Colorado Daily – Utah

November 28th

… CU in a few minutes …

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on Colorado: “They are a vastly improved team over last year”

From the Deseret News … On paper, Colorado may be just what the doctor ordered for a Utah team coming off its most lopsided setback since joining the Pac-12. Last week’s 42-10 loss to Arizona isn’t sitting well with the Utes, especially in the midst of a season that includes conference victories over UCLA, Oregon State, USC and Stanford.

Now, Utah (7-4, 4-4) needs a win over the Buffaloes Saturday at Folsom Stadium in Boulder (11 a.m., Pac-12 Networks) to right the ship and finish with the program’s first winning Pac-12 season.

“It’s up to our guys to refocus and recommit themselves to giving it everything they’ve got this game, just like the other 10 games prior to this last one,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who added that it’s up to the coaches to help the process along and get the team in the right mindset and ready to play.

Question is, can the Utes find a way to get back to where they want to be against a hungry Colorado team still searching for its first Pac-12 win? The Buffaloes (2-9, 0-8) enter their season finale on a seven-game skid.

Even so, Whittingham insists they’re much better than a year ago. Colorado’s losses include double-overtime setbacks to California (59-56) and UCLA (40-37) as well as a close setback to Oregon State (36-31).

“They haven’t got over that hump as far as a conference win but they are much more competitive and playing much better football than last year,” Whittingham said.

Colorado went 2-7 in its first season in the Pac-12 and 1-8 the past two years. This is the Buffaloes’ second campaign under head coach Mike MacIntyre.

“I know their record doesn’t show that, but they are a vastly improved team over last year,” said Whittingham, who added that the Buffs have been in just about every game, including Arizona. “They’ve improved dramatically and we’ve got to play our best game — no doubt about it.”


Utah at Colorado … By the Numbers


  • Utah kicker Andy Phillips has eight field goals of 40-plus yards in conference games, which is twice as many as any other kicker in the conference.
  • Utah punter Tom Hackett leads the nation in punts downed inside the 20 (34) and 10 (19).
  • Utah’s Kaelin Clay leads the nation with four kicks returned for touchdowns.
  • Colorado has allowed 20 sacks this season, which is the fewest in the Pac-12.
  • Colorado’s Nelson Spruce is tied for the national lead with 101 catches.


November 27th

… CU in a few minutes …

Injury report

From …

TB – Michael Adkins – knee – suffered a sprained MCL a few plays into the Arizona game (11/08); underwent arthroscopic surgery on Nov. 25 – OUT

S – Chidobe Awuzie – kidney – suffered a laceration in practice (Nov. 4); missed the Arizona game, remote chance to return for Utah – OUT

OL – Gerrad Kough – concussion – suffered late in the first half at Oregon (11/22) – DAY-TO-DAY

SS – Tedric Thompson – concussion – suffered on the fourth play of overtime against UCLA; tests negative for any other injury (neck, etc.) but has not returned to practice – OUT

FS – Evan White – concussion – suffered late in the first half at Arizona (11/08), missed remainder of game – DAY-TO-DAY

CB – Ahkello Witherspoon – knee – suffered a slight sprain in the second half at Oregon (11/22) – QUESTIONABLE

Those who are out for the season:

S – Jered Bell – knee – suffered a torn ACL in practice (Aug. 15); underwent surgery and will petition for a sixth year from the NCAA – SEASON-ENDING

WR – Elijah Dunston – knee – suffered a torn ACL and MCL in practice (Sept. 22); underwent surgery in late October and is rehabbing – SEASON-ENDING

DE – Tyler Henington – knee – suffered a torn ACL and MCL in practice (Aug. 22); underwent surgery in early Sept. and is rehabbing – SEASON-ENDING

FS – Marques Mosley – knee – suffered a torn ACL and MCL against UCLA (Oct. 25); surgery set for Nov. 24 – SEASON-ENDING

DT – John Paul Tuso – knee – suffered ACL and meniscus tears in practice (March 17), had surgery April 10 – SEASON-ENDING

WR – Lee Walker – shoulder – suffered a subluxation in practice (Sept. 17); underwent surgery on Oct. 14 (was set to redshirt regardless) – SEASON-ENDING



Liufau named starter for Utah game

From … Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre has named sophomore Sefo Liufau the starting quarterback for the Buffaloes’ season finale against Utah at Folsom Field.

Saturday’s contest against the Utes (11 a.m., Pac-12 Network) will mark Liufau’s 11th start of the season and the 18th of his career, having previously made seven starts in his true freshman campaign last season.

Sophomore Jordan Gehrke made his first career start last week at No. 2 Oregon, but was eventually replaced in the third quarter by Liufau.

“We’ve been alternating them, but we’re going to start Sefo this week,” MacIntyre said. “We just felt like it was the right thing to do at this time.”

Liufau was sidelined with a concussion in his last start at Arizona on Nov. 8, which limited him in practice over the following two weeks. MacIntyre pointed to that factor as a large reason why Liufau did not play in the first half at Oregon.

“He’s practiced the whole week,” MacIntyre said of Liufau’s availability preceding Saturday’s game. “The week before he wasn’t able to practice the whole time, but he looked like he was back to his old self.”

When asked whether Gehrke would see any action against the Utes (7-4, 4-4), MacIntyre said, “I don’t know, it just depends what happens, depends on how it goes.”

Liufau has already set the CU record for touchdown passes in a single season with 27, besting former CU signal-caller Koy Detmer’s 22 in 1996. Liufau is just 274 yards away from breaking the school’s single-season passing yardage record, which was also set by Detmer in 1996 with 3,156 yards.



November 26th

Tuesday Press Conference quotes


“Well, we sustained the winds in practice today, but it was fun. Utah is an excellent football team, excellent running football team, Devontae Booker I think is one of the best (running) backs in the country. I think he is an excellent back, a powerful runner, I saw him play in high school and he is an excellent, excellent player. Defensively, Utah presents a lot of problems, their pass rusher number eight (Nate Orchard) is an excellent, excellent player. Nate Orchard, I think he is one of the best defensive ends in the country, and I know he’ll be a high draft choice. They present a lot of problems to us. Special teams’ wise, they’re electric, they’re ranked I think in the No. 1, No. 2, in every category in special teams. That’s where they’ve made up a lot of situations in their ball games made a big difference maker in that area, so we have to be (prepared). Their coverage units are good, their return units are excellent, so we are going to have to be very, very good in those phases to be successful in the game.”

On There Being A Different Vibe To This Game, Because It Is The Season Finale
“I think anytime you know it’s definitely your last game, I think there is always a little bit of a different vibe because you know those guys in there it’s their last time being there with you – the seniors. Our guys are excited, we’ve had two good days of practice and I think they are ready to go. They’re very excited about playing at home on Thanksgiving weekend, and they definitely want to definitely go out with a ‘W’.”

On What The Defense Can Do To Have A Better Performance Against The Run
“Tackle better. We’ve got to tackle better, we’ve had times when we’ve done well against the run, we’ve had times when (opposing) quarterbacks have scrambled and made some running yards on us. But, [Utah RB Devontae Booker] is a guy that’s 225 pounds, he’s athletic, he’s strong, he’s powerful, he’s run on everybody in our league well. We have to be able to tackle him well, tackle him low, especially when he gets into the secondary, we have to minimize his long runs. He’s going to get yards because they are going to give it to him about 30 times, I’d imagine, I think he has over 250 carries this year. It’s going to be a game that we are going to have to tackle him well, and fit-up the run well, and hopefully we will do that.”

On Whether He Sees Improvement In CU’s Run Defense
“Yeah, I have seen improvement. When you play teams like we’ve played that have good running quarterbacks, your stats are going to be not as good at the end of the day because they make scrambles on you and scrambling is rushing yards, they make a move and here they go. So, I feel like we’ve gotten better in that area but we still have a long, long way to go, there’s no doubt about that.”

On Avoiding Going Winless In Conference Play Being An Added Incentive To Win
“No, we just want to go win the football game, there’s no doubt about it. I’d say week-in-week-out, we’ve played better in the Pac-12 this year than we did last year, and we got one Pac-12 win last year. This year, I definitely think we should have had four or five (conference wins), and we didn’t. So, I think it will eventually come, there’s no doubt about it. We want to win every game we play, but we definitely want to win this one, and it would be nice to win it for sure.”

On Who He Would Vote For As The Recipient Of The ‘Buffalo Heart Award’
“Wow. There’s a lot of them (senior players) I would (vote for). There’s not just one guy that I would single out, there’s a lot of guys that play with tremendous heart and give a lot of effort, and keep fighting. In situations, sometimes it doesn’t look as good to fight, and they kept fighting. So, I would say a lot of them deserve it and it will be interesting to see who they pick. I think Parker Orms won it last year, and I think he was a good recipient of that in that he always fought hard and played hard, fought through injuries and so I’m pretty sure they will pick a good guy.”

On Outsiders Comparing Colorado and Utah Because They Joined The Pac-12 At The Same Time
“Well, I think Utah in 2010 went 13-0, spanked Alabama pretty good in the Sugar Bowl. They’ve had a good program for a while. The coach (Kyle Whittingham) is in his 10th year as the head coach and he was the defensive coordinator for a long time before that. So, they’ve had tremendous stability there, they’ve built new facilities there, they have a program that I would say is a top-BCS, Top 25, program for a while now. To me, they are not even close to what we are when it comes to rebuilding or anything like that. I think they were established and ready to go (when they entered the Pac-12 Conference). They’ve had good stability, and I know they were down a little bit last year compared to what they have been, but I think they are a very good football team with a lot of stability in their program, and their facilities, and their support. I think they are ahead of where we were when we jumped in the Pac-12, I think everybody would agree with that. Of course, I wasn’t here when we jumped in the Pac-12, but just looking from the outside in. We played Utah when I was at San Jose State, and they were really, really good. And they have a really good football team now.”

On Finding More Consistency Within The Injured Secondary
“I think all the kids that played last week are back, [CB] Ahkello [Witherspoon] practiced through a little bit of a sprained knee and he’ll be able to go (against Utah). [S] Evan White was able to practice today, without contact, so we’ll figure out how he does tonight and hopefully he’ll come back tomorrow and be able to have contact tomorrow. So, we’ll add Evan White back in the mix which will give us a little more depth to help us. But those guys just need to go play, they’ll have another week (of playing) under their belt and so hopefully they’ll improve and keep playing.”

On Senior Cornerback Greg Henderson, Who Has Now Started The Most Career Games Than Any Defensive Back in CU History
“Greg has been fun to coach. Greg is an excellent competitor. He’s just really, really quiet. He’s really a quiet kid. He’s done a really good job. He’ll graduate this May and I think he’ll have an opportunity to play in the NFL. I’ve really enjoyed coaching Greg. He’s been a worker, a guy that shows up every day. He shows up every game and competes as hard as he can compete. He’s a very consistent guy.”

On Senior Offensive Linemen Kaiwi Crabb and Daniel Munyer
“They’ve meant a lot to our group. They’ve done a good job on the offensive line. They’ve solidified our guard area. They also have the flexibility to move out to tackle and different things. Both of their best positions might be center, but the way it worked out, the best for our team was for them to play guard. I think they did a good job. Kaiwi really changed his body over the last ten months. I thought he had a really excellent senior year, a lot better than his junior year. Munyer was one of our team captains and a heck of a leader. I really think a lot of Daniel. So, both of those guys have been very stable for us and done an excellent job.”

On the Leadership Qualities of Crabb And Munyer
“Number one, they’re personable guys. They’re sharp, they’re smart. Then, (Offensive Line) coach (Gary) Bernardi (instills) that within the offensive line. He has a way of getting those guys really close and to understand that they’re all counting on each other. That’s a great nucleus. He has a great way of doing that with the young men and they all buy in. So, there’s part of coach Bernardi in there. Kaiwi and Daniel can communicate so well. They’re guys that are respected within our team, they show up at everything, they work hard, they do everything in school. So, they’re easy guys to be leaders for that. So, when they speak, those guys listen.”

On The Impact Of This Year’s Senior Class
“I’ve told them a lot. I think they’ve built an excellent foundation for our group. The way these young men have played each week and played as hard as they can play. (They) competed, fought back, fought through different adversity, the way they’ve come out to practice, what they’ve done in the classroom …….This group is really building a true foundation. I told them ‘We’re not building a little house that will only take a small slab, we’re building a skyscraper. So, you have to dig down deep. There’s a lot of hard work and there’s a lot of setting on that with the foundation, a lot of adversity that goes into that. So, there’s a lot of things that happen and to be successful, eventually, you have to have that foundation. If you don’t, you don’t have the basis to sustain it and build what you want to build. These young men have started that foundation and I’ve talked to them about that a lot. We’ll talk about it a lot at the banquet because there’s a lot of things they’ve done. I’m very sad to see these seniors go but, at the same time, in the two years that I’ve been here with them that they’ve bought into everything that we’ve asked, they’ve done everything we’ve asked and they’ve worked at it as hard as they can. They set a good culture with our young men. I think their attitude and their belief has helped our team to keep battling and show up and play each week.”

On Who Will Start At Quarterback For The Season Finale Against Utah
“We’re going to make a decision tomorrow.”

On What He Learned About Jordan Gehrke, Who Started His First Game At Quarterback Last Saturday, And Sefo Liufau, Who Came Off The Bench To Relieve Gehrke In The Second Half
“I thought that both players handled everything maturely. I thought that was excellent on how they handled it. Their attitudes this week have been excellent . I think that giving Jordan an opportunity to start a game is a little bit ……It’s different to start than come off the bench, to kind of go through that whole process and being ready to do all that. Then, the way Sefo handled everything and was able to come in and go, I think it was a good learning experience on both sides of it. They’re going to both have to play in games again in the future with the way things happen to quarterbacks as far as their concussions and that type of thing. So, I thought it was a good experience for them and we’ll see how that plays out this week. Hopefully, it does play out well.”

On The Rollercoaster Careers Of Many Of These Seniors Who Have Played For Three Different Coaching Staffs During Their Time At CU
“I can honestly tell them that I went thru the exact same thing. I played for three different head coaches. So, I’ve told them that from the first day I walked in here. I had four different position coaches. So, I had a different position coach….Four of the five years I had a different position coach every year. So, I know exactly how they feel to be honest with you. When I was a senior, the team I was on at Georgia Tech, we scrapped through…..My junior year I think we won two games and my senior year we won three. We didn’t win one ACC game for those two years. But, coach (Bobby) Ross kept talking about how we set it, how we kept pushing. The next year, about halfway thru the season, they won their first ACC game and they never lost another one until they won the national championship. So, I’ve been through that and seen it. So, I see us building and doing that. So, these young men truly do leave a foundation. I truly relish my moments back at Georgia Tech thru all those times and all those different changes. Honestly, when I look back, of course I would have loved to have won more games, but when I got into coaching it truly helped me. Because I had so many different position coaches, I had so many different head coaches and I could see all of that would handle and how different people handle different things, all the different emotions I felt when I got hurt and when I didn’t get hurt.

All of those situations and those coaches, I still care tremendously about all the head coaches I’ve had: my dad, George MacIntyre, Bill Curry and Bobby Ross. I think all three of those men were phenomenal coaches and phenomenal men at their time. I want to say all of them were coaches of the year in their conferences at one time or another. Some national coaches of the year….maybe all three of them were national coaches of the year at one time. I really do feel for what these young men have gone thru. I know the emotions they’ve gone thru. I feel like they’ve all been able to bond with that. I’ve had a lot of them tell me that they wish they could come back for another year, not just for college but because they just see it happening. They feel the change. Jered Bell said he’s lucky because he’ll hopefully get a sixth year to just be a part of everything and also gets to be a part of the new facility. So, they feel a big change and everything. So, I think they’re proud of where they pushed us to. Of course, they would have loved to have had a lot more wins like all of us.”

On Injured Safety Jered Bell And When The Team Might Find Out If He Will Be Eligible For A Sixth Year
“We’ll find out in the spring, I think. He missed a full year and never played with that ACL. He missed another full year and never played with an ACL. He wants to come back and he’s……He’s been accepted to grad school. So, I don’t see any way how he wouldn’t get it. So, hopefully he will, but I think it’s just a slam dunk I think.”



November 24th

Big plays the key in Arizona’s 42-10 win over the Utes

From the Deseret News … All year long, the Utah defense has bailed out the often-anemic Ute offense, which has led to several close victories.

The Ute offense struggled yet again Saturday against Arizona, but the dam finally broke on the Ute defense as it gave up a season-high 520 yards, including five plays that went 33 yards or longer, accounting for nearly half of the Wildcats’ total offense.

“We gave up too many big plays,’’ said safety Brian Blechen. “We made it too easy on them by blowing a coverage or missing a gap. That just gives them confidence to get rolling. Too many times we were shooting ourselves in the foot.’’

Coach Kyle Whittingham agreed that the Ute defense came up short against the Wildcats, particularly against the run, where the Utes allowed 298 yards, including 220 by Nick Wilson.

“In the running game we were soft on defense,’’ said Whittingham. “They’ve got a good scheme. We got reached on the edge three or four times, didn’t play that very well. They’re a good offense, but we didn’t play very well on defense either.’’

… When asked what the problem with the Ute defense was, Blechen said, “I don’t know what it was exactly. They were finding ways to crease us. Usually the box is solid with our D-line and linebackers and tonight they did a good job and when we gave them lanes, they capitalized on it and ran hard.”

…. In case you were wondering … Colorado has had just 42 “explosion” plays this year – offensive plays going for over 20 yards – while giving up 65 …

Attendance issues

It was noted, at the end of the Deseret News article above, that: “Although there were a lot of empty seats because of the weather, the official attendance was 45,824, Utah’s 31st-straight sellout”.

Which got me to thinking about CU’s attendance this fall. To date, the Buffs are averaging 37,503 per game at Folsom. With another early kickoff this weekend (11:00 a.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks), the students out of town for Thanksgiving break, and little in the way of incentive to attend, it is likely that the average is not going to go up after the season finale on Saturday.

If the average holds, it will be the lowest average attendance at Folsom Field in 29 years. In 1985, the Buffs brought in an average of 36,789 per game. If only about 33,000 show up this weekend, the 1981 average of 34,871 might be challenged.

At least the next lowest total – 25,940 in 1965 – is safe. Even if the Buffs played to an empty house this weekend, CU’s total would still be 31,252 for the year.

With one weekend of games to play, Colorado is 67th in the nation in attendance, according to NCAA statistics. Only Washington State, at 30,362 is lower (but then again, capacity of Cougar stadium is only 32,740).

In terms of capacity, Colorado is 87th in the nation in attendance. CU is just short of 70% of capacity through the first games of the season, worst in the Pac-12. Even USC, which plays in the cavernous Coliseum, played to 77% capacity. The only other school which has had disappointing numbers in term of capacity was Cal. The Bears have a new stadium, but played to only 76.26% of capacity.

Pac-12 writers for ESPN weigh-in on CU’s season

Under the heading, “A 6-Pac of questions: Week 14“, ESPN writers were asked about the Buffs’ season.

It’s hard to argue with their responses:

What are your takeaways for Colorado’s season to this point?

Gemmell: Encouraging, though it’s tough to see. I think you hit the nail on the head, Kyle, in your power rankings Sunday when you said because the conference is so deep, you can’t see the results in the standings. Colorado has gotten better, but so has the conference. They just need to accelerate their improvement over the next couple of years if they want to pass some of these teams. But they were a lot more competitive this year than in season’s past. That’s something to build on going forward.

Bonagura: Coaches hate — HATE — playing “What If?” In Colorado’s case, it’s particularly frustrating, or encouraging, depending how you look at it. The Buffs led 10-win Colorado State (10-1) in the fourth quarter, they went to double overtime with Cal, they led Oregon State at halftime, they went to double overtime with No. 9 UCLA and led Washington at halftime. There were some not-so-close games in there, too, but the point is they were a few breaks from a more respectable record.

2 Replies to “Colorado Daily – Utah”

  1. I would have to agree with you on Osborne never cared for him or his program. thank goodness the Buffs have not benn in that group of colleges that don`t care about anything but winning . I also like to win but not at the price of guys like Osborne and others ,the Buffs are headed in the right diraction and will win more respectdoing it the way they are doing so. looking forwaed to next year .jim

  2. Someone needs to remind coach Mac that Georgia Tech never truly won the NC that year. If it wasn’t for that jackwagon coach from the “Holers” being a yellow bellied traitor to the Big 8 conference, CU would have been the consensus NC that year.

    I would love to see Osborne’s reputation rightly sullied in the most public way possible while he is around to see it. He is truly one of the best PR guys ever given how trashy a program he operated with no hits to his credibility. I hate the fact that the guy isn’t seeing his name being dragged through the mud….he deserves it.

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