Colorado Daily – Arizona State Week

September 25th – GameDay!

… CU in a few minutes … 

Buffs playing for themselves: “We’ve only got who’s inside this building. That’s what we’ve been preaching”

From the Daily Camera … Since the end of the 30-0 loss to Gophers, some have wondered if the Buffs (1-2) will win another game. In fact, ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), which a week ago gave CU a 56.9% chance of bowl eligibility (six wins), now puts that likelihood at 9.4%. The FPI, for what it’s worth, has CU favored in just one game the rest of the year – on Oct. 16 against winless Arizona.

Some fans are just as down on the Buffs after that embarrassing loss on the Folsom Field turf

“Fans are gonna do what they do,” CU cornerback Mekhi Blackmon said this week. “If I was a fan, I would do the same thing, so I can’t be mad at them.”

Players and coaches, however, are doing their best to fight off the negativity as they prepare to face Arizona State (2-1) on Saturday night in Tempe, Ariz.

“Being on the team, you can’t lose your confidence,” Blackmon said. “You lose your confidence, you’re going to listen to the comments and everything. You can’t listen to that type of criticism. We’ve only got who’s inside this building. That’s what we’ve been preaching. So I think everybody believes in that and we’ll be good.”

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September 24th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Pat Rooney: CU fans own Master’s degrees in Bad Football Recognition

… Not dissimilar to my Sunday morning Essay, “Why Should We Continue to Care?” …

From the Daily Camera … The Buffs will have an opportunity to prove last week’s offensive malaise was an aberration on Saturday when they visit Arizona State. If they don’t reverse course, and CU looks as futile in the pursuit of points as a week ago, Buffs fans may reach a breaking point.

It hardly was a scientific study, but the fed-up rhetoric emanating from Buff Nation seemed more fatalistic than normal this past week, even after a bad loss. My BuffZone colleague, Brian Howell, echoed that thought in our latest podcast. Many die-hards appear ready to spend their time and energy every Saturday doing something more productive than watching the Buffs’ unproductive offense.

Who can blame them, but why now? Buffs fans have followed their team through thicker fogs than this. Excluding the asterisk season of 2020, CU has posted just one winning season since 2005. There have been more coaching changes in that span (five) than bowl appearances (three, one of which was the asterisk season). No one enjoys backing a losing football team, but this season’s 1-2 start hardly is straying from the routine.

Perhaps it’s simply the fatigue of constantly dashed hopes, but the fallout from last Saturday’s disaster had an ominous tint. After such a promising start to the Dorrell era — asterisk season or not, going 4-2 during last year’s COVID season surpassed all expectations — the performance against Minnesota reeked of a bloom falling quickly off the black-and-gold rose. With a defense talented and dependable enough to keep the Buffs in most games, even a below-par offense would be enough to stir hope. But the Buffs team that flailed and failed against Minnesota had the look of a program years away from being a serious contender in a less-than formidable Pac-12.

… I’ve seen our own BuffZone analytics enough to know that even in the most woeful of seasons, it’s the football passion that runs the strongest amongst Buffs Nation. Repeat the offensive futility of a week ago, however, and Buffs fans can’t be blamed if they tune out and don’t bother filling Folsom the rest of the way.

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Neill Woelk’s Keys to the Game: “Call it a new season”

From CUBuffs.com Call it a new season for the Colorado Buffaloes.

With their non-conference schedule now firmly in the rearview mirror, the 1-2 Buffs have a fresh start of sorts this week as they open Pac-12 play Saturday with an 8:30 p.m. (MT) game at 2-1 Arizona State (ESPNU).

The game is no doubt an opportunity for the Buffs to rinse the bad taste of last week’s 30-0 loss to Minnesota from their mouths. But more importantly, it’s a chance to start conference play on the right foot — and in a Pac-12 South that has no clear favorite at the moment, building some confidence and momentum with a win would be a great way to send a message that they still plan on being part of the mix.

But a win in Sun Devil Stadium won’t be easy. ASU started the season as a top 25 team and entered last weekend ranked No. 19 before dropping a 27-17 decision to BYU. The Sun Devils have a host of offensive weapons, led by quarterback Jayden Daniels, and an opportunistic defense that has a penchant for creating takeaways.

Still, ASU has its issues. The Sun Devils committed 16 penalties and had four turnovers last week, the kind of self-inflicted wounds that are difficult to overcome.

What the Buffs must do in order to return from the desert with a win:

1. Get QB Brendon Lewis some confidence early. There’s no doubt CU’s freshman quarterback has taken some hits — mentally and physically — the last couple of weeks. Last weekend, he endured a four-sack game while completing just 50 percent of his passes (8-for-16) for 55 yards, with his longest completion covering just 11 yards.

But Lewis is a tough-minded competitor, and the Buffs need to get his confidence trending back in the right direction. That means finding a way to get him some early completions, moving the sticks and utilizing his abilities to their fullest.

Lewis has a wealth of playmaking ability. The task will be putting him in the best position possible to have some success early against an ASU defense that will be coming at him from every possible direction.

2. Rediscover the run game mojo. For the first six quarters of this season — and most of last year — Colorado was a power running team.

But last week, due in part to some last-minute shuffling on the offensive line and some early injuries up front, the Buffs were spinning their wheels most of the day.

They need to get those run game fundamentals back. Dorrell has stressed that he wants some balance in CU’s offense, and it’s critical that they create it. But that has to start with a run game that sets the tempo and establishes control up front. If the Buffs can get RBs Jarek Broussard and Alex Fontenot back in a groove, it will greatly increase Lewis’ chances of success.

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Good Karma – Miracle in Michigan Anniversary

From the CU at the Game Archives

Game story … While there is much to be said about the final six seconds of the 1994 Colorado/Michigan game, the set-up is equally important.

Both teams had the opportunity to dominate the game, but both fell short. Momentum swayed back and forth before 106,427 fans, the largest crowd to witness a Colorado football game in school history. Midway through the second quarter, the Buffs were putting on a show for the Wolverine faithful. Up 14-3, Colorado threatened to make the game a rout after Kordell Stewart hit Michael Westbrook on a 27-yard touchdown with 7:54 remaining in the half.

For the next two full quarters, however, the game was all Michigan.

Wolverine running back Tim Biakabutuka scored on a four yard run to pull Michigan to within 14-9 with 1:14 before halftime. Going for a two point conversion to pull the Wolverines to within a field goal of the Buffs, quarterback Todd Collins was intercepted by CU linebacker Matt Russell, preserving a five point lead for the Buffs.

The third quarter was a nightmare for the Buffs, as Michigan posted 17 unanswered points to take a 26-14 lead.

Less than five minutes into the quarter, Tyrone Wheatley capped a 62-yard drive with a six yard scoring run. A short field goal after the Buffs’ fumbled the kickoff return and a 65-yard bomb from Collins to receiver Amani Toomer gave the Wolverines their biggest advantage, 26-14, with just under three minutes remaining in the third. The Buffs were sluggish on offense, and the game appeared to be well in hand for the home team.

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September 23rd

… CU in a few minutes … 

CU rushing attack? “We’ve got to just focus on the details and execute. That’s really all it is”

From the Daily Camera … It was supposed to be a reliable backbone for a Colorado offense breaking in a new starter at quarterback.

Instead, the Buffaloes’ run game is stuck between a classic rock-and-a-hard-place.

… “Really we’ve got to just focus on the details and execute. That’s really all it is,” Alex Fontenot said. “To me, it’s just simple mistakes that got us beat (against Minnesota). Of course it gets frustrating, but that’s just football. You’re not going to bust long runs every play. You have games like that where there’s just nothing. Nowhere to go. You’ve just got to get back in it and get better.”

… The CU run game was even more futile against Minnesota. The Buffs’ final total of minus-19 rushing yards was the third-worst single-game total in program history. Broussard and Fontenot were given a combined eight handoffs that netted just 12 yards — and Broussard gained eight of those on his first carry. Backup quarterback Drew Carter, who entered the game in mop-up time, ended up being the team’s leading rusher with nine yards.

“That’s exactly what we need to do, is get Jarek and Alex going a little bit,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that effectively last weekend. We’re going to go back to our formula of what’s been successful for us, and then build from there. Those guys are dynamic players that can do some positive things. That would be nice to take some of that off Brendon’s plate. We’re working hard to really create that balance, particularly in our run game. And also give these young receivers opportunities, too. They didn’t have many opportunities last week. We had a few catches in the game. But we need to get everybody involved a little more efficiently.”

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Buffs preparing for talented ASU offense: “I think it’s gonna be definitely a challenging game”

From the Daily Camera … Prior to last week (a 27-17 loss to BYU), Arizona State had averaged 48.5 points in its previous four games, dating back to last season. The Sun Devils have scored at least 30 points in 10 of Daniels’ 19 career games.

Daniels isn’t the only concern for CU, though. ASU has a talented backfield, led by Rachaad White and Daniyel Ngata. DeaMonte Trayanum, who has averaged 6.2 yards per carry in his five career games, has missed the past two weeks but would give ASU another option if he’s healthy.

“We have to make sure we kind of keep them in front of us, so to speak, and hopefully them making the mistake of a bad read or us making a great play,” Dorrell said. “We’re gonna have to do a lot of really good things to kind of keep the lid on this offense, which is going to be very difficult to do.”

Last week, the Buffs gave up 30 points and 441 yards in a 30-0 loss to Minnesota last week, but also spent 40 minutes, 13 seconds on the field. The Gophers scored 17 points in the last 16 minutes of the game, taking advantage of a fatigued CU defense.

Despite the numbers not looking good against the Gophers, the Buffs have played solid defense all season. They rank 21st nationally (and tied for first in the Pac-12) in scoring defense, allowing 15.7 points per game. They are fourth in the Pac-12 in total defense (336.3 yards per game).

“I think it’s gonna be definitely a challenging game,” CU outside linebacker Guy Thomas said of facing ASU. “But, I know the coaches are gonna put us in the best position to come out (and win).”

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September 22nd 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Phillip Lindsay’s second touchdowns in as many weeks leads NFL Buffs in Week Two

From CUBuffs.com … Phillip Lindsay had his second touchdown in as many weeks, Chidobe Awuzie showed up on a few big plays and Nate Solder played every offensive snap for the Giants headlining Buffs in the NFL for the second week of the season.

Here’s a look at how all the Buffs in the NFL fared in Week 2:

Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Bengals: 
Awuzie proved his defensive value to the Bengals again as he played in all 65 defensive snaps and saw some special teams action in the Bengals 20-17 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. He recorded two solo tackles and had one pass breakup in the endzone.

Mason Crosby, K, Packers:
Crosby went 5-of-5 on extra points in the Packers 35-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football.

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Texans
Lindsay featured more as a receiver out of the backfield this week as he made a big 22-yard catch for a touchdown on a screen pass, finding the endzone for the second week in a row. Lindsay made two Browns defenders fall over in the open field on his way to the endzone.

Isaiah Oliver, CB, Falcons:
Oliver had three tackles and one pass deflection in the Falcons 48-25 loss to the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oliver has seven tackles in two games with that pass deflection.

Laviska Shenault Jr. WR, Jaguars:
Shenault had two catches and exited the game early due to injury in the Jaguars’ loss to the Denver Broncos.  The injury is not considered serious as the MRI came back negative on Monday.  He’s considered day-to-day this week.

Nate Solder, OT, Giants:
The 10-year veteran played in all 69 offensive snaps and on special teams in the Giants 30-29 loss to the Washington Football Team Thursday night. He matched up against one of the game’s best stars in Chase Young but held his own.

Davion Taylor, LB, Eagles
Taylor played in the Eagles 17-11 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, seeing his first action of the season.  He recorded two tackles.

Josh Tupou, DT, Bengals
Tupou played in 23 defensive snaps in the Bengals 20-17 loss to the Bears on Sunday and came up with one tackle.

Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Steelers:
Witherspoon played on defense and special teams in the Steelers’ 26-17 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

David Bahtairi (Packers, PUP list), Ken Crawley (Saints, IR), Daniel Munyer (Titans, IR), and Jimmy Smith (Ravens) are all nursing injuries early in the season while Kabion Ento (Packers), Arlington Hambright (Bears), Steven Montez (Lions), Will Sherman (Patriots) and Juwann Winfree (Packers) remain on their respective teams practice squad.

 

**Video: Karl Dorrell Meets with Media**

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsNationKarl Dorrell – “They’re being very competitive, they’re working hard against each other, they’re encouraging each other as well, so it’s been a  couple of really solid days … DB Nigel Bethel has been doing good things all along. He’s become a better player in a lot of respects” … as to ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels: “There are always challenges when you’ve got a guy who has been a two-to-three year starter. He’s a seasoned player; he knows where his talent is … We have to try and keep him in front of us” …. Dorrell said he’s hoping Colby Pursell is available at ASU; Pursell practiced this week and has ‘two good days, back-to-back’ Tues/Wed. Na’im Rodman has been a limited participant at practice this week, resting up a sore shoulder. He’s expected to be good for Saturday …

Karl Dorrell; Herm Edwards exchange plaudits 

From the Daily Camera … During his weekly press conference with Arizona State media, Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards said he expects a physical test from the Buffs on Saturday night in Tempe, Ariz.

“Very good defense; they don’t allow a lot of points,” Edwards said when asked of his impression of the Buffs. “Offensively, they have a talented group of wide receivers and running backs. The quarterback is similar to the guy we just faced (BYU’s Jaren Hall). He’s got a good arm and can make a lot of plays with his legs.

“They’re a football team that has some talent. They’re big up front on their offensive line. Defensively they’re long. They’ve got a really good secondary. They play a lot of man to man, play a lot of press coverage, so that’s going to be a test for us in the passing game to try to get some guys open. They play very physical. They’re a very physical football team. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Dorrell and Edwards have both spent most of their coaching careers in the NFL. They’ve never worked together, but Dorrell has great respect for the Sun Devils coach.

“Herm is a heck of a football coach,” Dorrell said. “Our path has crossed many times in our careers. I never had a chance to coach with him, but he’s been with a great number of really great coaches. … He’s a great coach, and he’s an even better person. I like Herm a lot.

“I’m sure he’s going to have his team ready to play and my job is obviously to go down there and get this team ready to be confident and be effective and for them to believe that they can go down and win this game. And that’s really what our goal is this week.”

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Mid-80’s revisited: Is punter Josh Watts CU’s best player?

… Note … From 1973-1988, CU’s only consensus All-Americans were punters: Barry Helton (1985-86) and Keith English (1988) … 

From the Daily Camera … Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell would prefer punter Josh Watts to be less busy than he’s been so far this year.

Dorrell has no complaints about how Watts is performing, however.

A junior from Australia in his second year with the Buffs (1-2), Watts ranks 10th nationally with an average of 48.78 yards per punt. Eight of his18 punts have traveled at least 50 yards, including a career-best 62-yarder.

“Josh Watts has become a very consistent and very productive player for us,” Dorrell said. “Really, I have to probably give (first-year strength and conditioning coach) Shannon Turley a little bit of credit in that. When I got here last year and (Watts) was punting for us, he had so many soft tissue injuries dealing with his leg; he had groin issues, hamstrings and stuff like that, hip flexors. I think Shannon has done a great job of putting him on a regimen that is really creating better body maintenance for him where he feels great every day.”

As a first-year football player in 2020, Watts averaged 40.89 yards and only three of his 27 punts went 50 yards or more.

“He’s been staying on this routine,” Dorrell said. “He started it after spring practice and so he carried it through the summer and through training camp and he’s playing as consistent and as good as he’s been. A lot of it is because he’s feeling really good.”

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September 21st

… CU in a few minutes … 

Brenden Rice: “We’ll get it together – I can’t wait to show the world what we can do”

From the Daily Camera … Brenden Rice had high expectations for himself and the rest of the Colorado receivers this year.

Three games into the season, it’s been a difficult road for that group, as the Buffaloes’ offense has gone through some struggles.

“Very frustrating,” Rice said. “But we’ll get it together. I’m still proud of this offense. I can’t wait to show the world what we can do and what we are able to do. It’s only a matter of time.”

Rice said it’s important for the playmakers, who all want the ball more, to focus on what they can do to help the struggling offense, rather than hang their heads.

“It’s a team sport, first of all, so whatever you do personally doesn’t really matter,” Rice said. “If your team isn’t doing good, like our offense … you can touch the ball 10, 15, 20 times, but if your offense ain’t moving the ball, then what does it mean? At the end of the day, if you’re not winning games, you’re not moving the ball, you’re not doing what you need to do as an offense, nothing else really matters. You’ve got to put all your goals, your efforts towards that stuff.”

While the spotlight is on Lewis as the offense struggles, Dorrell was quick to point out that every position group has work to do. Rice said for the receivers that includes doing work without the ball.

“We need to block more on the perimeter, just to get our running backs open, because our line can’t handle everybody, so we’ve to go up there and handle some of the safeties, get our hands dirty,” he said. “You can’t be pretty boys all the time.”

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Karl Dorrell on Brendon Lewis: “His teammates all rally behind him. They all believe in him”

From the Daily Camera … A second-year freshman, Lewis has completed 55.4% of his passes (31-of-56) for 246 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He’s also struggled with his reads and finding open receivers.

“It’s kind of all-encompassing, right now,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said of the issues on offense. “Unfortunately, he’s the one that has the microscope on him and that’s what people are seeing. It’s unfair to him and we all talked about that, and he understands it. But, that’s part of the big boy business of being a quarterback, right?”

It is, but Dorrell and the Buffs are trying to help the 19-year-old Lewis through it as he hears a new level of criticism.

“These guys are young kids, and they haven’t been criticized or had the microscope on them as much as it’s been right now at this level,” Dorrell said. “He’s a tough kid, he’s a fighter. He wants to do so well for his teammates, and his teammates, regardless of what you’re hearing from the outside, his teammates all rally behind him. They all believe in him. They all know what his capabilities are, so they’re very, very encouraging with him.

“You have fans that pay to come watch us play, and if we don’t play well, then they’re gonna point at me, they’re gonna point at whatever area that’s not doing well. We’ve got to take it as men and that’s part of the grown-up part of this business. It is unfortunate for a young player, but he’ll grow from it. He’ll learn from it. … There’s really no easy way to deal with it.”

… Continue reading story here …

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September 20th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Quotes from Karl Dorrell’s Monday press conference 

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado coach Karl Dorrell didn’t bring a magic wand to his weekly press conference Monday and erase last weekend’s 30-0 loss to Minnesota.

Neither did Dorrell announce any major shakeups in his staff, depth chart or coaching responsibilities.

Rather, Dorrell and his Buffaloes simply returned to work Monday morning to begin their preparations for Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. (MT) matchup in Tempe, Ariz., with Arizona State (ESPNU).

Still, Dorrell did note there would be some changes in the Buffaloes’ operations this week, as well as what might be termed a “refocus” on some offensive priorities.

Some noteworthy developments:

— Dorrell said he will begin taking a more hands-on approach with the offense, which produced some historically poor numbers in the loss to the Gophers.

“I’m going to show my face in the offensive room a little bit more now,” he said. “I’n going to try to help the process and be a helping hand to how that whole situation works. We think we’re off to a good start.

Virtually all of Dorrell’s career has been spent on the offensive side of the ball, serving as either wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator at his coaching stops.

But Dorrell stressed that doesn’t mean he will shake up gameday duties for his staff.

“It will not affect the gameday operation,” Dorrell said. “But I’ve been in a number of systems in my career and I’ve seej a lot of football. I have a feel of what I think our team can be better at … I’m just overseeing it, making sure we’re doing a systematic approach.”

— Dorrell stressed that it is up to him and his staff to make sure CU players are being coached correctly.

“The first thing I think about is that we’re not doing something effectively enough for these guys to perform,” he said. “It really comes down to we have to get our players ready to perform.”

Dorrell said he was pleased with Monday’s practice. Players hit the field with enthusiasm and appeared ready to learn from Saturday and translate those lessons into a much more solid performance against ASU.

“Its not a question of whether the guys are playing hard,” he said. “It’s more the efficiency and the execution of what needs to be done. The effort is there. Now we have to clean it up and really be more demanding of what we do. I thought today they showed a lot of excitement about doing things right.”

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Tweets from Brian Howell at the Daily Camera … HC Karl Dorrell: “Sometimes it takes something like that to get the wake-up call you need. Their body of work up until this point has been pretty solid.”

Dorrell said Na’im Rodman (shoulder) should be OK and OT Max Wray is “in protocol”

Karl Dorrell said DB Chris Miller is out for the year with an injury he sustained Saturday vs. Minnesota

Karl Dorrell said no changes to staff or duties, but he will be in offensive meetings more often. Also said the #cubuffs will give backup QB Drew Carter more reps going forward.

Dorrell: “I get where the fans are and I am disappointed. It is not a good look for us. I was able to wake up Sunday and get back to work.”

Colorado HC Karl Dorrell said DL Mustafa Johnson will be eligible to play next week against USC

Dorrell said OL Colby Pursell was a game time decision not to play against Minnesota. He had worked with the first-team offense all week.

Dorrell on Brendon Lewis’ morale: “He is a very competitive kid. As you can imagine, he wants to play better. We went through the tape and dissected all of the information. He knows the expectations are always going to be high. But he doesn’t lack any confidence.”

Kickoff time set for CU home game v. USC

From a tweet from Brian Howell at the Daily Camera … Noon MT kickoff for Colorado vs. USC on Oct. 2 in Boulder 

Full Pac-12 schedule for October 2nd …

USC at Colorado – noon MT – PAC 12 Network

Oregon at Stanford – 1:30 MT – ABC

Washington State at Cal – 3:30 MT – PAC 12 Network

Washington at Oregon State – 7:00 MT – PAC 12 Network

Arizona State at UCLA – 8:30 MT – FS1

Gut-check time for Buffs: “We’ll see who really wants to play”

From the Daily Camera … It’s gut-check time for the Colorado Buffaloes.

Saturday’s 30-0 loss to Minnesota at Folsom Field left head coach Karl Dorrell searching for answers and players looking inward.

“I would just say individually everyone just has to grow up handle business next week,” left guard Kary Kutsch said.

A couple of minutes later, when asked how important leadership will be this week, as the Buffs (1-2) prepare to visit Arizona State (2-1), Kutsch said: “Just come back and respond, see who really wants to play.”

… While Dorrell tries to find solutions on offense, the players will do their part in trying to right the ship.

“You’ve just got to look yourself in the mirror as a man to see you got out-physicaled,” outside linebacker Carson Wells said. “Come back tomorrow with a better mindset and get ready to work again.

“It was definitely a tough loss, but we start Pac-12 play this week, so we’ve got to get the team together and focus on this next week and go 1-0 each week.”

When Dorrell was a freshman receiver at UCLA in 1983, the Bruins started 0-3-1, including a 42-10 loss to top-ranked Nebraska. In their fifth game, they went to Stanford and beat the Cardinal, 39-21. That win completely changed the season.

“We ended up winning the conference,” Dorrell said in recalling a team that finished 7-4-1, including a 45-9 win against No. 4 Illinois in the Rose Bowl. “So there’s always hope. I’m not going to paint a picture of there’s no chance for anything because I’ve lived it. There are chances. We’ve got to get to work, though.

“I think right now there’s a sense of urgency that needs to be done as the coaching staff and players about really looking ourselves in the mirror and say that we need to get these things done right for us to be the caliber of team we need to be.”

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September 19th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Neill Woelk’s Five Takeaways: Yes, the Offense needs a Reboot

From CUBuffs.com … Anybody and everybody who watched, read or listened to Colorado coach Karl Dorrell‘s postgame comments Saturday in the wake of the Buffaloes’ 30-0 beatdown at the hands of Minnesota heard this:

“Offensively, we’re struggling in a number of areas. It’s not just the quarterback. It’s protection, it’s run game, it’s receivers, it’s (running) backs, it’s everything. It’s one of those things where we’re going to have to wipe the slate clean and start all over.”

Judging from online reaction, nobody was ready to jump up and disagree with Dorrell. The Buffs’ numbers Saturday sent researchers scurrying to the record books to find how it ranked in terms of all-time offensive futility and the answers weren’t positive.

We won’t rehash all the details, but safe to say Saturday’s final offensive totals found a home in CU’s all-time bottom 10 in terms of both overall and rushing yardage.

But we’re not here today to rekindle the fires of Saturday’s disappointment. That won’t change what has already happened.

Rather, we’re here to encourage you to take a deep breath — and not forget the Buffs have bounced back before from similarly disheartening performances in the past.

We were reminded Saturday of a game in the not-too-distant past that carried more than a few similarities to the loss to the Gophers.

Matched at home against a solid opponent from another major conference, the Buffs ran for a grand total of 37 yards on 35 carries and completed just two passes (with one interception) for 24 yards, leaving them with 61 yards total offense. Meanwhile, they gave up 181 on the ground and 244 in the air, all of which added up to a 40-3 loss to USC in 2002.

It was a shellacking in every regard and CU supporters were grumbling in a big way a day later — even though Gary Barnett’s team was coming off a Big 12 championship season.

There are, of course, a few qualifiers. The Trojans came into the game ranked 17th in the nation in that 2002 game while Saturday’s CU opponent, the Gophers, were unranked. But on the flip side, the Buffs were the No. 18 team in the polls heading into that USC game, suggesting an even matchup — which is what most folks expected from Saturday’s Colorado-Minnesota affair.

But what the Buffaloes did one week after that 2002 loss to USC — which came two weeks after a loss to Colorado State — might be one of the more impressive turnarounds in CU history. With Barnett insisting his 1-2 team would not fold up the tents early in the season (and a certain local columnist proving to be quite skeptical), he took the Buffs on the road and dominated 20th ranked UCLA in a 31-17 victory in the Rose Bowl. It was a crucial moment in a 9-5, Big 12 North title season.

Not to guarantee — or even suggest — that history will repeat itself next weekend when Dorrell takes the 1-2 Buffs on the road for a meeting with Arizona State. Similar circumstances by no means guarantee similar outcomes.

But the history lesson does serve as a reminder that early season performances — no matter how bad — are not always accurate predictors of future results.

Simply, the Buffs have nine games remaining in a Pac-12 that has been anything but consistent. There’s still time to carve out some success.

Our other takeaways from Saturday:

1. Yes, the offense needs a reboot. We’ll start with the obvious. It’s  hard to argue with Dorrell’s assessment. From the quarterback to the running backs, wide receivers and O-line — and play selection — Colorado must wipe the slate clean, get back to the basics and find some way to produce a little consistency.

That means finding a way to put your quarterback in situations that offer a chance for success, rediscovering a run game that was solid all of last year (and for a half against Texas A&M) and utilizing the speed and skill CU has on the outside.

It also means making changes wherever necessary, be it personnel or coaching assignments. Dorrell said he would look at every angle, and you can bet he is following through on that.

No doubt, performing a reboot in one week won’t be easy. But it won’t be a matter of starting completely from scratch. CU coaches know their personnel, know their strengths (and weaknesses) and it’s not unfathomable to think they can put together a plan that can turn this thing around.

Speaking of coaches …

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Buffs open as two-touchdown underdogs to Arizona State

… Not sure which is more surprising … how low the line is … or that there are only two Pac-12 lines which are lower … 

From vegasinsider.com

– Colorado (+13) at Arizona State … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPNU
– No. 24 UCLA (-4) at Stanford … 4:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
– Oregon State (+13) at USC … 8:30 p.m., MT, FS1
– California (+7) at Washington … 7:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
– Arizona (+27) at No. 3 Oregon … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN
– Washington State (+14) at Utah … 12:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

Pat Rooney: No one wants to hit the panic button (yet)

From the Daily Camera … Despite an almost unwatchable first half turned in by the Colorado offense, the game still very much was in the balance when quarterback Brendon Lewis ducked under center for the first time after halftime.

On the first play of the third quarter, Lewis did what he does best, executing a bootleg play to connect with Brenden Rice for an 11-yard gain on first down.

Sadly, it took that long for the Buffaloes to call a play in Lewis’ wheelhouse. Even more embarrassing is that play matched the Buffs’ longest play of the day until the waning moments of a dismal, utterly forgettable 30-0 loss to Minnesota at Folsom Field.

No one wants to hit the panic button three games into any football season, and certainly panic shouldn’t be the decisive emotion in spurring whatever comes next. Yet with the Pac-12 Conference opener next in line, Saturday’s effort confirmed the CU offense — from Darrin Chiaverini making the play calls to Lewis’ expectations to the guys blocking ahead of him — no longer requires tweaking and adjustments. The Buffs need a complete offensive overhaul because based on what was on display against the Gophers, anything less might lead to an 0-11 season against FBS-level foes.

Continue reading story here

Buff defense worn down late – Carson Wells: “We didn’t play as well as we should have”

From CUBuffs.com … While the Colorado offense’s struggles were the headline issue for the Buffaloes in their 30-0 loss to Minnesota on Saturday, the defense was not quite as crisp as it had been a week previously against Texas A&M.

The Buffs defense did play reasonably well in the first half, holding Minnesota to 13 points. But as CU’s offense continued to be unable to move the ball, the defense became more and more tired and the Gophers’ punishing ground game took its toll down the stretch.

“There were probably issues on both sides of the coin,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “I felt defensively we hung in there at times. (But) we still missed a lot of tackles and we weren’t getting guys down. So they were moving the ball and sustaining some drives and I do think because of the offensive inefficiencies, too, that creates a level of tiredness for the defense. So, it’s a little bit that they didn’t play as well as we expected and I think the offense compounded that too.”

The Gophers didn’t throw any new wrinkles at the Buffs. Colorado expected Minnesota to attempt to establish a run-first attack, and that’s exactly what happened.

Still, Colorado did keep the game within striking distance for a half, as the Gophers led just 13-0 at intermission.

But when CU’s offensive struggles continued through the third quarter — compounded by a pair of Buffs turnovers — the Gophers pushed their lead to 23-0 midway through the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Colorado did receive another solid performance from linebacker Nate Landman, who was in on 13 tackles (10 solo), including three for loss. Fellow ‘backers Guy Thomas and Quinn Perry were each in on 10 tackles.

But unlike last week against A&M, the Buffs couldn’t control the line of scrimmage and Minnesota’s rushing attack slowly but steadily wore the Buffs down.

“We didn’t play as well as we should have,” said defensive end Carson Wells. “You have to look at yourself in the mirror as a man and you have to physically come back tomorrow with a better mindset and get ready to work again.”

Continue reading story here

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46 Replies to “Colorado Daily – ASU”

  1. GAME DAY
    Errrrrrrrrrrrrrr game night……………………….last game of the day in the whole country.

    Is this like being the last guy in the NFL draft? Ya, maybe it is.
    Just call em Brady Buffs…………………
    A new deal with a new feel.

    Go Buffs………………………Get lucky please.

    Note: Make or break for Chev. Yup His offensive scheme, and it is his, has wandered into “bad” territory. And that ain’t the “bad to the bone” type. I see it…………..as………..down level……antiquated…………no-scheme-cheve.

    Note 2: The most disturbing item about this thread is that Rooney has two articles in it. Two.

    Note 2: A magnificent wordsmith of your essay Stu. You own him.

  2. I’m disappointed you posted Rooney’s article, Stuart. Its nothing more than piling on.
    I’m also pretty much done with the buffzone anyway. I dont expect them to be homers but I would expect something a little deeper than what they offer besides interviews, which are always canned and a constant repeat of stats. Howell will never emerge from a tightly wrapped box and Rooney? pretty much the opposite of a homer.
    Sad to say but the “Husker Extra” puts the buffzone in the popcorn machine. Maybe if the Buffs get back to winning ways the fans will demand more from the hometown cage liner.

  3. Wanna help get the run game going?
    The first O play against ASU should be a play action pass.
    I know its a really HUUUUUGE risk….right? (thats sarcasm. …..for at least one very regular poster)

      1. It is good to be able to read free stuff by a person who posts it on twitter.

        You should try it.

        Sometimes it is ahead of the game

        Buffarooski

    1. Wow
      serious picture of desperation, death throes and despair. After coming up just short of a description of Buff fans putting a gun to their heads he says something like “a bright future could exist….”
      If it wasnt for the competent writing style it could be an earache piece.
      you know
      whiplash, bait and switch, hedge your bet and heavy dose of “this but that”
      Desperate times call for, if not envision, desperate measures.
      Maybe not just fire Chev, Langsdorf and everyone else who has any input in the offense but forfeit the next game by not showing up so you can have 2 full weeks to install something that actually looks like an offense run by someone who knows how to operate one.
      But
      as long as I m fantasizing here maybe this is just a strategy HCKD picked up in a pool room or the Hustler movie. Set em up with this incredibly inept picture of a loss and then when the money is on the conference table…run it.
      Delirium is a little bit better than putting a gun to your head.

      1. Bingo!

        You win again.

        I was laughing my arse off?

        I’m thinking twins separated at birth

        Maybe he will enlist him to write his

        I don’t like the real mac editoral.

        Anyway, it will be interesting to see what the Buffs offense offers up this week.

        Buffs

        Note: You have wild ideas. Shroom type.

  4. Yo Stuart & Darrin Chiaverini,

    Bad games are awful and sometimes show up at the most unexpected times. I get that. $h!t happens. I posted earlier about watching the 40-3 beatdown handed to the Buffs in 2002 by USC at Folsom Field. I still remember how ticked off I was during and after the game. But it took some research to remember that the following two weeks that the Buffs went into the Rose Bowl and beat a ranked UCLA squad and then defeated #13 Kansas State back here in Boulder. The Buffs ended up winning the Big 12 North that season.

    What’s the point? A bad game does not have to define a season. It’s time for Colorado to pull together and go on the road and defeat Arizona State. It would turn the season around instantly.

    Our “problem” with our quarterback is really more of a problem with our play calling. Two of my very favorite quarterbacks were Darian Hagan and Koy Detmer. Both were great QB’s in their own right. However, no one in their right mind would think their skill-sets were the same. You would not ever expect Detmer to run a wishbone option, and would have destroyed his talents, along with his body and brain, to try.

    By the same token, having Hagan sit in the pocket working through his reads would never have worked. What made Hagan so dangerous was his feet and his ability to improvise on the run. Who else pitches the ball 30 yards downfield?

    Mr. Offensive Coordinator, you need to know who is running your offense and cater your calls to his skills and abilities. Period. It doesn’t matter if you WISH that you hat Peyton Manning back in shotgun, the fact of the matter is that you don’t. You gotta play the cards that you have in your hand. If you ignore the skills of the guy running your offense, your offensive output will continue to look like it has for the last seven quarters.

    Please don’t do that to young Mr. Lewis and the rest of the Colorado Buffaloes and their fans. It’s not fair to them or us. Give Brendon the opportunity to show what he can do. Give your team the best chance to win.

    Mark / Boulderdevil

  5. Knowing the type of man HCKD is and has been over his years of coaching…he would never humiliate a player or coach. He has always been understated. When he says he’s peeking into the offense meetings, I would lay a bet that he’s had some tough conversations with all the offensive coaches. (Pun intended). I still feel they will be let go at the end of the season and should be but HCKD will do it in a respectful manner. He will always deflect so as to to harm a persons character. This is who he is and I respect that!

  6. #1 characteristic of effective leaders: decisiveness. Make the big, hard calls. KD’s comment: going to look in the O room a bit more. I was pro Dorrell hire but I sure hope this isn’t a preview of things to come in the form of tweaking the little things and inability/avoiding to do the big things. Maybe there is some real change going on behind the scenes and these words. Let’s see what Saturday looks like.

    1. I concur. If all we can do is make small changes then we are in for it. Now, if KD is waiting for the end of the year for staff I get that but we better see some changes in execution and in plan on Saturday. Or this is going to be a long friggin year.

    2. As I stated earlier, HCKD was totally shocked by the offensive failure. His words are the camouflage for what is happening and what will happen. Recall he gives players second and third chances. Same with coaches eh?

      This week is chevs what 2nd…. third chance? We will see. But believe it HCKD will not stand for another disaster.

      Buffalo Up Chev

      1. Chiv has had two stints as an OC, both less than impressive.
        He also undermined the program with openily capmaigning for the HC job last year.
        He has quit recruiting over the past 2 years to focus on OC.
        He is unqualified, overpaid and a liability when he pouts.

        How many more chances does a guy need ? HCKD, RG and LC ARE standing for another disaster by not making a change already.

  7. Remember the 2013 Broncos in the super bowl? Great team, but a snap over the head of Manning to start the game was an omen and set the sad tone for the rest of the game. Broncos did score 8 points, but their offense was astonishingly inept that day — almost as if the Seahawks knew every play that was coming. That performance was the thought I had as the first Buffs snap sailed through Lewis’ hands on Saturday (followed by me whispering nope ain’t gonna happen… nope ain’t gonna happen…). My point is even really good teams lay a turd sometimes. The Buffs probably more than many. The Broncos could go back to the drawing board over the offseason. The Buffs needing a significant change mid season is a lot harder.

    I’m just a couch jocky, so what do I know. I think HCKD will change things. Pretty coy today with the press, probably a good idea. We joke but a triple option or loading up the line like Minnesota did might actually work. Lewis definitely needs more RPO and movement of the pocket, I’m not sure why they haven’t done that consistently all along. I also like Carter, he has a lively arm. If D loads the box and dare him to throw, I think he might pull some of it off.

    1. Elway should’ve fired Fox immediately after that debacle. HCKD is never gonna throw any coach or player under the bus in public. I’m guessing he wasn’t as charitable behind closed doors.

  8. A top 10 worst performance by buffs since 1890, a program with a 714–517–36 record……. after 20 years of bad football. And no changes to OC staff or duties?
    They don’t care. Simple as that.

  9. When asked about any staff changes or qb changes..NOT YET
    Answer………..on staff?

    Total deflection on staff
    We got a plan, we working hard, we on schedule

    Go Buffs

    Note: I am convinced he was totally shocked, shocked I tell you, at the offensive disaster. He never saw it coming. He is now totally embarrassed. I mean totally. Gonna spend more time in the offensive staff meetings. HCKD is a good man. He trusted Chev could do it and gave Chev complete and total control offense! He got burned.

    Note 2: WATCH

    1. Wait, mac, a defensive minded coach, was a total micromanager of the offense, and dorrell, an offensive minded coach who has said he would put his stamp on it, was totally absent?

      Damn. The shrooms must be good.

      I just hope they know more than we do. And can translate it to the field. Somehow.

      Go Buffs

      1. Leadership.

        Ya got to know yur limitations

        Mac stuck his nose in where he had no experience. He wanted his son to be the lead reciever.

        HCKD delegates. Puts his trust in coaches.

        Burned

        Buffs

        1. I think in both cases, their top priorities are winning games. Not routes for their kids (nor jobs; Karl’s is in the program too, just not on the field – but he did follow him to Vandy, if I recall). No conspiracies. They’re all trying to win games. It’s just not that easy. Or you and I would be there doing it.

          I do agree, Karl’s not the guy to publicly trash anyone. And his wheels are turning. Which ways? We’ll find out.

          Go Buffs

          1. Yup,
            HCKD has his son helping administratively
            George had his son playing on the team.

            big difference

            Buffs.

            Note: HCKD has won as many conference games in a short year as george did in 3 years.

  10. cu vs usc at noon on pac twelve network? Ugh. The most dreaded and ignored timeslot you can get. reap what you sow i guess

      1. Better than ESPNU for the ASU game I guess. Or maybe I just happen to be one of the only people to get PAC12N but not ESPNU?

        1. Well i got this deal with comcast
          $10 per month
          all the espn channels
          pac 12
          sec
          big ten
          nfl
          fox sports
          nbc sports
          cbs sports

          It’s sweet

  11. Longtime Buff fan here. I don’t know how to solve our offense, but I do know how to solve having to root for a losing football team year in and year out.

    My friend Hobart, a fellow Buff fan, had a great suggestion, “Let’s get all the Buff fans who are sick of losing to start rooting for Hobart College (not named after him). They’re 3-0. They know how to put a winning program together because we don’t.”

    So, what do you say, want to root for a winner? Let’s all go root for the Statesman of Hobart College. Maybe if we do, CU will realize that losing isn’t a good tradition. Go Statesman!! https://hwsathletics.com/sports/football/schedule/2021

  12. Rather than focus on the past years the moribund offense under Chev we can easily explain the Buff’s problems on O and QB by looking at Clemson and a couple of NFL teams.
    Seriously?
    and of course an entire litany of “this but that” to go along with it.
    So Langsdorf said “we need drew to get there quickly.” If nothing else changes Drew may have to be Trevor Lawrence to save Langsdorf (and Chev’s) job. Maybe we should get Langsdorf (and Chev) out of there quickly instead.

    1. You seem to miss the point again. To reiterate, if coaching g were the driver of success more than execution of the plays by the players, why is clemson’s offense now struggling? Same coaches. No longer a generational talent at qb seems a likely answer.

      Go Buffs

    2. From espn: they cover clemson’s woes in more detail than I have, but ultimately illustrate the same point:

      https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/32245238/all-lost-clemson-notre-dame-pac-12-here-your-latest-dose-reality-week-3

      As to our Buffs, dorrell said he wants to get the ground game going like against unc and first half against atm. Ok. Better have a plan to do that when the other team has zero worries about defending our passing game.

      Go Buffs.

  13. Woellk’s article mentioning the injury troubles the offensive line has is illuminating. I thought i saw Wray go down early but from the stands it’s hard to tell (especially in the brutal sun).

    The oline was awful and has bad depth. Can’t run with no oline and no passing threat. Can’t pass with no oline and no running threat.

    Hope they get healthy fast

    1. I think Pursell not being in there was big. But still. 63 yards of total offense is pretty bad. Hopefully he’s back to full strength Saturday night.

      Go Buffs

  14. Wonder how the big “go back to ground zero” evaluation is going.
    New offensive style? Wait the current style is already offensive!
    RPO bonanza, Roll out and roll out some more, unpredictable (run when pass-pass when run) throw deep every play (Those three yard passes and those caught before the line to gain on 3rd down have got to disappear)
    Which QB starts? Gotta be Brendan………keep him focused…………if he can’t do it (decide early) then bring in the young guy (Fact remains chev’s offense plan/play calling has been a disaster

    Buffs

    Note: Been a long weekend for the coaches and even longer for some.
    Note 2: Chev ain’t no quitter but…………………………

    New OC……….responsiblities for someone?
    Same OC but new play caller?
    No changes?

  15. Trying to find more hope this Monday morning…

    Vk asked recently why I often point to other programs as we discuss our Buffs. I find it instructive to look at things from a broader perspective.

    So, let’s again look at Clemson. Without their generational talent at QB, along w/ some other key pieces, but with the same offensive staff that’s been together for a very, very long time, their offense is suddenly struggling. Maybe even pedestrian. And, allegedly, based on star ratings, that’s with a QB who was projected as another top prospect, who actually started a few games last year.

    So what happened? Did that staff, their offense and game planning suddenly suck? Did they coach the kid differently than they had been? Did they somehow hamstring him, or not design their offense to his talents, that they’d had like 18+ months to evaluate?

    I don’t have the answers to those questions. But, my sense is they would each be a fairly resounding “no”.

    So, does that mean that the kid is a bust? Or that he cannot handle the speed of the game? Most likely, that’s a softer “no” as well. He’s on a learning curve. Progressing along that curve is as much up to him as his coaches to “lead him to water” as our staff has become fond of saying.

    I’m not writing off Brendon, nor this staff. I do think we’ll see how Drew looks Saturday. Probably in a starting role, unless they really feel he’s not ready – which would give me a bit more pause and less optimism. If he can come in, get the ball out on time, stay on schedule and move the chains, I believe that will show at least that it’s not the scheme, calls and game plan. It would, however, leave open the question of why they didn’t tweak it to better suit Brendon’s skills? But, since none of us are seeing every practice and every rep, we’ll never really know.

    I just hope they do.

    Go Buffs. Find a QB. It’s been a while.

    1. Comparing other teams when you can pick and chose is interesting.
      Clemson got beat by Georgia. That’s Georgia 10-3. Bad example by you.
      Clem 178 yards passing 2 yards rushing. Where is the problem. Not at qb. Georgia has a great defense. #3 in the country
      They gave up 135 passing and 121 rushing. They got beat by a great team.
      Back to rolling are they now
      Only beat GT 14-8. GT has the #24 defense in the country

      So I guess what yur saying as u always do and trying to justify that its players 70% and coaches 30%

      Chevs offense has scored 0 points in7 quarters. Started with the 2 qb sneaks in a row.

      Buffs

      Note: and you real mac dissertation is where?

  16. To the Berliner’s point, jamies looked like a stud last week, right?

    Just saw this too from espn:

    Wilson opened the game with as many completed passes to Patriots defenders as Jets receivers, posting a first-half line reading: 3 of 7 for 45 yards and three interceptions. Despite the ugly first half, Wilson and the Jets remained within reach, trailing the Patriots 13-3 at intermission.

    It can be hard going from one level to the next.

    Just trying to find some hope.

    My sense is drew gets the nod this week. May help Brendon to see thing from the sidelines. When Langsdorf said a week ago “we need drew to get there quickly” and added the ol “he’s one play away” he may have been foreshadowing things to come.

    Go Buffs.

  17. So did the team consider the A&M game a moral victory, pat themselves on the back and have a letdown…er better described as a melt down? Did the Gopher coaching staff look at film for CU’s games for the entire period Chev has been the OC and realize they didn’t need a gypsy woman with a scarf on her head and a crystal ball?
    Is all that talk from the players bout looking in the mirror and coming to play just talk. Have they lost confidence and have the coaches lost the team?
    Should we take half Chev’s salary and give it to Bieniemy, his schedule willing, to give a half time zoom talk to the team for the rest of the season?
    Which brings me to “starting with a clean slate.” Where does that fall on the scale between attitude, motivation and actual schematics?
    Inquiring Buff fans want to know and should find out next game.
    The ASU game is the most important game of the season. Buffs win and that will change of course but not only does the team need to win for any chance for the rest of the season but I want to pound the sun cheaters 2 feet under the field, maybe because the NCAA isnt about to do anything or anything at all about anything anymore.
    After watching the ASU/BYU game there is a chance. Sun Devil players didn’t look very synchronized. That chance will depend on what is left on the slate from past configurations.

    1. Mornin’. All fair questions. Others are, was A&M completely sleeping on our Buffs? Possibly. Is A&M not as good as advertised? Possibly, but seems less likely, given their talent and returning players. But, we’ll see more on that as the season unfolds. QBs, although new, probably also a higher caliber than ours. Did our Buffs maybe just play the game of their lives that day (on D at least, we know the O didn’t)?

      But, like you said, this Saturday feels like a make or break game for the season. That’s probably a little extreme, but a win would sure do a lot more than another loss. Especially if the loss is the offensive – see what I did there? of course you did – disaster that we’ve seen so far; including against UNC.

      Go Buffs. Storm the desert and get a win.

  18. Hey new week
    Hangover over

    Going forward?………….Going nowhere?………….Going backward?

    We will see what we will see

    STILLHOPINGTHEBOLDERBUFFSBEBOWLBOUND

    Up the Buff Offense

    Note: The N.O. Saints had 126 yards total offense yesterday so there is that

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