thought if we came out in the second half and stopped them and scored . . . but they made a good drive, we fumbled (the kickoff) and basically it was out of hand. But the one thing I will say, our kids kept battling, fighting and pushing.”

“It’s not a setback,” added Henderson. “We still have to learn from each and every game, each and every play that we’re in there. You have to keep moving forward. We’ve got Oregon coming up.”

And the Buffs have an idea, a very bad one, of what that means. Since entering the Pac-12 three seasons ago, they’ve lost two games to the Ducks by a combined score of 115-16.

2 Replies to “Colorado Daily – Oregon”

  1. Kind of a misleading stat : While they are college football’s highest-ranked team playing “fastball,” the Ducks aren’t even atop the Pac-12 Conference in averaging the most plays per game. In fact, there are seven Pac-12 teams – including CU – that average more plays per game.

    When it only takes 4 plays to score every time you touch the ball, you’re not going to have very many plays per game.

    A better stat would time between plays. I’ll bet OU is rocking that stat. And during the OSU game, they mentioned that CU is abnormally slow compared to the rest of the NCAA this year.

  2. Sorry Coach but there is a reason you guys are the only ones that think you will win. I would think 28 points will be our max while Oregon is in the mid to high 60’s. But I’m with the Buffs in spirit even though I can’t be there. Maybe Ralphie can make Mariotta poop his pants.


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