Colorado Daily – Washington

November 8th

Washington looks to pick up the pace of its offense

Not good news for the Buff Nation …

From the Seattle Times … In its first five games, Washington ran its new up-tempo offense effectively and efficiently. The Huskies averaged 85 plays, three more than their stated goal before the season, with they ranked among the national leaders at that point with an average of 557 yards of total offense.

In the last three games, UW’s averaged dipped 72.3 plays per game and 410 yards.

Those figures are dragged down considerably by the debacle at Arizona State. UW ran a season-low 65 plays and gained just 212 yards. A week earlier against Oregon, UW also had just 74 plays; even in the bounce-back rout of California, the Huskies, with 78 plays, fell short of their season average.

If the Huskies want this November to look more like September — and not a forgettable October — then the offense has to get moving again … in a hurry.

“In the last little bit of stretch, we slowed down a little,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said after practice Thursday. “We had talked about this. I felt like our actual speed, we had slowed down a little. We talked about being a little lethargic at Arizona State, maybe not appearing as fast. So I want to make sure this final month here we’re playing really fast football, and that starts with our pace, it starts with our tempo and how we’re running plays. It’s a little bit of unique challenge when you start losing a couple guys at key positions, but I think our guys are excited about the opportunity. We’re going to go fast — we’re going to go as fast as we can go — but yet be efficient and execute really well and do things the right way.”

The Huskies have talked often this season about being in top shape. That should show itself this month, and it should be revealing in the offensive pace.

“We talked about it again this morning, of how well conditioned we are, that this is going to be a great stretch run for us,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve played really good football in the second half of ballgames; I think we’re going to play great football in the second half of the season and ultimately the fourth quarter.”

Having a refreshed Keith Price at quarterback and having an offensive line intact should help that cause. Starting left guard Dexter Charles has not appeared to be limited in practice this week, Sarkisian said. Charles had missed the last two games with a shoulder injury.

November 7th

Rick George on $50 million goal by December 1st: “We’re a ways away right now” …

From the Daily Camera … While facing a potential $5.6 million shortfall, University of Colorado athletic director Rick George is simultaneously trying to raise $50 million for facilities improvement.

George, who has been on the job for nearly 90 days, told the Daily Camera on Wednesday he has been on the road fundraising endlessly hoping to meet his goal of raising $50 million for the department’s facilities plans by December 1. He was on the road five days last week and leaves Thursday to spend the weekend in the Seattle area where there are several longtime donors.

George would not say how much money has been raised so far.

“We’re a ways away right now,” he said

When asked if he still believes raising $50 million by December is doable, he said: “I don’t know. I’m still optimistic, but we’ve got to have some people step up in the next five weeks and I hope they do.”

CU has never raised more than $16 million in total donations to the athletic department in any one year and had received fewer than 10 gifts of $1 million or more in its entire history when George took over Aug. 12.

… After studying the facilities plans he inherited and what the department needs, George has made some adjustments to what will be done first. He is not a fan of the piecemeal approach to the projects and said he intends to remodel the Dal Ward Center, enclose the northeast corner of the stadium and build a permanent indoor practice facility north of the current practice fields all at once.

Bohn’s plan was to begin construction as soon as enough money could be raised — approximately $8 million — to fund a new academic center. George acknowledged it might become necessary at some point to begin the project in small pieces.

“At some point, we may have to make a decision,” George said. “I’m of the opinion that we need to do it all at one time, but if we can’t generate the revenue, at some point, we may have to consider that. I don’t want to consider that. It’s not in my thought process at this point because I think we need it all.”

George said the Dal Ward Center will not be expanded. It will be remodeled with a goal of bringing the entire department under one roof while maximizing the ability to serve the academic, training and sports medicine needs of student-athletes.

George said accomplishing those goals is just the initial phase of the facilities projects CU athletics must undertake in the coming years. He said enclosing the northwest side of Folsom Field, remodeling Balch Fieldhouse and possibly adding new suites and a new press box and updating the interior of the Coors Events Center are also necessary.

The three priorities on George’s list every day are getting the department’s financial house in order, develop strategic plan and putting shovels in the ground with new facilities.

He said he has assembled a 34-person panel of all constituent groups to help develop his long-term strategic plan for the department that he hopes to unveil at some point in January. He said the plan will cover the next 15 years and will include a series of five three-year plans.

There haven’t been any major surprises in his first three months. George said he has a much better feel for where the department is and where it needs to go.

… While Colorado athletic department faces a deficit

From the Daily Camera … Colorado football fans refusing to support their team this season by not coming to games already have caused another budget shortfall for the athletic department, athletic director Rick George said Wednesday.

George said the department has budgeted for a $5.6 million shortfall, but because the fiscal year doesn’t end until June 30, there is still time to mitigate the damage and he can’t say for sure what the actual shortfall will be.

Needless to say, several crowds of fewer than 40,000 in paid attendance this fall at Folsom Field are compounding the athletic department’s budget challenges at a time when it is also desperately trying to raise money to add new facilities to help make the football product more competitive.

The department is already more than $21 million in debt to the university because of loans that helped pay for the costs of switching conferences and coaching buyouts. With a stadium that seats 53,613, selling only 36,000 seats for games causes big problems.

“That’s a lot of revenue left on the table,” George said.

… I would say for the last eight years there has not been a lot of reason to cheer for CU football,” George said when asked about dwindling fan support. “I get some of the apathy that they have. What’s concerning to me, that I have an issue with, is we’ve had a coach who has come in who is of great character who is doing, I think, some terrific things, and it’s not translating to additional support from people in the local community.”

George said he hired former Buff wide receiver Lance Carl to help tackle the problem by creating new and enhancing current relationships in the community. He said he also expects Carl to bring in new revenue sources using CU’s facilities to attract events such as concerts, soccer matches and any other creative, revenue-producing ideas.

He said Folsom Field would be a great place to host a New Year’s Day NHL game, similar to those that have taken place in venues such as Wrigley Field in Chicago, Fenway Park in Boston and Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

George has restructured the senior management team of the athletic department with Ceal Barry overseeing all internal aspects of the day-to-day operations and Jim Senter overseeing all of the external operations such as fundraising and marketing.

Half-priced tickets available for game against Cal is running a deal on tickets for the Colorado/California game next weekend.

Endzone seats (normally $50) are going for $25.oo, while corner seats (normally $65) are going for $35.

The promotion goes through Sunday, and can be found here.

November 6th

USA Today runs extensive article on Mike MacIntyre / CU finances

The USA Today has put together a lengthy article about the University of Colorado, its hiring of Mike MacIntyre, joining the Pac-12, and the finances it takes to compete as a member of the Pac-12. There are interviews with MacIntyre, President Benson, Chancellor DiStefano, Athletic director George, and, of course, the requisite CU faculty member who hates athletics (“Faculty are annoyed, though there are more colorful ways to say it, at these athletic excesses,” says Colorado physics professor Jerry Peterson, a member of the steering committee of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, an alliance of faculty senates from major football schools).

The full article, entitled, “Colorado’s MacIntyre part of college football salary explosion“, is definitely worth your time, and can be found here.

The opening of the article …

… Mike MacIntyre makes $2.4 million coaching football at Colorado, but the coin that means the most to him is not legal tender.

He carries it in his pocket as a way of feeling close to his father, George, 75, who has multiple sclerosis and watches his son’s games from a bed in Nashville. The commemorative coin is a memento of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award that his father won at Vanderbilt in 1982.

Colorado is asking of the son what Vanderbilt once asked of the father: Turn around a moribund program, and quickly. One of the many differences between then and now is the scale of remuneration.

“I don’t think my father ever made more than $150,000 in his life,” MacIntyre told USA TODAY Sports. “So I think I’m blessed. I understand that, and I’m very thankful.”

George MacIntrye made $150,000 in 1985, the last year he coached Vandy, equivalent to $326,000 today — which would still be more than $2 million less than his son is making this season. Colorado is paying MacIntyre roughly $1 million more than the next-highest-paid football coach in its history and more than 2½ times his predecessor.

What’s more, MacIntyre’s payday comes as Colorado’s athletics department is awash in red ink. It owes the school nearly $30 million in internal loans provided over a series of years to help cover the athletics department’s move from the Big 12 to the Pac-12 and the considerable cost of buying out departed coaches and athletics directors while paying bigger bucks for new ones, among other costs. Plus, MacIntyre’s contract specifies other areas in which the school commits to spend even more on football, from facilities to staff to academic support.

The upshot: Colorado is all-in, anteing up on big-time college football.

Coaches are among the major beneficiaries as schools across the nation bet on football and play musical chairs with conference affiliations. The average compensation package for major-college coaches is $1.81 million, a rise of about $170,000, or 10%, since last season — and more than 90% since 2006, when USA TODAY Sports began tracking coaches’ compensation …

November 5th

Tuesday press conference quotes

From …

General / Opening Statement “A little bit about last week—a very competitive football game that we had a chance in.  If we could have just executed a little bit better on defense, we were right there on a few plays and they made some plays on us.  We’ve got to start making those plays consistently.  Offensively, we need to tear down that wall that’s at the 28-yard line.  If we can tear that wall down I think we’re going to be getting into the end zone a lot more and that’s something we’re working hard at.  We’ve got to accomplish finishing that.  So it’s kind of finishing some plays on defense and finishing some drives on offense which kinds of sums up the last couple games for us.  Once we start doing that there will be a lot more smiles in the locker room.”

On Getting over the Proverbial “Hump” in the Pac-12 “Well for a while there we couldn’t get to that wall.  So, now we’ve got to that wall so, that’s an accomplishment.  So, now we’ve got to get over it. Just being more precise in practice and just getting a little bit better at our fundamentals, going up through a guy’s hands and knocking the ball away instead of him catching it and falling into the end zone.  Things like that.  Those are little things that are big things …..  Like, taking the right angle on a tackle instead of over-running it when he gains 30 yards and he should have gained only two …..  We’re getting better at that.  Offensively, it was one of our goals last week, no pre-snap penalties on the road with the crowd and we had three in that fringe area that hurt us.  So, literally if you don’t have those three, we probably score two more times to be honest with you.  So, those are little things that are big things and we’re working hard at that.  We tried to play the music louder in the bubble.  We’re going to keep working at it and I think it’s just a sense of a little bit more focus in practice situations and on game day.  As you start getting into those situations, you kind of get excited when you get down there.  You’ve got to be able to control your emotions so; I think those are two areas that we can work at.”

On Fixing Mistakes in the Red Zone “I think once you do it a few times I think you kind of relax a little bit maybe, if that makes sense.  So, we’ll do it.  I think we’ll do it.  We’ve got some guys that can make some plays and we’ll get it done.  They do change a little bit.  But, we had a couple plays there that we could have made that we just didn’t make.  We had the jump off-sides two times. We had one where we overthrew one that was open and then we had a couple others where they just made some good plays.  So, those are just us executing a little better.  Us as a coaching staff looked at it hard and said ‘Maybe there are a few wrinkles there that could help us that you might bring out in that area of the field that they hadn’t seen before in the drive that might help you.’”

On Liufau’s Performance “I thought he did some really good things and he just kept competing and kept competing.  The good thing is every time he’s gone out he’s gotten a little bit better.  That’s extremely encouraging to me and to him, I think.”

On Derrick Webb’s Performance “He did some really good things.  He made some plays.  The way it worked out I think in the game, it was a situation where he could be on the field more.  This team, there will be different situations for other linebackers with different formations and different personnel groups they use.  Derrick did well and I was pleased with his attitude.  I knew he would have a good attitude about it.”

On Whether Teammates Coming to the Aid of Liufau When Defenders Came at Him after the Play was a Defining Moment for the Team “I just think it shows how tough he is and what a battler he is.  He’s not going to take anything from anybody.  He’s going to get back up and play again.  I think the offensive line was taking up for him which was good.  I was (Anthony) Barr wouldn’t have gotten back there.  That’s what I wish.  They took up for him and they all rallied behind him and I thought that was good to see.  The whole time I was going ‘Don’t swing at him!  Don’t swing at him!’  That’s what I was saying.”

On Liufau Earning his Teammates’ Respect by Not Backing Down “I would say that would give him more respect.  He doesn’t go in there and complain about it.  He just keeps playing.  He’s a good quarterback and he’s going to keep getting better.”

On Washington Scouting Report “Well, (Bishop) Sankey is a good running back.  They have a good offensive line.  Their tight end is a heck of a weapon. He’s big, strong and athletic.  He’s not only a weapon in the passing game, but he’s like having an extra tackle on those runs which enables Sankey to get free and do some things.  The quarterback (Keith Price) is a very, very good athlete.  They lost one of their bets receivers who I thought was an excellent player.  Their other receivers are very good.  They’ve shown some explosiveness in some games and in some games they’ve kind of just been ok.  But, they have the ability to explode on you offensively.  Defensively, I’d say they’re one of the one or two most athletic defenses in the league when you watch them.  They’re big up front.  They have rangy outside linebackers.  They can also rush the passer.  Their corner, (Marcus) Peters, I think is the best in the league.  He’ll play on Sundays for a long time.  So, I think they’re very, very good there.  They have a good there.  They have a good scheme on defense.  They’ll do a lot of moving around.  I’m very impressed with their defensive talent.  I’m impressed with their offensive talent but I think they’re defensive talent is at the top of the league.”

On Kicker Will Oliver “You can tell because I’ve been kicking him from the 50s.  I just felt like we needed the points and I felt like we needed the energy.  The other night he didn’t kick the ball as …. He’s been kicking it really, really, really well.  He didn’t quite kick as good the other night.  He’d be the first one to tell you that.  I know he’ll hit it better this week.  The other night the wind, the way it was on the field, he could have hit it from ….. All of them, even the ones he missed, he clearly had enough leg.  He just pushed it to the right a little bit but, he can kick.  If I had my druthers I’d like to always kick it from the low 40s down but, we’ve kicked quite a few 50 yarders and he’s made a few.”

On Whether Oliver’s Range Changes the Coach’s Mindset as Far as Whether or not to go for it on Fourth Down “I just feel we get some points there and if we’re in a situation where I feel good about us defensively then, I’ll punt it down there and pin them.  Then I think you have a better chance of getting seven points if you hold them there and you get the ball back at the 45 or the 40 again.  Then, I think you have a better chance.  But, if I don’t feel great about us defensively I might kick it just to keep getting points and getting momentum and doing different things like that.  Then, we can kick it off out of the end zone or pin them down there with that.”

On Improving Both Offensively and Defensively in the Red Zone “We need to improve in both areas in the red zone.  One of the things that we need to do defensively is if we have a turnover or we have a situation we need to make them kick more field goals than we have been.  And that’s something that we need to improve on.  Offensively, we’ve got to get in the end zone more.  We’ve got to find a way to get into the end zone more.  Like I said, it used to be 24 points and no turnovers was a good offensive day.  That’s a bad offensive day now.  You’ve got to get between 35 and 40 to have a good offensive day with no turnovers or one turnover-type thing to be successful.”

On Learning How to Win “I think the process of winning goes back to ….. I really don’t talk to them about winning. I talk to them about being successful in their own world or what they do. I think as we start getting closer and closer in these games, that as they keep doing their job under pressure ……. I f you focus on your job under pressure then hopefully the other guy will focus on his job under pressure then everything comes together. So, I think that’s the main key. You’re right that is how you win but if you say ‘I have to do this to win,’ then that’s a different type of pressure. Does that make sense? So, I want them to just ‘Do my job as hard as I can do my job and execute that under pressure, then hopefully the guy next to me will do the same thing.’ When we start doing that we’ll click as a train moving down the tracks. We’ve had a few kinks but, I think we’re moving down the track a little bit.”

On Improving as a Team “We’ll I’ve seen quite a bit of improvement in a few of the guys.  I think it all varies.  I do think overall that the whole entire football team is coming to work every day and they’re coming with a positive attitude.  I preach it all the time and I believe it with all my heart but, attitude defeats altitude, period.  So we’re having that type of attitude and if you keep doing that, you keep working hard, and if you keep understanding your role as hard as you can all the time, you’ll accomplish great things.  If you try to fix everything all at once and you look at the whole picture, sometimes it looks overwhelming but, if you look at your individual picture you can accomplish that.  When we all do that then we’re successful.”

On Team’s Work Ethic “I’m seeing a little bit more fight with each individual guy and I’m seeing a little bit more …… I don’t know if the word is pride but, taking a little bit more ownership in their position and in their spot.  And that’s what we’re talking about.  I think they see themselves getting better and they’re hungry to taste some more victories and I think that they understand that you’ve got to have an extra ‘oomph’.  You’ve just got to have it.  If you don’t have it then, you you’ve got to match the other person’s intensity.  But, really what you’ve got to do is go past the other person’s intensity and that takes a little bit of extra effort.”

On Defensive Line “I think we’ve improved in the last two weeks in some areas.  I’m seeing better use of our hands and I’m seeing more tackles for loss.  I’m seeing a little bit more harassment in the backfield.  We’ve got an improved pass rush.  Part of that is on me.  We’ve got to get a little bit better scheme for them.  And then part of that is on them.  They’ve got to be able to defeat the guy ion some individual moves that we’ve worked on.  Dissecting the opponent a little bit better …… we’ve worked a little bit on that.  You know that you’re going up against #77 and this is what #77 has a little bit of a hard time with.  I think as you play and you mature then you start understanding that.  Sometimes in the heat of the game it goes so fast …… ‘What a minute, who am I on now?’  They’re starting to learn that and I think that we can help them out with some better calls with pass rush stunts and that type of thing…. Also with some better matchups….. We’ve tried to move some guys around and that sort of thing.  Then, when we get to the quarterback we’ve got to get him down.  We got to him a few times the other night we just didn’t get him down.  So, we have to keep working on that.  We do a drill for that and we just have to keep working at it.”

On the Team’s Struggles with Securing the Center to Quarterbacks Exchange “A few of them were not very good by Gus (Handler).  We talked to him and he fixed them.  They had a nose guard on that was pretty quick. Sometimes when you have to step to get the guy …… But, first and foremost, you’ve got to get the snap. Thank goodness Sefo (Liufau) has big hands and so he was able to get a few of them and make some plays.  But, it did mess up the rhythm a little bit and Gus hadn’t really had that problem until the other night in the first quarter but, he fixed it.  That’s something we do every day.  We do a three-minute period every day on snaps and different shades on it.  Because you don’t know what the other team is going to do all the time.  You kind of have an idea ….. head up on him, to the right, step in to the left, pass blocks, run blocks, stepping to you right, stepping to your left ….. Because sometimes with some centers, it’s a harder snap if you’re stepping to your left than if you step to your right.  It just depends.  So, we’ve worked at that and we really haven’t had a problem with that until the other night in the first quarter but then it got fixed.”

On the Offensive Line Limiting the Opposition to Three Sacks in the Last Two Games “I think we’ve improved in that area.  I think they’re doing good.  Arizona brought a lot of different types of things at us and we picked that up well.  UCLA just brought two great athletes and they blocked those great athletes pretty good. That’s why (Anthony Barr) got a little frustrated.  Because I think he thought he was going to have a feast.  Sefo is able to move around in the pocket a little bit and he’s starting to understand how to get a little bit better timing.  I think early on he was kind of holding the ball a little bit too long at times.  But, he can hold it until the last second too and get rid of it. He has a knack at that.”

On Playing with a Sense of Urgency in the Fight to Reach a Bowl Game “I would hope that they have a greater sense of urgency every game.  I’m not trying to do that as a cliché.  You need to look at them all the same but, as far as the bowl picture goes, we’ve got to win three more here somehow, some way.  The good thing is we still have a chance to do that.  We went through that our second year at San Jose State and we lost it and everybody thought we were going to ….. And then we beat two teams afterwards that were better than the two teams that beat us.  Everybody thought we were going to tank it but we just kept improving, kept working, kept the attitude going, and that was really encouraging to me and it’s been encouraging to me here.  How these kids have kept working and kept fighting and how our staff has kept coaching them, working with them, and kept pushing them …. To me that’s always exciting to see.  We definitely want to get to a bowl game there’s no doubt about that but, we also want to win every game we play.  So, we’ll keep working at it.”

On Keep Liufau Grounded As he Prepares to Return to his Home State of Washington “Make sure all the players that don’t have family members going, that they give him their tickets.  He’s more worried about tickets.  No, I think that he’ll enjoy playing in front of his family and I think he’ll do fine.  It’s probably kind of a little bit of a dream come true for him to go home and play in front of his home fans and have his family right there.  He’ll have a lot of family and friends there.  Of course, he knows a lot of players on Washington’s team.  So, I think it’ll be a lot of excitement for him and I think he’ll handle it fine.  He’s so even-keeled that I don’t really think it’ll bother him.  And I don’t think he has a girlfriend either so, I think we’re ok there.”

On Stress Levels that are Often Associated with the Coaching Profession “Of course coaching is stressful but, I think every job is stressful.  Because I think everybody wants to be successful at their job.  Our job is just, the three hours that it’s out there, everything is under the microscope.  It all boils up at one time.  As a head coach, you’re in charge of everything and you’re trying to work  but so many things are out of your control sometimes so, that is kind of stressful.  But, I’m glad that (NFL head coaches Gary Kubiak and John Fox who were both admitted to hospitals for heart-related illnesses last week) are going to be all right first of all but, it there is a lot of stress that goes along with it.  You try to deflect it and you try to do different things to get your mind in the right place. The other thing I think is that it’s so emotional …… You have to be emotional.  Even if you’re stoic over there you’re probably just dying inside.

I think that you have to have emotion to be successful in this game somehow some way.  Because you have to have that extra oomph, that extra fire, that extra energy.  I think that wears on you at times.  I think perspective is a big part of it. You have to always keep looking forward.  You have to always keep looking at the individual victories that you have along the way and keep doing that.  I think coaches also realize there’s such a fine line between winning and losing. There’s such a fine line.  But, I think you’re always trying to stay on top of all those things to try to be successful.  If you let it, it can eat at you but there’s sometimes in life where you just have situations happen to you and it might not even be stress-induced.  Just because they’re football coaches, that’s what they’re all thinking but, I’m pretty sure there was a banker and a lawyer and a reporter last week that had heart surgery too.  It’s just part of life.”

On Running Back Michael Adkins’ Status and the Performance of the Running Game Without Him “He practiced today.  We didn’t hit him.  Today was another test so; hopefully he doesn’t have headaches tomorrow.  So, we would hope to see him out there Saturday.  He’s a good player.  He has a lot of speed.  We ran well Saturday night I think but, with his speed we might have broken a couple longer runs.  But, I thought the guys ran really hard and really well.”

On Offensive Tempo “We go fast tempo when we can.  The other side of it is, if we’re right there in that game with the way we’ve been playing defensively …… If we can get a couple drives going and slow the tempo down a little bit then, that takes more time off the clock and we can get to halftime with a close game.  That’s what we’re trying to do.  If we have a speed-up tempo that we feel like is taking advantage of something they’re not lining up in, we’ve done that too and been able to take advantage of it.  So, we’re kind of going back and forth trying to find out the best way to win the football game and as we get better and better on defense, we’ll start playing faster and faster on offense.”

On Cornerback Kenneth Crawley’s Status “He practiced today.”


Quarterback Sefo Liufau

On the Loss to UCLA “You have to shrug it off.  It’s just a game and you can’t take it personally either.  What happens on the field stays on the field.”

On His Performance Last Week “I feel like I did pretty well this game, but I still feel like I left some plays on the field.  There were a couple of throws that I want to have back again.  Obviously the one to DD Goodson, one to Paul (Richardson), but there is always room for improvement.  I am always going to see it that way and I am always going to be tough on myself.”

On Whether the UCLA Game was his Best Performance Thus Far “Yeah, I would say so.  Obviously it’s hard because I left throws out there and I am always hard on myself.  I am always nitpicky on myself, but I would say last week was pretty good (in terms of) distributing the ball to the receivers that were open and taking what the defense gave me.”

On Improving “I think just being calm and composed, and just leading the guys.  That is a key thing. Arizona State was a little bit rough. You may not see it on the film or anything like that, but there are points in that game where I felt like I wasn’t leading well enough and as the games have progressed, everything has become slower and I have led my team, which is what I really want to do.”

On Team Support and Earning Respect as a Freshman Starter “I would say that I have earned their respect a little bit.  It meant a lot to have them come back.  I am not going to let anyone push me around or anything like that.  Obviously, a late hit is a late hit and I am not going to do anything about that because they have a flag for that, but pushing down on someone is something I am not going to stand for.  I think that the team after that point had a lot of fire and a lot of fight, and teams aren’t going to be able to just roll over us.  It’s not going to happen this year; it’s not going to happen anymore.  We are a team that is going to fight and we are going to fight all 60 minutes of this.”

On Preparing for Next Week’s Game Against Washington “The more athletic and faster teams, you have to read things a lot faster.  I think that for the most part last week I did a good job, but there were times that I just kind of let it slip and misread something here and there.  I think that I need to go through my reads more quickly, get it to the open guy, and make the right checks.”

On the Excitement of Returning Home to Washington This Weekend “Pretty excited, I would say.  I get to see a lot of my family and a couple of my friends.  I think that for me, it’s special in the way that I will play in front of my family and friends back home.”

On Being Homesick “I think being in college and going to school and playing football here doesn’t really give you a chance to think.  I’ve never been homesick being here because they keep you so busy.  Now, being the starting quarterback, you even have less time and you are even busier, so you don’t really think about all of that.”

On Washington’s Defense “They run a lot of base stuff, kind of similar to an Arizona.  A lot of basic stuff and they try to keep everything in front of them and make you execute, which is something that we have gotten better at each week.  We want to play the full game and I believe we are getting much closer to that.”

On Coach MacIntyre’s “Just Keep Swimming” Comment “We fought all four quarters.  We put together a really good game.  Obviously there are mistakes in the game that you wish you could take out.  You will never play a perfect game, but we ‘kept swimming,’ as he says, and we kept fighting until that final whistle.”


Kicker Will Oliver

On Having the Confidence of the Head Coach to Attempt Long Field Goals Rather Than go for it on Fourth Down “It’s nice to have some confidence.  I mean, it’s obviously up to him but, it’s nice to be in that position definitely to get some opportunities too.”

On Evaluating his Season “I think up until last game it was pretty good but, last game it slipped a little bit. I missed a couple.  It was obviously completely on me.  But, it’s kind of a reality check.  Things have been kind of smooth sailing but, after last game obviously, you miss a couple and it kind of wakes you up again and keeps you focused.  So, I think in a twisted backwards way it will help kind of keep me focused on my goals.”

On Increased Opportunities This Year as Opposed to Last Season “It’s definitely more of a rhythm.  Getting attempts in close games is also huge.  It kind of gets me accustomed to that pressure again so, I feel any time they put me on the field it’s not ‘Whoa, I haven’t been here before or haven’t been here in a while.’  So, it’s definitely helped me with my confidence and rhythm.”

On Changing his Technique “They rested my leg a little bit, and I was feeling better and stronger, frankly.  I was sort of in a rhythm.  When you kick an extra point or a field goal to warm up for a kickoff and you get out there on the kickoff and my leg is feeling good.  If you are just doing a field goal or just doing a kickoff, then you are not out there for the second one.  So I think that the beginning of the season had its ups and downs a little bit, but I definitely think it has gotten more consistent and I am feeling better.”

On Kicking with the Game on the Line “I mean every kick is the same.  We were coached to focus on every kick one at a time.  I had one at (California) to put us into overtime.  We do two-minute stuff at practice, and it’s funny because I find there to be more pressure in practice than there actually is in the game.  The crowd is kind of white noise in a game, whereas in practice everyone in watching you and it is your friends and teammates, and it is all close to you.  I think that I would be ready if the situation presents itself.  It’s just one kick at a time for me.”

On Traveling “I love it.  I love that we get to travel to all of these cool places.  Growing up, I watched the games on the TV, and all of a sudden you are standing on the middle of the field, and you have watched a bunch of games there but have never actually played.  It definitely adds to the effect.”

On Receiving Advice on Kicking “I talk to my parents on and off.  I am in touch occasionally with (kickers) Chris Sailor and Mason Crosby.  A few and far between, but just to kind of maintain moving in the right direction, definitely.”

On The Camaraderie between the Team’s Kickers “Pretty much when we come off we joke.  Often times when you have a bad hit or something but it still went in and everyone thinks that it was great, we kind of joke about how we are the only couple of people in the stadium that actually have any idea that it probably should have missed.  It can be funny in that way.”

On His Longest Kick in Practice “With the team: 56 (yards), a couple of weeks ago….. Just messing around …… about 65-67.”

On His Kicking Range at Altitude versus at Sea Level “I don’t really notice it that much.  Especially on game day when we are at these other places, you have the adrenalin going anyway, so it’s hard to measure.  I don’t really think about it much, though.”

On Pinpointing His Mistakes from Last Week’s Game “I got under the first one and on the second one I kind of punched out a little bit.  Other than that, it was just that I have to go out there, calm the mind, and go through the regular routine.”

On Being named a Semi-Finalist for the Lou Groza Award “I feel good, but frankly I have started to say that I haven’t been eliminated yet.  I think it would be more fitting to have a list of kids who have been eliminated, than a list of kids who have made it this far.  It’s nice to be in the running. Obviously it is every kicker’s dream to win that goal, so it is definitely nice, but I have a long ways to go.  I can’t miss from here on, but that is the way I would want it to be anyway.”

On Watching Other Kickers Line Up for Game-Winners “A lot of people don’t know what it feels like to be in that situation.  Now granted, I haven’t been in a game-winner situation, but even back to Cal [Berkeley] freshmen year.  If you miss a kick like that, I mean even when you miss a regular kick in the first quarter or a long kick you weren’t even supposed to make, that feeling…there is no feeling like that. I can’t even describe it.  When I missed that one kick at the 45 (yard line), I knew immediately that it went wide, but I looked up and saw it and my whole body went cold.  You definitely pull for them (other kickers), especially for kids, 18-23 year olds.  Yeah, the positives are great, but the negatives are life-altering, I would say, potentially for some of these kids.”

On Mason Crosby “I know him a little bit.  He comes up once every summer to kind of check in and he kicks with us when he is up here to play golf in his off-season.  We text every once-in-a-while and check in, but not the strongest, but he has definitely been a bit of a mentor and has given me some really good advice.  It has been great to have a contact like that to see how to get to where he is, and how to follow in his footsteps.”

On What He Likes about Kicking “I love it.  I wouldn’t say that the negatives far outweigh the positives, it is just one of those things that when the negatives happen, it is way over-analyzed in the media and it just kind of explodes.  I wouldn’t say that the negatives outweigh the positives because I think the experience of playing college football is all positive…period. It is taken a little bit too seriously with the kickers getting death threats and stuff when they miss game-winners, but I think that the overall experience is definitely overwhelmingly positive.”

On Competing Against Teammate Diego Gonzalez “It’s great.  He is a really great kicker and has a really strong leg.  He has gotten a lot more consistent since he has gotten here.  He is a great kid and he is a lot of fun.  I have definitely gotten better with my time here at friendly competition.  We are competing, but we don’t want the other one to have some terrible thing happen to them.  You know what happened to Justin Castor and no competitor would root for that, especially here.  It is terrible and you don’t wish that upon anyone.  I think that having Diego here we have been able to have a good time, but when it is time to kick field goals or kickoffs, it is competition time.  Less so during the season, obviously with his redshirt on and everything, but spring ball and during the summer there will be great competition that will make both of us a lot better.  It is like sharpening a knife.”

On Tackling “It is kind of ironic that I ended up being in a position where I don’t do much other than kick.  I played ice hockey, soccer, and lacrosse in high school, so I am not scared to get hit.  I may not be the biggest or most athletic specimen, but I definitely love contact sports.  I wouldn’t shy away from it.”

On Practicing Contact Drills “We did a lot over the summer, but not so much during season.  If some freak thing were to happen, especially with (Justin) Castor out, you have got a situation that you don’t want to have on your hands.”

Lance Carl named associate athletic director

From … Lance Carl, who participated in one of the key plays on the football field as a player for the University of Colorado in the mid-1980s*, will return to the school for the fourth time in his career as he has been named the associate athletic director for a newly created external role that encompasses business development, community partnerships and as the coordinator for non-game day events.

* Here’s the play … from the 20-10 win over Nebraska in 1986 (still gives me chills) …


Carl, 48, rejoins CU after spending the last eight years with the Colorado Department of Higher Education, where he was a director for student motivational outreach.  He was a direct liaison to all middle and high schools throughout the state, as well as for parents and administrators.   He developed the Umbrella of Success motivational presentation and delivered that message to 140,000 students, parents and administrators during that time.

“I am honored to be a part of Rick George’s staff,” Carl said.  “I’ve known Rick for over 25 years, and I believe he’s going to be an outstanding leader for the athletic department.  My last time here was as a graduate assistant coach in the 90s, so the opportunity to return to CU once again and serve in this role has me really excited to hit the ground running.  It’s both an honor and a privilege.”

In his role, he will work to build strategic community partnerships, improve the department’s engagement with local community entities, and work to attract non-game day event business to CU’s athletic facilities.

“Lance is the right person at the right time for this position,” George said.  “He is well respected around the state from his work in higher education, he is well connected, and I know will be able to meet the challenges that this position entertains in aiding the direction we need to take the athletic department in community outreach and building new and creative revenue streams.”

As a junior split end in 1986, he led the team in receiving with nine catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns, as with the Buffaloes in their second year of running the wishbone offense under coach Bill McCartney, Colorado didn’t throw the ball all that often.  But one of those scores was as big as they come, a 52-yard reception from O.C. Oliver on a perfectly executed halfback option that answered a Nebraska field goal and put CU ahead, 17-7, on the first play of the fourth quarter.  That helped keep the third-ranked Huskers at an arm’s length and the Buffaloes went on to win, 20-10, in a game referred to as “the turning point” for the school under McCartney.

He graduated from CU in 1991 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Sociology; he had first returned to CU to finish his degree after signing as a free agent with the Washington Redskins and returning to his native Iowa.

Carl then came back to CU as a graduate assistant coach under Rick Neuheisel for the 1996 season.  He also spent four years as a regional scout for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.

November 4th

Will Oliver named as semi-finalist for the Lou Groza award

From … Will Oliver’s kicking prowess has consistently grabbed local headlines and now the national media is starting to stand up and take notice.

In the midst of another solid season, the CU kicker has been named as one of 20 semi-finalists for the 2013 Lou Groza Award, handed out annually to the nation’s top kicker. Oliver has connected on 78 percent of his field goal attempts, including makes from 53 and 52 yards out, and has been perfect on extra points. The fact that he is also doubling as a kickoff specialist this season for the first time in his career makes his achievements as a place kicker that much more impressive.

“It’s nice to get some recognition for all the work I’ve put in,” said Oliver. “I think I’m headed in the right direction but I still think I have a ways to go to be as good as I can be.”

Oliver’s season began with him going a perfect 4-4 on field goals in the team’s win over Colorado State and has continued to steamroll in the weeks since. A month later he was perfect again, going 3-3 against Oregon. He boomed five kickoffs through the end zone in the team’s win over Charleston Southern then made a career-long 53 yarder against Arizona. Despite all of the success Oliver has enjoyed this season, it’s the mistakes that drive him and after missing twice in the loss at UCLA, Oliver knows he will have to get even better if he is to have a chance to win the award.

“I had a rough game last week,” said Oliver. “It was really eye-opening to me to struggle like that but as long as I take it one kick at a time and stay engaged I think I’ll have a chance to win it.”

Oliver is joined on the list by some of the best kicking talent in the country including four kickers from Pac-12. Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez, Utah’s Andy Phillips and California’s Vincenzo D’Amato also made the list indicating that the position has become a strength throughout the conference.

“I think that’s really good for the conference,” said Oliver. “It’s great for all of us in the Pac-12 to have that competition and it’s a great motivation factor for me because there’s just so much talent.”

Oliver joins former kicker Mason Crosby as the only CU kickers to ever be named semi-finalists for the prestigious award. Crosby was named a semi-finalist twice and finished as the runner-up to winner Alexis Serna from Oregon State in 2005.

The list will be reduced to three finalists on November 25th and on December 12th the winner will be announced at the annual Home Depot College Football Awards Show which will air live on ESPN.

Cal game time set

Colorado will take on Cal at 3:30 MT next Saturday, November 16th.

One would have thought that a kickoff which was timed to better fit with the CU basketball game against Jackson State (10:00 a.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks). The Pac-12, though, will be showing Washington State at Arizona at noon, MT, leading up to the CU/Cal game at 3:30.

The thinking was probably that CU didn’t want to have their basketball game end around noon, and then have the football game start minutes later.

So … plenty of time to tailgate next weekend!

UCLA defender receives Pac-12 Special Teams Player-of-the-Week

Well, I guess the good news is that, for only the second time in five tries, the Buffs’ opposing quarterback was not named the Pac-12 Offensive Player-of-the-Week.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley was passed over in favor of Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly, who accounted for seven touchdowns in the Sun Devil’s 55-21 win over Washington State.

The bad news … another opponent did receive Player-of-the-Week honors …

From the Pac-12 … Quarterback Taylor Kelly of ARIZONA STATE, cornerback Josh Shaw of USC and linebacker Jayon Brown of UCLA have been named offensive, defensive and special teams Pac-12 Players of the Week in football.

Brown, a linebacker from Tampa, Fla., had an outstanding day on the Bruins’ kick coverage team as UCLA beat Colorado 45-23 at home on Saturday. He was credited with two tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in kick off coverage against the Buffs. His fumble recovery on the 14-yard line late in the second quarter set up a touchdown that extended the Bruins’ lead to 21-10 before the half while his forced fumble on a fourth-quarter kick-off pinned the Buffs at their own 21-yard.

Larry Scott receives contract extension from the Pac-12

From the Pac-12 … The Pac-12 CEO Group announced today that it has extended Commissioner Larry Scott’s contract through the academic year of 2017-2018. As part of the extension, the CEO Group – made up of the 12 university presidents and chancellors – also named Scott as the Executive Chairman of Pac-12 Enterprises.

In just over four years as Commissioner, Scott has transformed the Pac-12 into a modern Conference that is setting the standard in collegiate athletics with its athletic success and contribution to its member institutions. In 2012, with strong support from the leadership of the Conference’s member institutions, Scott created Pac-12 Networks, distinguishing the Pac-12 as the only collegiate conference to wholly own and operate its own media platform.

“On behalf of the entire Pac-12 Board of Directors, we are delighted to announce a contract extension with Larry and the new title of Pac-12 Commissioner and Executive Chairman of Pac-12 Enterprises,” said Dr. Elson S. Floyd, President of Washington State University and Chair of the Pac-12 CEO Group. “Larry’s leadership and vision is critical as we realize our tremendous potential as a Conference built on a firm foundation of academic excellence and superior athletic achievement. Pac-12 Enterprises will continue to provide exposure to our athletic programs, student-athletes in all sports, and world-renowned academic programs, as well as deliver long-term financial value for our institutions to help fulfill our core academic missions.”

Scott became the sixth commissioner of the Conference on July 1, 2009. Scott has led the Conference through expansion for the first time since 1978 by successfully adding Colorado and Utah, created a Football Championship Game, transformed the Pac-12 basketball tournaments into must-attend events, secured agreement for equal revenue sharing, delivered a landmark media rights agreement with ESPN and Fox, and created Pac-12 Networks.

“I am honored and gratified by the support from the CEO Group of our great institutions,” Scott said. “We have reached a number of key milestones in the past four years and none of this would have been possible without the vision and commitment of our board.”

Scott has also led a rebranding of the Conference, and launched the Pac-12 Globalization Initiative as a way to proactively promote the Conference and member institutions through student-athlete exchanges and sport. In its first two years, Pac-12 student-athletes have enjoyed unique cultural and athletic experiences in China, and the Conference and its member institutions have gained significant brand exposure for the future.

November 3rd

First look: Washington Huskies

Washington is 5-3 on the season, and are coming off of a bye week before facing Colorado.

The Huskies got off to a 4-0 start in September, including what appeared to be a big win over Boise State in the season opener (Boise State, while 6-3, is not the Bronco team of recent years. Boise State gave up 626 yards of total offense to Colorado State in a 42-30 win last weekend). Wins over Illinois and Idaho State were followed up by an impressive 31-13 win over Arizona. Washington finished the month of September with a No. 15 national ranking.

October, though, was not as kind to the Huskies, with Washington going 1-3. Tough losses to Stanford (31-28) and Oregon (45-24) were followed by an embarrassing 53-24 thumping by Arizona State. Washington salvaged the month with a 41-17 win over California in their most recent game.

Washington has finished 7-6 each of the last three seasons. After a 4-0 start and a top 25 ranking, those days appeared to be in the past. Now, with road games left against UCLA and Oregon State, plus the Apple Cup battle against Washington State, another 7-6 season may be in the offing.

Of course, after feasting on the Cal Bears, the Huskies are looking to be healed up again by facing the Buffs.

But there are questions.

From the Seattle Times … Some key questions about UW entering the final month:

Will the defense regain its September form?

It was a great start for the Huskies in September, and for the defense in particular. UW then took its licks against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State. The bounce-back effort against Cal was encouraging, but does it last?

Can Keith Price stay healthy, and hot?

Some were clamoring for Cyler Miles last week after Price’s poor performance (due at least in part to a battered thumb) against ASU. Price responded with a turnover-free, 376-yard, two-touchdown effort against California. There’s no question: This is his team. And as the senior leader, this final stretch is his time to shine.

Who steps up with top receiver Kasen Williams out for the season?

Jaydon Mickens, Kevin Smith and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are the established targets for senior quarterback Keith Price. Freshmen John Ross and Damore’ea Stringfellow should see more time, as should sophomore Marvin Hall.

Can the offensive line survive without Dexter Charles?

Charles, the sophomore left guard, might be UW’s best offensive lineman. He’s missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, and his status this month is uncertain. Without him, the line looked much better against Cal. But let’s be honest: The Bears’ defense is probably as bad as the Pac-12 has ever seen. What does that mean for the UW line going forward?

Will the road woes continue?

The Huskies’ struggles on the road, particularly in conference, are well chronicled. Back-to-back road trips to UCLA and Oregon State are about as tough as it gets in the Pac-12. Oh, and the Huskies haven’t beaten UCLA in the Rose Bowl since 1995, and they haven’t won in Corvallis since 2003.

Washington a huge favorite over Colorado

Last week, had Colorado as a 24-point underdog to UCLA, with the line moving quickly to 27.5 points (and even higher by kickoff). The Buffs played better than expected, and beat the spread by “only” losing to the Bruins by 22 points, 45-23.

Time to give the Buffs a little love?

Not so.

Colorado opened as a 26-point underdog, but that line quickly moved up to 28 points, with the “smart money” again going against the Buffs.

Why? Well, perhaps the bettors are looking at Washington’s 38-3 win over Colorado last season in Boulder. Or the 52-24 win for the home team the last time the Buffs were in Seattle.

Or it just might be the fact that Colorado is carrying around like an albatross its school record conference losing streak, now up to 13 games.

We’ll see Saturday (6:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks).

Other lines of note …

– In the game of the year in the Pac-12, Oregon opened as a 7.5 point pick over Stanford, but that line has already moved up to ten points.

– In the only other line (involving two BCS teams) with a higher spread than CU’s is the 35 points Florida State is giving Wake Forest (though Louisville is also giving up 28 to Connecticut).

– Arizona State is a touchdown favorite over Utah, with the game to be played in Salt Lake City.

– The Buffs’ next two opponents, Cal and USC, face one another in Berkeley this weekend. Despite being on the road, the Trojans are a 17-point favorite.

– UCLA was a 2.5 point favorite on the road against Arizona, but that line is now down to one point.

– Colorado State is a nine-point favorite over Nevada at home this weekend

6 Replies to “Colorado Daily – Washington”

  1. Stuart,

    You gotta love the beat down put on Oregon by Stanford. Oregon is starting to look a lot more like the old Canon commercial telling us that “image is everything” than Phil Knight’s Nike mantra of “just do it.”

    I don’t normally write in my blog about teams CU is not playing, but I could not help updating my post about the Ducks following their game against the Buffs last month.

    I’m sure they won’t like it in Eugene, but I certainly had fun with it.


    ps- I could not get the comments box to work on the Pac-12 notes page, so I put the comment here. C’est la vie.

  2. Stuart,

    As the Buffs get ready to head to Washington, it’s important to remember what the Buffs have had to work with in the most important area on either side of the ball — The trenches.On both the O-line and the D-line, the Buffs have 17 guys listed on the roster. On both sides of the line, the Buffs have only TWO seniors for strength and leadership. As for juniors, the offense only has TWO there as well, while the defense has THREE. That means 13 underclassmen for the offensive line and 12 for the defensive line.

    All in all, it’s pretty amazing what MacIntyre, Bernardi (O-line) and Jeffcoat (D-line) have done with what they have available in the trenches.It will continue to get better, and should be MUCH better next season. Fact is, if Bakhtiari had not gone pro, and Lewis had not gone criminal (maybe that’s a requirement at Fusker U), the Buffs would most likely have gone to a bowl this year.

    Winning the battle on the line is, by far, the biggest indicator of overall success on the field.

    Go Buffs! Keep getting bigger and better!


  3. Can some one answer this? Are we getting beat up in the second half because we are

    a.)being out coached
    b.)we are not in shape physically
    c.)our talent level

    I can’t get the PAC12 network right now but it looks like the same old story to me game in and game out. We do preety good in the 1st qtr. Okay in the 2nd qtr. then the wheels fall off.


    1. I believe the answer has to be c.
      Out-coached? Only to the extent that these coaches are limited in what they can do with the hand they have been dealt. Giving a free hand to a Marcus Mariota, a Sean Mannion, a D.J. Denker or a Brett Hundley is different than giving a free hand to a true freshman.
      Out of shape? Again, I believe this comes down to the players available. Conditioning takes time, and I believe we have already seen the benefits of the new program by the fewer names we’ve seen on the injury report this fall when compared to prior seasons.

      In the end, talent usually wins out. As I recall, even in the best of the Bill McCartney days, I was always nervous at the start of the third quarter, because that was when teams were able try and better scheme against our more talented players. The Buffs would take the underdogs best shot, and then wear them down with their talent.

      The last three games, the Buffs have started the second half with: a touchdown drive (Charleston Southern); a touchdown drive (Arizona); and a drive against UCLA which ended in a missed field goal. The Buffs give them their best shot to start the third quarter, but then, as is usually the case with out-manned teams, talent takes over and begins to dominate.

      Hard to grade just on improvement, but the fact that CU has only been boat-raced once in the first quarter this season (Arizona State) is actually a step in the right direction. It’s more than learning to walk before you learn to run. The Buffs first have to learn how to crawl. Running with the rest of the Pac-12 is still a ways off, unfortunately.

      1. Thanks Stuart.
        The little bits I get to see make it difficult to assess the team. But watching the coaching staff during the games they are difinitely more under control when they are in the midst of a crisis than the last regime.
        I read alot about the improvement the coaches are seeing and the players are saying the right things about being very close to turning it around.
        I try not to be too critical but I see what I see and have a problem sugar coating the results.Having said that I am thrilled that we have won three games this year. I would like to see us beat Cal, I think that would help having played two fcs team and get a much needed win in the PAC12.
        Thanks for your input.
        As always

        GO BUFFS.

  4. Stuart,

    Please, oh please, let the Huskies come into this game feeling as if it is a foregone conclusion. If the Buffs and Liufau continue to come together as a team, Washington is poised to take on one the chin. The Buffs are finding out it is tough to win anywhere on the road in the Pac-12, but they continue to inch closer to doing just that. When it comes, the thundering herd of Buffaloes will be heard all across the west. This may not be a win, but it might be. Either way, the Huskies will know they’ve been in a fight. Liufau has a lot of family and friends in Washington.


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