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Colorado Daily – Arizona Week

October 5th – Game Day!

… CU in a few minutes … 

Steven Montez: “If it’s a back and forth game, then we just have to score more touchdowns than they do”

From CUBuffs.com … Two teams with similar resume´s and identical records will aim to separate themselves from the pack Saturday when Colorado (3-1 overall, 1-0 Pac-12) and Arizona (3-1, 1-0) square off in a 2:30 matchup at Folsom Field (Pac-12 Network).

For what it’s worth — and at this point of the season, the answer is “not much” — the winners will find themselves at the top of the Pac-12 South standings.

More importantly, the winners will build momentum as they head into the meaty part of their conference schedules — which for Mel Tucker‘s Buffs consists of road trips to Oregon and Washington State over the next two weeks before finally returning home for a Friday night matchup (Oct. 25) with USC.

The similarities between the Buffs and Wildcats are plentiful. Colorado’s only loss came to a Mountain West foe, Air Force. Arizona’s only loss came to Hawaii, also of the Mountain West. Both teams have wins over respected non-conference foes — Nebraska for Colorado, Texas Tech for Arizona — and both teams won their Pac-12 openers, with CU knocking off Arizona State and the Wildcats defeating UCLA.

Even their numbers are similar. Offensively, Arizona is averaging 37.8 points per game while Colorado is at 35.8. Defensively, the Wildcats are giving up 29.3 points per game while CU is yielding 30.8 per contest.

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Mel Tucker: “You never know what’s going to happen on any given Saturday”

From the Daily Camera … In their first season under head coach Mel Tucker, the Buffs have already knocked off two top-25 opponents – Nebraska on Sept. 7 and at Arizona State on Sept. 21 – and they routed in-state rival Colorado State to open the year.

Any of those three wins, let alone all of them together, are enough to give the Buffs a boost of confidence, but they’ve also got the constant reminder of what happens if they don’t play well. A 30-23 overtime loss to underdog Air Force on Sept. 14 – the last time CU played at Folsom – is the only blemish on the season so far.

“That’s why you play the games,” Tucker said. “You never know what’s going to happen on any given Saturday. College football is really exciting right now. There’s a lot of teams still in it and in the hunt. We just have to really focus in on what we have to do.”

This week, the Buffs have to figure out a way to beat an Arizona team on a three-game win streak. To do that, the Buffs have been forced to prepare for two different quarterbacks. Khalil Tate, the dual-threat star who has burned the Buffs the last two years, may not play because of hamstring and ankle injuries. If he doesn’t go, talented freshman Grant Gunnell, who has a good arm but not Tate’s speed, will start.

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October 4th

… CU in a few minutes … 

A reminder … The basketball team will host an open practice/scrimmage Saturday ahead of the football game. Practice starts at Events Center at 11 am with the Black-and-Gold scrimmage at 12:15. Will be three 10-minute sessions featuring different player combinations … 

“What the Buffaloes must do to win”

From Sports Pac-12

Straight-Up: Colorado in a Close Win

Against the Spread: Colorado (-4)

By Ian McCollamWhat the Wildcats Must Do to Win

For the Wildcats, a lot depends on the return of injured play-makers Khalil Tate (hamstring, ankle) and J.J. Taylor (sprained ankle). True freshman backup Grant Gunnell played well against UCLA last week, but his job gets tougher on the road in Boulder. With the defense giving up 473 yards per game, the Wildcats will have to win with their offense against a Colorado defense that has struggled in its own right. In particular, Arizona needs to get more production out of backup running backs Gary Brightwell and Darius Smith. Defensively, the Cats must do better in the red zone, where they have allowed scores 92.3 percent of the time, and generate stops and turnovers to keep the productive Buffalo offense in check.

What the Buffaloes Must Do to Win

Injuries have plagued the Buffs as well, and it remains to be seen whether the bye week was sufficient to regain the services of their two sidelined play-makers, Laviska Shenault Jr. (undisclosed) and Mustafa Johnson (ankle). Fortunately, Colorado does not drop off much at receiver after Shenault with Tony Brown and K.D. Nixon. The CU offense should be fine if quarterback Steven Montez takes care of the ball, and running backs Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham have an impact on the ground. On defense, the Buffs have given up 466 yards per game, and find themselves needing to prepare for both Gunnell and Tate. The group must continue to create turnovers to slow Arizona, and get solid performances from leading tacklers Nate Landman and Mikial Onu.

What Happens on the Field

Expect an offensive shootout with the victorious party forcing more than one turnover and scoring three touchdowns or more. Colorado’s Conference-leading +7 turnover margin will be key, especially with Gunnell at the helm for the Wildcats. Second-half adjustments may play into the outcome, an area where Mel Tucker has been masterful. Look for the Buffs to take the lead in the third quarter and survive a late onslaught from Arizona. Ultimately, the home-field advantage will prove pivotal, with Colorado emerging as the sole leader of the Pac-12 South.

Notes: Colorado leads the all-time series 14-7, with Arizona winning the last game 42-34 in 2018. Colorado is looking for its first win against Arizona at home since 2011. The Buffaloes have yet to allow a sack in the second half. Colorado is 2-0 against ranked teams this year, equaling its total over the previous nine seasons. Arizona linebackers Colin Schooler and Tony Fields II both recorded double-digit tackle totals in the same game for the sixth time, combining for 23 against UCLA. Arizona is looking to start 2-0 in Conference for the first time since 2014, when they last won the Pac-12 South division.

Arizona game approaching a sell-out

From the Daily Camera … As of late Wednesday afternoon, CU had sold more than 49,000 tickets for Saturday’s game, putting them within reach of a sellout. Folsom Field’s capacity is 50,183.

CU has already had one sellout this season, Sept. 7 against Nebraska. The last time the Buffs had two sellouts in the same season at Folsom was in 2005.  From 2006-18, the Buffs had just two sellouts in 77 home games.

Through two home games, the Buffs have averaged 51,055.5 fans at Folsom, which is 102 percent of capacity – a number that leads the Pac-12.

CU has sold at least 49,000 tickets for three consecutive home games for the first time since 2001.

Nate Landman wants Kahlil Tate to play – “We want to prove ourselves as a defense”

From the Daily Camera … Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate has put up monster games against CU the past two years, but, as a competitor, Landman would like another shot at him.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” he said. “You know, seeing what he did to us that year (2017), I still remember that game. And I remember what he did last year. Having him come into our house again, I’m excited to play him because he’s a great athlete and one of the most athletic guys in college football. We want to prove ourselves as a defense that we’re capable of stopping him.”

The Buffs aren’t sure if they’ll get that chance, though. Tate missed last week’s game with hamstring and ankle injuries and it’s unclear if he’ll play this week.

… With youth and inexperience sprinkled all over the defense, the Buffs were expected to have some growing pains on that side of the ball this season. The Buffs have been vulnerable to big plays and early game struggles, but they are also encouraged by the overall progress.

“I think we’ve been getting better each and every day and every week throughout every game,” junior linebacker Nate Landman said. “We have being playing our best football in the second half (of games). We’re a young defense, so adjusting to things in the first half is a little difficult and getting those halftime adjustments helps a lot. But definitely our main goal is to be a more solid defense in the first half and help our offense be on the field more.”

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October 3rd

… CU in a few minutes … 

Mel Tucker one of eight first-year coaches with a winning record

From USA Today

Taking stock of first-year coaches

There are 25 first-year head coaches in the FBS, not counting the two coaches — Ryan Day and Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell — who previously held the same position in a temporary role. (Day coached the first three games of last season and Chadwell was the Chanticleers’ interim coach in 2017.) Of those 25, eight have a winning record through September, with Drinkwitz the only new coach with an undefeated record; six are sitting at 2-2, including Maryland’s Mike Locksley and Miami (Fla.) coach Manny Diaz; and 11 have a losing record, with Akron’s Tom Arth the only first-year coach still in search of his first win. (It may be a little while for the Zips.)

In all, the 25 first-year coaches are 53-57. Mack Brown is a highly competitive 2-3 in his first year back at North Carolina. Kansas State coach Chris Klieman, formerly of powerhouse North Dakota State, is 3-1 with a nice road win against Mississippi State. Mel Tucker is 3-1 at Colorado, giving early reason to be optimistic about the Buffaloes’ strong offseason hire. Former LSU coach Les Miles is 2-3 at Kansas, which is impressive given the Jayhawks’ decade-long trudge through the wilderness. Miles led KU to a 48-24 win at Boston College for its first road win against a Power Five opponent since 2008.

Alex Fontenot: “He has taken his game to a different level”

From the Daily Camera … Alex Fontenot always had the physical ability, and he understood there would be a void that needed to be filled in the Colorado backfield this season.

Yet often at the Division I level, raw talent can only take a player so far. And in order to take hold of a leading role with the Buffaloes, Fontenot believed he needed to sharpen his football IQ. According to CU running backs coach Darian Hagan, Fontenot put his first two seasons spent largely on the sideline to good use, and it’s all that film and practice work that has turned Fontenot into one of several pleasant surprises during the Buffs’ 3-1 start heading into Saturday’s Pac-12 home date against Arizona (2:40 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

Fontenot admits he wants to showcase better breakaway speed as the Buffs move deeper into the conference slate. Yet his ability to slow down and pick his spots before accelerating through gaps in opposing defenses has spurred Fontenot’s early success.

“His overall knowledge of the game. He’s picked it up,” Hagan said. “His redshirt year and last year, he didn’t really have a grasp of what we were doing fully. Now he’s taking it to a different level. He understands what we want. He understands what the defenses are trying to do to us. He’s really patient and decisive.

“In high school you just got the ball and took off and outran everybody. Where in college, everything is about angles and double-teams and things like that. If you’re too fast, you’re going to mess up the double-teams. If you’re too slow, the hole is going to open and shut. We always tell them, ‘slow to, fast through.’ Which is slow to the hole and once you see it, hit it and go. He’s done a pretty good job of understanding that and he has taken his game to a different level.”

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Freshman safety Mark Perry ready: “He looks like he belongs out there”

From the Daily Camera … As one of the most talented members of the Colorado football team’s freshman class, Mark Perry figured to be in line for a lot of playing time this season, if not challenge for a starting job.

Three games into the season, however, the safety/star back had yet to see the field.

“I wasn’t ready,” Perry said this week. “There’s more things you have to pay attention to that you didn’t have to in high school, so I feel like not playing those three games is probably better for me because I was able to really get my mind right and pay attention and learn instead of having an attitude and going off pouting.”

Last week, Perry finally made his debut, playing eight snaps on defense at the star position, as well as playing on special teams.

“It gave me a lot of confidence just because it was my first college game and I got a tackle on special teams, so it boosted my confidence to be able to go out and make more plays,” he said.

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CU rushing attack improving – Alex Fontenot: “It’s like the best feeling ever”

From CUBuffs.com … Without much fanfare, the Colorado Buffaloes are slowly but surely building a steady run game.

While the numbers are by no means overwhelming, the impact has been an important piece of the Buffs’ offense. Simply, when Colorado is running the ball with authority, the offense is at its best — including the passing game.

It is a trend they would like to continue Saturday when the Buffs plays host to Arizona in a 2:30 p.m. game at Folsom Field (Pac-12 Network).

After four games, the 3-1 Buffs are averaging a relatively modest 143.8 yards per game on the ground, seventh-best in the Pac-12. But while the passing game has been grabbing headlines, the rushing attack has pounded out some important yardage, particularly on some key scoring drives.

In Colorado’s most-recent win, a 34-31 victory at Arizona State, the run game helped set the tone. CU’s running backs accounted for 45 of Colorado’s 145 yards on its first two scoring drives, then picked up 27 yards in a 67-yard touchdown drive late in the game before adding 21 of 57 yards on the game-winning field goal drive.

“That’s like the best feeling ever,” said sophomore running back Alex Fontenot, who leads CU with 298 yards and four touchdowns on 67 carries for a healthy 4.45-yards per carry average. “You just keep driving and wearing down the defense. It’s good when you hear the defense and they’re tired and just trying to get off the field and we just keep going, trying to score.”

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October 2nd

… CU in a few minutes … 

*Video – OC Jay Johnson talks Arizona defense*

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

CU defense has its work cut out for it against Arizona offense: “They definitely have playmakers”

From the Daily Camera … Two quarterbacks have started, and won, games for the Arizona football team this year. The Wildcats also have three running backs with 182-plus rushing yards, seven receivers with at least 100 yards and an offensive line playing with confidence.

While senior quarterback Khalil Tate is the star of Arizona’s offense, it’s the whole unit that has Colorado on alert this week.

“They definitely have a lot of playmakers and they try to get the playmakers the ball in space,” CU outside linebacker Carson Wells said on Tuesday.

Colorado (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) will host Arizona (3-1, 1-0) on Saturday at Folsom Field (2:30 p.m., TV: Pac-12 Networks) and to get the win, it will need to figure out how to slow down what can be a very explosive offense.

Playing up-tempo and often utilizing option concepts, the Wildcats aren’t an easy offense to stop.

“They get you spread out, get a lot of one on ones, a lot of running after the catch,” CU head coach Mel Tucker said. “They also do a good job running the football in terms of they keep you honest. They’re not afraid to take shots down the field. The quarterbacks are mobile, can make plays with their feet. And so you know, we’ll have to be at our best certainly.”

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Steven Montez working on being a more consistent pocket passer

From CUBuffs.com … When the Buffs did not give up a sack against Arizona State in their 34-31 win two weekends ago, it marked the second time this year CU has kept Montez upright the entire game (the Buffs also managed the feat in their season-opening 52-31 win over Colorado State).

It’s no surprise that Montez also had one of the best games of his career against ASU, throwing for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

“It’s huge,” Montez said of having a “clean” pocket. “Just not having to run out of the pocket and to move around scramble, and just being able to step up in the pocket. … It just makes a world of difference when they play that well. Zero sacks, that’s just hard to do, especially at the level that we play at. All the credit goes to them, they played their butts off.”

CU has given up just five sacks this year, but Montez admits some of his early exits from the pocket have been his fault and not that of the offensive line. It’s been something he and quarterback coach/offensive coordinator Jay Johnson have been working on correcting.

“A lot of that in the past has been on me, just focusing on stepping up in the pocket,” Montez said.  “Coach Johnson and I have been doing a huge job of emphasizing, once I hit that third step in my drop, or whichever step in my drop, to get that initial slide back up into the pocket … I think it helps out a lot so that the rushers have to rush all the way around instead of me running out of the pocket and giving them a shorter distance to get to me.”

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October 1st

… CU in a few minutes … 

Tony Brown: CU’s “Mr. Consistent”

From CUBuffs.com … Four games into the season, Colorado’s leading receiver is having an outstanding year with 19 catches for 301 yards and four touchdowns.

It’s certainly no surprise — except that it’s not CU’s preseason All-American, Laviska Shenault Jr.

Rather, the Buffs’ top receiver is senior Tony Brown, whose consistency in every phase of his game has made him a favorite target this year of quarterback Steven Montez.

“He was very consistent in fall camp and he was working hard and grinding, and nobody was really talking about him coming into the season,” Montez said at Tuesday’s weekly press conference. “There wasn’t really too much chatter about Tony Brown. But now there should be chatter, and rightfully so. He played really well against Arizona State (nine catches, 150 yards, three touchdowns) … He’s just one of those guys that just does everything right. He blocks in the run game, he runs all the right routes, he doesn’t miss any routes, he catches balls and doesn’t drop them. He just plays extremely good, clean football.”

When the season began, much of the hype around CU’s receiving corps centered around Shenault. But when teams began focusing on containing Shenault, it left Brown and K.D. Nixon to reap the benefits. Nixon is right behind Brown in the production department with 17 catches for 295 yards and one score.

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Mel Tucker Tuesday Press Conference Quotes

From CUBuffs.com

Opening Statement
“I’m just really looking forward to a home game and looking forward to seeing our guys get back out there. Coming off the bye, they’ve had a couple good days of practice so far, and our players seem to be really into it and really focused. There’s just a lot of work and preparation that needs to take place between now and then [Saturday]. But we’re moving in the right direction for this weekend and I’m encouraged by what I see so far.”

On Facing An Offense Similar To Air Force 
“In terms of option responsibility, it’s very similar. We have to play assignment football, make sure that guys do their jobs, be disciplined. They give you a lot of different looks. They do a great job from a scheme standpoint, they put pressure on a lot of guys. Everyone’s at the point of attack versus this offense and they can be very explosive.”

On How Arizona’s Offense Is Similar To When Baker Mayfield Was At Oklahoma 
“It’s very similar in some of the schemes they run. They get spread out, get a lot of one on ones, a lot of run after the catch. They also do a good job running the football in terms of they keep you honest and they’re not afraid to take shots down the field. Their quarterbacks are mobile and can make plays with their feet. We’ll certainly have to be at our best.”

On Khalil Tate
“He’s a very explosive player. When you have a player like that, that can throw the ball down the field and be accurate in the pocket, but can also take off and make plays with his feet, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense, and we have to do a really good job with our pass rush lines. And obviously, like we talked about earlier, option responsibilities and things like that and so we have to be very, very sharp.

On If He Watches Other PAC-12 Games Or Just Focuses On Game Film
“I do both, I even picked up a JV football game Saturday morning. I like to watch ball and I’ll flip through the channels. You know, that’s a great thing about being in the air conditioning with the flat screen and the cable and the remote, you can see a lot of games. That’s why you play the game, you never know what’s going to happen on any given Saturday. College football is really exciting right now. There’s a lot of teams still in it, in the hunt, and we just have to really focus in on what we have to do.”

On What He Sees From Arizona’s Defense
“They’re very active, they’re aggressive. They have no problem pressuring you on any down or distance. They mix up the looks, mix up the fronts. They’re really good coaches over there, they got a good scheme, good players. And they’re definitely an attacking, ball hawking group of guys.”

On If Khalil Tate Reminds Him Of Anyone He Has Previously Coached Against
“I can’t say for certain, but I know that he’s a unique player. His [Pro Football Focus] numbers are really high, he’s a big time player, he can do it all. You don’t see guys like that every week. He’s definitely one of those guys you call a game wrecker, he can wreck the game. He’s one of those guys that can take over a game and we just need to limit the explosiveness and try to contain him as best as we can.”

On What Has Allowed The Defense To Give Up Big Plays Previously 
“It’s more for us about execution and communication on our part. Obviously, the offense is doing a good job with shifts and motions and a really good scheme and a good design, but everything we do is sound and solid. And so if we execute, which we should be able to do, we should be in a position to make plays. When we’re not in the position to make a play on the ball, or fit a run, usually it’s some type of error on our part.”

On Players Who Have Stepped Up With All The Injuries Going On
“We’ve got some guys that are day to day, so we’ll see how it goes. There’s really no substitute for playing time in actual games. You can try to prepare them as much as you can in practice and tell them ‘hey, you’re only one play away’ It’s a little different when they actually get out on the field and play for the first time. What I’ve seen from our guys, is that once they’ve gotten out there and they get a taste of it, then they have a different perspective when they come back to practice the next week. In terms, of ‘okay, I know what it’s all about, I’ve done it. Now, let me focus on getting better and really hone in.’ You always talk about experience, right? And it’s the best teacher. I love to see it, I love to see young guys play. It’s exciting for me to see guys that haven’t played get a chance to step up and get the job done. I think the more guys you play, the better morale you’re going to have on your team. More guys have a role. Whatever that role is, whether it’s offense, defense, or special teams, every role is significant.”

Buffs preparing for two Arizona quarterbacks: “It just makes too much sense not to do that”

From CUBuffs.com … Last week, Arizona saw freshman Grant Gunnell start in place of injured senior Khalil Tate (sore hamstring) and lead UA to a 20-17 win over UCLA. Gunnell completed 29 of his 44 attempts against the Bruins for 352 yards and a touchdown, and Monday earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors for his efforts.

But it is Tate who is the more dangerous of the two — and even though he watched Saturday’s game against UCLA from the sidelines dressed in street clothes, the Buffs will no doubt prepare this week as if he could be the starter Saturday.

“We have to prepare for both guys,” CU head coach Mel Tucker said. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll be monitoring the situation. But it just makes too much sense (not) to do that.”

The Buffs are quite familiar with Tate. The Arizona senior came on early in their 2017 matchup in place of injured starter Brandon Dawkins and proceeded to shred the Buffs. By game’s end, he had rushed 14 times for 327 yards (an NCAA rushing record for quarterbacks) and four touchdowns, along with completing 12 of 13 pass attempts for 154 yards and another score in a wild 45-42 UA win.

Then, a year after dominating Colorado with his legs, he had a career night with his arm. In last year’s matchup in Tucson, Tate completed 17 of 22 attempts for 350 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-34 Wildcats win. Thus, in his last two games against CU (he also played briefly against Colorado in 2016), he has accounted for 846 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“Both guys are very good players,” said CU defensive coordinator Tyson Summers. “Both guys give them the ability to win.”

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September 30th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Buffs hoping fast start against ASU start of new trend 

From CUBuffs.com … Heading into the Arizona State game, the Buffs were concentrating on getting off to a quick start. The offense responded with two long touchdown drives on its first two possessions, and CU finished with 24 points before halftime.

Now, CU coaches want the defense to follow suit.

In four games, Colorado has given up 79 points in the first half, including 59 in the second quarter. In the second half (and two overtime), the Buffs have yielded just 44 points — including only six in the third period.

“We talk constantly about not giving up explosive plays,” Summers said. “The big part has got to be just communication. What we’re able to do is settle in and be able to play pretty well about halfway through the second quarter throughout the rest of the game.”

Explosion plays have no doubt been a problem for the CU defense. Colorado has yielded 21 plays of at least 20 yards this year, with nine of them going for touchdowns.

 “Practice is important,” Tucker said. “Start practice fast. … Typically, if you can start fast in practice enough times then you can start fast in a game. You can’t let the magnitude of the game or the situation or the opponent effect how you play.”

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*Video – Mel Tucker’s post-practice talk with media (Mon.)

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com … Two can play that game: With the status of Kahlil Tate an unknown, Coach Tucker indicated that wide receiver Laviska Shenault, defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson, and defensive back Chris Miller will all be “game time decisions” for Arizona …

Next Man Up as Buffs battle injuries – Mel Tucker: “We believe in our players, and they believe in us”

From the Daily Camera … Coming off their first of two open weeks, the Buffaloes will host Arizona (3-1, 1-0) on Saturday at Folsom Field, with kickoff slated for 2:30 p.m. (TV: Pac-12 Network). Once again, CU’s next-man-up philosophy and start-to-finish competitiveness figure to be crucial against an opponent that comes in with a three-game winning streak.

Several players, including freshman running back Jaren Mangham last week, said the competitive nature of the team stems from Tucker. From the day he was hired in December, Tucker has preached tough, intense, relentless effort on and off the field, and it’s paying off.

“We believe in our players … and they believe in us,” Tucker said. “They want to have success, and we’re going to do everything we can to put them in position to have success.”

Even if that means filling holes created by injured stars.

CU goes into this week with uncertainly surrounding some of its top players. Receiver Laviska Shenault (undisclosed injury), defensive end Mustafa Johnson (ankle) and cornerback Chris Miller (sternum) all left the ASU game with injuries, and Tucker offered no update on their status last week.

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CU tied for the Pac-12 lead in takeaways (with Arizona)

From the Daily Camera … Although the Buffs rank 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, yielding 30.8 points per game, the Buffs are tied — with Arizona — for the conference lead in takeaways with 11.

“I’m not surprised,” senior safety Mikial Onu said. “I feel like we have a chance to create a turnover every time we step on the field, and I think everyone on defense feels the same way. Along with physicality, takeaways is one of our key points in this defense, and we need them.”

CU forced only 15 turnovers last year and 14 in 2017, but so far has come up with interceptions or fumble recoveries at huge moments.

“You look at some of the games, turnovers have come in really, really, really big times — game-changing, momentum-swinging type plays. and so you’re always on defense looking to make that kind of play and looking to get it right back (to the offense),” Onu said.

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September 29th

… CU in a few minutes … 

K.D. Nixon: “We know that nobody has seen our best yet”

From the Daily Camera … The frustration was acceptable, but the reaction was not.

Early in the fourth quarter of a 34-31 win at Arizona State on Sept. 21, Colorado receiver KD Nixon was tackled after a 17-yard catch and held down by a Sun Devils defender.

When Nixon got up, he shoved the ASU defender and drew a 15-yard penalty. It was the first play of a crucial drive in a tie game, but the penalty contributed to the Buffs being pushed back and punting.

“As the player I am, I can’t do that,” Nixon said this week. “I told myself, ‘Relax; that’s not you, KD.’”

It was the reaction of his head coach, however, that kept Nixon calm. Mel Tucker didn’t scream at the junior for the mistake or pull him from the game. Instead, he calmly told him to do better next time.

“Just seeing him really talk to me after that and still be my coach, that really made my day,” Nixon said. “That’s what helped me finish the game.”

Late in the game, Nixon had a 13-yard catch that resulted in a first down and helped set up the game-winning field goal.

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CU moves up in both polls (31st in AP; 33rd in USA Today/Coaches); Arizona State back in at No. 20

From CBS Sports … Alabama was the new No. 1 in the Coaches Poll, and the Crimson Tide have now claimed the top spot in the latest AP Top 25 poll as well. Fresh off its 59-31 win over Ole Miss, Alabama claims the top spot from AP voters with 1,478 points. Clemson drops only spot to No. 2 after holding off North Carolina 21-20. The rest of the AP top five stays mostly the same, with the notable change of Ohio State leap-frogging LSU to go from No. 5 to No. 4. The Buckeyes won easily at Nebraska 48-7.

Other than some minor shuffling, there weren’t too many major changes in this week’s poll. Like with the Coaches Poll, Cal dropped out after losing to Arizona State. Four new teams entered the rankings this week: Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest and SMU. The Mustangs are ranked for the first time since October 1986.

Associated Press poll: 

1 Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Georgia
4. Ohio State
5. LSU
6. Oklahoma
7. Auburn
8. Wisconsin
9. Notre Dame
10. Florida
11. Texas
12. Penn State
13. Oregon … unchanged from last week
14. Iowa
15. Washington … up two spots
16. Boise State
17. Utah … up two spots
18. UCF
19. Michigan
20. Arizona State … up 17 spots
21. Oklahoma State
22. Wake Forest
23. Virginia
24. SMU
25. Texas A&M

Others receiving votes: California 141, Memphis 71, Appalachian State 50, Army 44, Missouri 26, Baylor 19, Colorado 19, Minnesota 15, USC 7, Kansas State 1, Tulane 1

Who voted for Colorado

  • No. 18 … Kirk Bohls – Austin American-Statesman (Bohls has CU ranked above No. 19 Utah; No. 20 ASU; and No. 21 Cal)
  • No. 22 … Two voters, including Brian Howell at the Boulder Daily Camera
  • No. 25 … Three voters
  • Did not have CU on their ballots: 58 voters

USA Today Coaches’ poll:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Georgia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Ohio State
  6. LSU
  7. Auburn
  8. Florida
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Penn State
  12. Texas
  13. Oregon … unchanged from last week 
  14. Iowa
  15. Boise State
  16. Washington … up one spot from last week
  17. Utah … up two spots from last week
  18. Michigan
  19. UCF
  20. Wake Forest
  21. Texas A&M
  22. Virginia
  23. Memphis
  24. Michigan State
  25. Oklahoma State

Others receiving votes: California 125, SMU 118, Arizona State 96, Army 47, Minnesota 34, Baylor 34, Appalachian State 28, Colorado 18, Duke 17, Tulane 16, Utah State 15, Kansas State 13, Hawai’i 10, USC 9, TCU 6, Mississippi State 3, Air Force 3, Washington State 3, Wyoming 2

Neill Woelk: Bye Week Takeaways

From CUBuffs.com … With the Colorado Buffaloes enjoying a weekend off before they begin preparations for next Saturday’s home game with Arizona (2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network), it’s a good time to take a quick dive into what we’ve learned so far from Mel Tucker‘s 3-1 Buffs.

Call it our Bye Week Takeaways:

1. Colorado’s 34-31 win at ASU continues to grow in importance. The fact that the Buffs went into Sun Devil Stadium and knocked off then-unbeaten and nationally ranked Arizona State was no doubt impressive in its own right. The Buffs started fast, withstood an ASU rally, then put together a game-winning offensive drive and defensive stand down the stretch to produce the win.

Today, that win looks even better, thanks to ASU’s 24-17 victory Friday at 15th-ranked and previously unbeaten Cal. It was the Sun Devils’ second win over a ranked team on the road in three weeks, as they beat No. 18 Michigan State one week prior to the Colorado game.

Remember, Cal earlier this season knocked off Washington — a preseason Pac-12 contender — on the Huskies’ home turf. It was a nice bounce-back win for the Sun Devils, and it makes Colorado’s win last week even more impressive.

One more Pac-12 note: the winner of next weekend’s Colorado-Arizona game will find itself atop the Pac-12 South standings.

Continue reading story here

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September 28th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Buffs content to have a two-man running game: “It feels good to have fresh legs”

From the Daily Camera … Going into this season, the Colorado Buffaloes knew they didn’t have much experience at running back.

The Buffs weren’t worried about a lack of talent, though.

Four games into the season, the talent at the position has been evident, as Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham have proven to be a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield for CU (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12), which has a bye this week.

So far, the duo has combined for 461 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.

“I feel like if we get the run game going, that really gets the offense going,” said Mangham, a true freshman. “So, we just want to keep doing what we’re doing. Just come out here working every day to get better.”

The past three seasons, CU had a bell cow at the position, with Phillip Lindsay (2016-17) and Travon McMillian (2018). Lindsay had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and set a school record with 301 carries in 2017. McMillian rushed for 1,009 yards last year.

This season, Fontenot has been the lead back, with 298 yards and four touchdowns on 67 carries, but Mangham has put up 163 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries. CU hasn’t had two running backs reach 100-plus carries in a season since 2013, but Fontenot and Mangham are on pace to do that.

Continue reading story here

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September 27th

… CU in a few minutes …

Stat leaders through four games: Landman leading in tackles; Brown in receiving yards

From CUBuffs.com

DEFENSIVE LEADERS: After four games, CU coaches’ stats show inside linebacker Nate Landman as the team’s clear leader in tackles with 49 this year, including 41 solo stops. Next on the list is safety Mikial Onu with 27 tackles (21 solo) … Mustafa Johnson is the Buffs’ sack leader with three, followed by Terrance Lang and Alex Tchangam with two each … Colorado’s tight ends have already accounted for 14 receptions, more than twice the number (6) from all of last season. Brady Russell leads the group with seven catches for 77 yards … Tony Brown is now Colorado’s receptions leader for the season with 19 catches for 301 yards and four touchdowns.

COOPER SEMIFINALIST: Colorado senior safety Lucas Cooper is one of 185 national semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes individuals for combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. CU has had one national winner of the award, Jim Hansen in 1992.

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September 26th

… CU in a few minutes … 

*Video – Tour of CU facilities*

From YouTube … Highlights include a look at Coach Tucker’s extensive shoe collection, and a look at the rarely seen CU equipment room. Even if you have had a tour of he Champions Center yourself, you will see parts of the facility you haven’t seen before … 

Perfect James Stefanou (6-6 on FG attempts): “If you don’t love pressure, there’s something wrong”

From CUBuffs.com … It is one of the more pressure-packed situations in sports: the game-winning field goal.

In his third season at Colorado, James Stefanou has finally gotten the opportunity to attempt such a kick — and so far, he’s 2-for-2 in those situations, with both kicks coming against nationally ranked teams.

On Sept. 7, it was a 34-yarder against Nebraska in overtime that ultimately provided Colorado with the 34-31 win over the No. 25 Cornhuskers. Last weekend, it was a 44-yarder at Arizona State with just more than two minutes to play that lifted the Buffs to another 34-31 victory over No. 24 ASU.

They were exactly the kind of situations Stefanou was waiting for. While the CU junior is currently the most-accurate field goal kicker in CU history, he had yet to provide the winning margin with a kick in his three years in Boulder.

The overtime kick against the Huskers was particularly satisfying, as he missed two fourth-quarter attempts last year in Lincoln in a game the Buffs still came back to win, 33-28.

“If you’re a kicker and you don’t love the pressure, there’s something wrong,” Stefanou said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s good to get out there and after last year, missing those couple at Nebraska — which we’ve talked about enough — it’s been good to sort of get that monkey off the back and knock them through.”

Continue reading story here

*Video interview – Mel Tucker on Campus Insiders* 

From watchstadium.comFive minute interview can be seen here

Colorado Head Coach Mel Tucker joins Brett McMurphy and Matt Hayes on Campus Insiders. They ask him about coaching in shorts, wide receiver Laviska Shenault, his team’s early-season success and coaching for Nick Saban.

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September 25th

… CU in a few minutes …

Buffs “keeping score” to keep players competitive

From the Daily Camera … Colorado doesn’t have a football game this week, but that doesn’t mean the Buffaloes aren’t competing.

During the first open week of the season, head coach Mel Tucker is making sure the Buffs (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) are staying sharp through daily competition in practice.

“It was very competitive and the guys were into it and we kept score a little bit, so that kind of juiced it up a little bit,” Tucker said after Wednesday’s practice. “Any time you start keeping score, you get more competitive. So it was a good day’s work. We didn’t waste today. We really got after it.”

Coming off a thrilling 34-31 win at Arizona State, the Buffs took a couple of days off before getting back to work Tuesday, without pads. On Wednesday, they put the pads on, but it was “pretty much a similar practice,” Tucker said.

Continue reading story here

Takeaways crucial for CU defense (which otherwise has trouble stopping opponents)

From CUBuffs.com … Senior safety Mikial Onu has been particularly adept in (the area of takeaways). With a team-leading three interceptions and two forced fumbles, he is tied for the nation’s lead in forced turnovers and tied for third in interceptions per game. Fellow safety Aaron Maddox also has a pair of forced fumbles while linebacker Nu’umotu Falo has three fumble recoveries, tying him for the nation’s lead.

“A lot of it comes back to effort,” Summers said. “We work on it every day, but it’s an effort thing. You’ve seen Mikial and Aaron be really exceptional this year in being able to strip the ball and then you see NJ Falo with three fumble recoveries. He’s one of the top guys in the country because he’s an effort guy.”

The takeaways have no doubt been crucial for the defense, as Colorado is still struggling to control opponents’ explosive plays. But because CU has been able to end some potential scoring drives by the opponents — and then see the offense convert those takeaways into points — the Buffs have been in every game down the stretch.

“We talk about each takeaway potentially being worth 14 points — the seven we didn’t give up and the seven we give our offense the opportunity to make,” Summers said. “When you start seeing all those things and see them pay off in games, kids start believing and it turns into a bigger deal.”

Summers’ job as the defensive coordinator for first-year CU head coach Mel Tucker hasn’t been an easy one. While he did inherit a handful of players with some decent Division I experience, it is overall a young and inexperienced defense. Throw in some injuries to key players against Arizona State — including starting defensive tackle Mustafa Johnson and cornerbacks Delrick Abrams Jr. and Chris Miller — and the Buffs’ “next man up” mantra was sorely tested.

Continue reading story here

*Video – Mel Tucker post-practice talk with media – emphasis on special teams (Wednesday)*

From YouTube, courtesy of 247Sports.com:

Darrin Chiaverini on WR corps: “We’re going to keep signing elite players”

From CUBuffs.com … When star Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. exited Saturday night’s game at Arizona State in the first quarter with an injury, CU assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini didn’t flinch.

“I walked over to Coach (Mel) Tucker and said, ‘We’ve got plenty of weapons to win this game, Coach,'” Chiaverini said. “He looked at me and said, ‘You’re right. We do.'”

The Buffs then proceeded to back up Chiaverini’s claim. With Tony Brown producing nine catches for 150 yards and three touchdowns, and K.D. Nixon and Dimitri Stanley both adding clutch receptions at critical moments, the Buffs put forth their best overall offensive effort of the season and left Sun Devil Stadium with a dramatic 34-31 win.

“Maybe some people were surprised, but Coach Tucker sees it every day in practice,” Chiaverini said. “He knows what Tony Brown does every day, he knows what K.D. Nixon does, he knows what kind of receiver Dimitri is going to be. It’s a talented group and competition just makes them better every day.”

The Buffs’ performance is certainly no surprise to Chiaverini, who has proven not only to have a keen eye for talent, but also be someone who knows how to develop that talent once those players arrive on campus.

Continue reading story here

Mel Tucker: “We’re really focusing on technique and fundamentals” during bye week

From CUBuffs.com … A bye week doesn’t mean a week off.

That was the message Tuesday morning from Colorado head coach Mel Tucker to his team as the Buffs returned to work for the first of three practices this week.

The 3-1 Buffs don’t play again until an Oct. 5 home matchup with Arizona (2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network). Thus, they didn’t practice Monday and won’t practice Friday. That will help a number of players heal up an assortment of bumps, bruises and other injuries that have been accumulating over the last couple of weeks.

But, as Tucker noted, there were plenty of bodies available on Tuesday and the Buffs didn’t waste the opportunity to get back to the basics, a process that even included a return to their lower practice fields, usually reserved for fall camp work.

“We’re really focusing on technique and fundamentals,” Tucker said. “That’s our foundation, and when things are not are not right, we’re not efficient or we’re not making the plays we need to make, you usually can go back to the technique and fundamentals to get you right back on track. So we’re just re-establishing that foundation this week and we’re getting more guys reps and practice.”

It’s not that the Buffs haven’t been making enough plays to win games. Colorado has beaten two ranked teams en route to its  3-1 start, including last weekend’s 34-31 win at No. 24 Arizona State.

Continue reading story here

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September 24th

… CU in a few minutes … 

*Video – Mel Tucker post-practice talk with media – goals for bye week (Tuesday)*

From YouTube, courtesy of 247Sports.com:

Jon Wilner Bowl projections: CU bowl-eligible

From the San Jose Mercury News … Following a 15-point loss to Oregon, which followed an 18-point loss to UCF and a 25-point loss to USC, Stanford coach David Shaw asserted that the Cardinal has been “evenly matched” against all three but “a few errors” were decisive.

The Hotline doesn’t see it that way.

We see a team that is overmatched …

A team that’s overpowered by opponents and overwhelmed by the schedule …

A team that has scored one meaningful touchdown in the past 10 quarters …

That allows too many big plays and makes too few big plays and does nothing exceptionally well …

That doesn’t bully opponents and doesn’t have elite playmakers and doesn’t fool defenses and doesn’t possess the talent it once did at the positions where it must excel.

Also, we see a team that has gone bowling 10 consecutive seasons — a remarkable feat — but is now on the brink of postseason elimination.

Lose in Corvallis on Saturday afternoon, and the Cardinal is done.

At large
Team: Colorado (3-1/1-0)
Home games left (four): Arizona, USC, Stanford, Washington
Road games left (four): Oregon, Washington State, UCLA, Utah
Comment: The Buffaloes got one back with the victory at ASU, and Stanford’s slippage changes the outlook for CU’s home schedule. Handle the Cardinal and Wildcats, then find one more, somewhere, anywhere.

Read full story here

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“Miracle in Michigan” – 25 years ago today

From BuffsTV … Mark Johnson interviews Kordell Stewart …

For Buff fans of a certain age, the 1994 Michigan game represents one of those “I remember exactly where I was, who I was with, and how I reacted” moments.

My write-up for the game, including the game story, the series-by-series recounting of the frantic final five minutes of the game, along with notes, and quotes, and comments from your fellow Buff fans … can be found here.

A great story about how Michael Westbrook almost didn’t make the trip (a story I hadn’t heard before), is recounted by Neill Woelk, below.

But, if you only have a few minutes for what happened 25 years ago today, and you want to spend it with ABC’s Keith Jackson … here you go:

From Neill Woelk at CUBuffs.com … One of the “stories behind the story” that has only recently come to light is Neuheisel’s insistence that Westbrook almost didn’t make the trip.

According to Neuheisel, on the Thursday before the game, Westbrook missed a required session in the training room. Anyone who knew Bill McCartney knew that such a transgression would likely mean he would leave Westbrook at home — even though Westbrook was a Detroit native and was heading home to play in front of friends and family.

“We’re in the meeting room, waiting for our 6:30 meeting and (head trainer) Dave Burton walks in, looks at me and says, ‘Westbrook’s a no-show,'” Neuheisel said last week. “One of the miracles of that week is that Mac (McCartney) is late to his own meeting. That never happened. But he hasn’t opened the door yet and I tell Dave not to say anything. I’ll be right back.”

Neuheisel then ran to his car and drove to Westbrook’s apartment, just a few minutes from campus.

“I bang on the door and he answers in nothing but his shorts,” Neuheisel said. “He says, ‘I’m sorry,’ but I just say we’ll worry about sorry later. I tell him he doesn’t need clothes, just get in the car and go.”

The two then returned to the Dal Ward Center, where Westbrook went to the training room and Neuheisel went back to the meeting — where he knew he would be greeted by the wrath of McCartney, who abhorred anyone being late to a meeting.

“He asks me why I’m late and I tell him I was actually there at the beginning, but had an upset stomach,” Neuheisel said. “I wink at Burton and the meeting goes on.”

To be fair, Neuheisel said, his story to McCartney wasn’t a complete lie.

“The thought of playing Michigan without Michael Westbrook kind of made me sick to my stomach,” he laughed. “Plus, there’s no way a kid from Michigan could miss that game.”

Westbrook denies the story, telling the Denver Post last week, “”Let him have fun with his 25-year story. Because I seriously doubt that. I had 70 people in (Michigan) Stadium that I had gotten tickets for. I literally had 70 tickets for that game, and I’m going to miss that one? I was lazy my freshman year. My senior year, I was making it happen.”

Neuheisel, though, insists the “miracle before the miracle” occurred.

Read Neill’s full recounting of the “Miracle in Michigan” here

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September 23rd

… CU in a few minutes …

Herm Edwards: “The key to this game was this: the quarterback had a lot of time to throw”

From the Daily Camera … Saturday might have been quarterback Steven Montez’s best performance of the season. He was sharp all night, threw three touchdowns and no interceptions and led the offensive like a senior QB and third-year starter should.

It helped that he had time.

It’s no coincidence that Montez’s big night came when the offensive line had its best game. Montez wasn’t sacked and often sat in the pocket comfortably.

“The key to this game was this: the quarterback had a lot of time to throw. A lot of time,” ASU head coach Herm Edwards said. “That’s not fun with a quarterback that can throw the ball like this guy. We have to find a way to make the quarterback uncomfortable; he wasn’t very uncomfortable tonight.”

ASU defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales said Montez “did a pretty good job seeing where our stunts were coming from” in the first half. In the first half, Montez was 13-for-16 for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

Continue reading story here

WR Tony Brown glad that he transferred from Texas Tech

From the Daily Camera … As an assistant coach at Texas Tech several years ago, Darrin Chiaverini watched Tony Brown light up opposing defenses as a four-star recruit from La Mirada (Calif.) High School.

Chiaverini liked Brown, and the feeling was mutual, as Brown signed a letter of intent with Tech in 2015.

“I knew he was special when I signed him at Texas Tech,” Chiaverini, now Colorado’s receivers coach, said.

Several years and one transfer later, Brown is proving to be special again.

Last Saturday in Colorado’s 34-31 upset of then-No. 24 Arizona State, Brown caught nine passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns – all career highs – for the Buffs. He tied the school record for touchdown catches in a game, becoming the fifth player in CU history with three.

“I have high expectations for myself to play that role and just do my job,” he said following the game. “I expect this for myself, just playing that role. And, not just me, but all the receivers.”

Continue reading story here

… Remembering Sal Aunese, who died 30 years ago today … 

Here is a link to “Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story

A YouTube trailer to the film:

Sal Aunese died on September 23, 1989. It was a Saturday, and came on a bye week for the Buffs. The week before, the Buffs defeated No. 10 Illinois, 38-7. The week after, the Buffs defeated No. 21 Washington, 45-21 (CU also played Texas and CSU in non-conference play in 1989, so yes, the Buffs did have the No. 1 ranked schedule in the nation that season).

My write-up for the Illinois game, “No. 10 Illinois – Jeff George Falls / A Farewell to Sal“, which includes a remembrance from Alfred Williams, can be found here

My write-up for the Washington game, “No. 21 Washington: Road Trip to Seattle – Buffs Dominate“, can be found here

*Video: Mel Tucker’s ASU pregame speech*

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffsTV:

Kickoff time for Arizona game set

From CUBuffs.com … The Arizona at Colorado football game on Saturday, October 5, will be televised nationally by the Pac-12 Network and will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. MDT.   The game is among the events for CU’s annual Family Weekend.

Other selections that day:

Saturday, October 5, 2019 

6:00 pm MDT – California at Oregon, FOX

7:00 pm MDT – Oregon State at UCLA, Pac-12 Network

8:30 pm MDT – Washington at Stanford, ESPN

Mel Tucker on the poise of Steven Montez: “That’s why I believe in him”

From the Daily Camera … From start to finish, CU’s 34-31 upset of No. 24 Arizona State was a workmanlike effort. The Buffs clocked in, put in a full four quarters of good work – for the first time this season – and punched out. The Buffs (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) were remarkably calm under pressure and displayed maturity through adversity.

The suits and Tucker’s demeanor set the table, but in the heat of the game, the coolest, calmest, most mature guy on the field was Buffs quarterback Steven Montez.

A week after his lackluster performance in a disappointing overtime loss at home to Air Force, Montez had one of his best games and displayed leadership throughout a significant win for the Buffs.

“That’s why I believe in him,” Tucker said.

Statistically, Montez could not have been much better. He completed 76.7 percent of his passes (23 of 30) for 337 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.

Continue reading story here

Neill Woelk: Ten Takeaways from the ASU game

From CUBuffs.com … Take a breath, Buffs fans.

The Colorado Buffaloes have a bye this week, meaning there won’t be another  heart-stopping, gut-wrenching, down-to-the-wire CU game for at least another 12 days.

But while you are taking a break, Mel Tucker’s 3-1 Buffs will get back to work. Tucker made that very clear just minutes after Saturday night’s 34-31 win at Arizona State, CU’s second win over a ranked team this season.

“We need to get better,” Tucker said. “We get to meet and we get to practice. I believe we have a good football team, we have upside and we haven’t reached our full potential yet. And you get better through practice and meetings — and not just going through the motions, but really getting after it, straining to get better, pushing to get better.”

Not that the Buffs won’t take advantage of some extra time. Colorado doesn’t play again until an Oct. 5 home game against Arizona, and will thus be on the practice field just three times this week. They will also use the extra time to heal some of the bumps and bruises they have incurred over the last couple of weeks.

But when they hit the practice field, it will be like everything Tucker does when it comes to the Buffs — with a purpose.

“We’re going to take advantage of the bye, we’re going to be smart, we’ll get healthy,” Tucker said. “But when we step on the practice field, we’re going to go.”

So what did we learn from the Buffs’ latest win? Our weekly takeaways:

Continue reading story here

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September 22nd 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Pat Rooney: Resiliency the key for Mel Tucker’s Buffs

From the Daily Camera … It remains to be seen whether Colorado’s thrilling win late Saturday night at Arizona State will be a signature win of a memorable season, or a brief highlight first-year head coach Mel Tucker can point to as an example of what he expects to build within the Buffaloes program.

Like last year, if nothing else in the Pac-12 Conference, the victories and projections can change wildly from week to week. Heck, even CU’s stunning and impressive 34-31 win against the 24th-ranked Sun Devils — CU’s first win ever in Tempe and one that erased a 35-game losing streak against ranked foes away from Boulder — didn’t even count as the biggest surprise in the league Saturday night. That honor went to UCLA, which at least momentarily silenced doubts about second-year coach Chip Kelly’s ability to turn the Bruins around with an improbable comeback win at No. 19 Washington State.

Yet this much is certain for the Buffs: Just one third of the way into his first season full season as a head coach anywhere, clearly Tucker’s sermons of toughness and resiliency already are taking root at CU. That bodes well for Buffs fans for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.

Continue reading story here

Buffs back among “others receiving votes” in both polls

From CBS Sports … The way that Georgia handled Notre Dame got itself a first-place vote in the Coaches Poll, but things remained steadily split between No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama in the new AP Top 25 college football rankings released on Sunday.  Week 4 gave us several ranked-against-ranked matchups, and by the end of the carnage in UCLA’s comeback win against Washington State, eight ranked teams had suffered losses — five to unranked teams. All of this provided the room for some changes in the rankings, and one team that benefited in a big way was Wisconsin.

Wisconsin moved from No. 13 up into the top 10 at No. 8 after its 35-14 win against Michigan on Saturday. The AP voters had been reluctant with the Badgers based on the strength of their opponents in two blowout wins, but carrying the same level of execution against a team like the Wolverines is worthy of an adjustment in the rankings.

Associated Press poll: 

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. LSU
  5. Ohio State
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Auburn
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Florida
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Texas
  12. Penn State
  13. Oregon … up three spots from last week 
  14. Iowa
  15. California … up eight spots
  16. Boise State
  17. Washington … up five spots 
  18. Virginia
  19. Utah … down nine spots
  20. Michigan
  21. USC … up 17 spots
  22. UCF
  23. Texas A&M
  24. Kansas State
  25. Michigan State

Others receiving votes: Wake Forest 73, Oklahoma State 57, SMU 55, Army 46, Memphis 42, Iowa State 31, Appalachian State 24, Washington State 21, Mississippi State 14, Missouri 14, Pittsburgh 6, Minnesota 5, Colorado 5, Arizona State 5, Tulane 1

List of voters for CU (61 voters did not have the Buffs on their ballot): 

Gene Henley – Tennessee – Chattanooga Times/Free Press – 25th
Brian Howell – Colorado – Boulder Daily Camera – 25th
Matt McCoy – Ohio State – WTVM-AM Columbus, OH – 24th
Kirk Bohls – Texas – Austin-American Statesmen – 25th

USA Today Coaches poll … 

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. LSU
  6. Ohio State
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Florida
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Penn State
  12. Texas
  13. Oregon … up four spots from last week
  14. Iowa
  15. Boise State
  16. Cal … up seven spots
  17. Washington … up four spots
  18. Virginia
  19. Utah … down eight spots
  20. Michigan
  21. Texas A&M
  22. Kansas State
  23. Central Florida
  24. Wake Forest
  25. USC … up 21 spots

Others receiving votes: Memphis 109, Washington State 83, Michigan State 82, SMU 63, Oklahoma State 51, Army 45, Mississippi State 34, Appalachian State 27, Colorado 12, Minnesota 9, Utah State 9, Tulane 8, Iowa State 7, Nebraska 7, Arizona State 6, TCU 5, Navy 4, Duke 3, Arizona 1, Hawai’i 1

Neill Woelk: Buffs had an answer for every Sun Devil comeback

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado coach Mel Tucker got what he asked for — and his players delivered.

Once again, Tucker’s Buffaloes came up with decisive plays down the stretch Saturday night, plays that made the difference in a 34-31 win over No. 24 Arizona State on the Sun Devils’ home turf.

“We talked about it before the game,” Tucker said. “I wanted the game to go down to the wire. I wanted us to be able to win the game at the end. I told them that. That’s what I wanted to see. I wanted to prove that we could beat a good football team on the road in a tight ballgame, that we could get the job done. The kids believed.”

The Buffs did indeed believe, and they put forth proof that the culture Tucker is installing is one is built to withstand adversity.

These Buffs don’t tap out.

This was a game the Buffs very easily could have let slip away. On the road against a quality team and momentum threatening to find a home on the ASU sidelines at just about every critical juncture of the second half — and two of CU’s best players sidelined by injury early in the game.

But every time the Sun Devils threatened to take the game over, every time the home crowd revved its engines to cheer an ASU comeback, the Buffs answered.

Continue reading story here

Offensive line steps up – Tucker: “I saw grit and determination”

From the Daily Camera … Against Air Force on Sept. 14, the Buffs’ offensive line had a rough afternoon. CU gave up a pair of sacks, Montez was under pressure all day and the run game had a hard time getting on track.

Facing one of the best defensive teams in the country on Saturday, the line stepped up. The first-team unit of Arlington Hambright, Kary Kutsch, Tim Lynott, Colby Pursell and William Sherman allowed zero sacks, very little pressure and paved the way for 140 rushing yards.

“I saw grit and determination,” Tucker said of the line. “Our offensive line is very well coached. Coach (Chris Kapilovic) does a fantastic job with those guys. And you know, as they play more together, get more snaps under their belts and really see what they’re capable of doing, I feel like we’ll be able to run the football we’ll be able to protect the quarterback.”

Pursell, who plays right guard, said the linemen knew they had to bounce back and play well.

“We always have to challenge ourselves to be better every week,” he said. “Obviously, last week wasn’t the result we wanted. We knew this week we’d have a big task going into conference play. We knew we had to execute.

“It feels great. It’s the goal to keep (Montez) clean, open up run lanes. That’s what you want.”

Buffs get designer suits instead of sweats for road games

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffsTV:

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26 Replies to “Colorado Daily”

  1. It isn’t any clearer here right now in Tucson whether QB Tate and RB Taylor will play this Sat against the Buffs. I think that of the two Taylor is more likely to play. But both have ankle problems we are told and Tate also had a hammy. If those two injuries for Tate are still questionable for Tate, but he does play he will most likely be hampered and while always dangerous as a runner, last year he hardly ran at all in games with nagging leg injuries. The most passes he threw when he couldn’t run was when Houston blew them out but he put the ball up 32 times. My opinion is that CU has to be more worried about the pass regardless then of which QB plays. The Frosh QB that beat UCLA threw 44 times. He is pretty good but he is still a Freshman so we’ll see.

    They have some other capable backs but Taylor is their horse and if he has a sore ankle he probably won’t be near as effective as he could be. Now watch them both combine for about 300yds rushing, making me look like the expert analyst of which I ain’t.

    I don’t think much of their D and they only have 71 players on scholarship. They already played 4 young kids in their first 3 games that they planned on red-shirting and I don’t know if they played against UCLA but if any of them did then they are even more short handed.

    CU needs to keep it close or lead going into the late 3rd or 4th Qtr. and then really put the pedal to the metal as I think this UofA team is still undermanned and doesn’t have as much over all talent as the Buffs, and hopefully the combination of altitude and conditioning could put another Buff win on the board.

  2. Johnson is the one injured guy we need on the field the most this coming game. The DBs need all the help they can get from a pass rush. Looks like another game where we will have to win a scoring race.

  3. I guess we wait until the game starts to see if Viska, Johnson or Miller are on the sidelines. No disrespect to Viska of course due our stable of WRs but the most important injuries are to almost any starter on the D let alone the best ones

  4. Bye week question….Tuck appears to be doing everything ‘right’. That being said what is the biggest disappointment up to this juncture?
    Viska?
    LBs?
    DBs?
    Oline?

    If I had one nit to pick it would be the big scoring plays we are still giving up on D. We need to play bend/don’t break D, make teams score TDs in the RedZone.
    Go Buffs!!

    1. It would be the DBs and the DB coach, they are so lost on so many plays and there is no real defensive scheme for them. Viska has a bullseye, and I like that Tuck is protecting him and did tell him that it’s not what you do this year it is how you handle it. And that is forcing others to step up, which is exactly what we need.

          1. Agreed Stuart…. Landman is in on so many tackles, it is just that they aren’t flashy. It looks to me like they want him to hang back more and stop the unexpected. such as QB scrambles.

          2. If you watch, on some plays he looks lost as to what his assignment is, he’s blown some big plays, he seems to be a different player than last year. Yes I know the tackling stat, but he’s not a threat to any offense when he is running without a scheme

  5. Yo Y’all,

    HCMT is a pretty cool guy.

    Like every coach, ‘coachspeak’ abounds.

    But from HCMT it sounds different………………………….Believable.

    Up your Buffalo

  6. Can someone explain to me why there is no update or news on the Johnson and Shenault injuries?? Is no news good news….or bad news??

    1. Not news … at least for now.
      At his meeting with the press today (see video), Mel Tucker said that they would be giving updates on all of the injured players later in the week.
      If it wasn’t a bye week, we’d know today. Because it’s a bye week, they can wait and see how players are doing, and give out news when they feel like it.
      Patience!

      1. Ok, thanks! It’s just killing me, and was worried I had missed some kind of update. I mean if I were someone at any of the local news outlets I would be beating the bushes to get the scoop on anything, even just reading the tea leaves or talking to someone who might have insight.

  7. I’m an admitted curmudgeon on the uniform front. Yes, I understand the need to appeal to recruits…and then I see the ceaseless number of top players who end up at Alabama, which does not appear to be setting the collegiate football fashion world afire. I watched some pretty good Buff teams play at Folsom during the ’85 to ’88 seasons and they seemed to play just fine wearing traditional home uniforms. Those same teams were pretty good on the road too wearing gold helmets, white jerseys, and black pants (a/k/a the color combination the Buffs wore in the Big House twenty-five years ago today).

    25 years ago today, I was in my living room in NJ with my two then-small children watching the end of what I believed would be a close loss to Michigan. I was explaining to my kids that in sports even when you try your hardest, sometimes you lose and that’s okay when Kordell Stewart permanently interrupted my speech.

    I was a senior when Sal Aunese was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the Spring of ’89. I attended the Spring Game that year (only time I did so in four years at CU). I remember him receiving his gift from his teammates and then carrying him on their shoulders. Only had the pleasure of meeting Sal once. I worked at Abo’s Pizza on the Hill. Buffs first loss in ’88 was to Oklahoma State at home. Barry Sanders killed us. Sal came by Abo’s looking to buy a slice. He got there about 4-5 minutes after we’d closed. We’d no food left. When I told him he just missed us, he smiled sort of sadly and said that had been the story of his entire day – his timing had been off. I told him to feel better – there was always next week. Off he went on his way home. I’d no idea just how few “next weeks” he would have. Damn shame.

    1. Good stuff, Adam. I reckon you sold me many a slice.

      As to Shenault, my bet is his shoulder isn’t right. Hopefully it gets there. At least that is one position where depth isn’t too concerning.

      I like the timing of this bye. Just keep tate from going off and we should be 4-1 heading into the tough stretch.

      Go Buffs.

    2. I was at the Big House for that game and will never experience a better moment as a sports fan! I also met Sal outside of Abo’s one afternoon and we struck up a conversation. He asked me what I was studying (which just shows how genuine and down to earth he was) and when I said accounting & finance he laughed and said “maybe you can be my agent.” Hope Tucker can bring us back to football glory and Boyle keeps improving the hoops. Does any other team really matter? Go Buffs!!

  8. At home: 1) Gold, black, black is my favorite. 2) Traditional Gold, black, gold.
    On the road: 1) Gold, white, black 2) Storm trooper

    Looks like we have a coach with real leadership traits. Exciting!

  9. Yoho,

    I didn’t like the color combo last week (black silver black)

    The Gold white white looks nice.

    My favs though are:
    Road Gold white black
    Home Gold Black Black

    Buffalo up The gold helmets with the logo are signature.

    1. Whatever you say there, Oleg Cassini, or Ralph Lauren or whatever. Actually your taste seems pretty good. The best look is Gold Helmet, Black Jersey’s, Gold Pants, always has been, always will be. Actually the Gold white white look was nice last night along with the HC in Black Shorts, better look then that old Hounds Tooth Hat of Bear Bryant.

      Is also true that you are a cousin of Coco Chanel, or is it Vera Wang?

      Is it true that

      1. I have been watching Ken Burn’s country music production. Most of those outlandish costumes worn by guys like Porter Wagner and a bunch of others were all made b the same taylor in LA. I think that guy is still around. Why not the Buffs? sequins and scenes with mountain ranges, buffalo, pine trees…even some tear away fringe along the sleeves. If nothing else it would be extremely distracting for the opposition.
        Speaking opposition, AZ, we are counting on you you relay any “chirping” coming out of Tucson for the next couple of weeks

      2. Yo…………so AZ has ep been in your closet??

        gold black gold is nice Nice to see it once in a while eh?
        But the black pants away or at home just look so Mighty Buffalo

        Now I gotta say the “storm trooper” look is pretty cool too.
        Grey is just Gray………….

        Up your buffalo

        Note: Loveshack Fancy are some of my favs.

        Note 2: I like River Islands too.

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