Colorado Daily – Oregon State Week

November 6th – Game Day!

… CU in a few minutes … 

CU v. Oregon State Storylines

From the Daily Camera

5 Players to Watch

  • RB B.J. Baylor: Leads the Pac-12 and ranks 12th nationally with 109 rushing yards per game (872 yards). He’s also scored 10 touchdowns, posting 6.7 yards per carry.
  • WR Trevon Bradford: The Beavers’ leading receiver has caught 27 passes for 402 yards and three touchdowns. He is also the punt returner, averaging 9.2 yards on returns.
  • QB Chance Nolan: Leads the Pac-12 in passing efficiency (156.1). He’s completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,504 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s also rushed for 206 yards.
  • LB Avery Roberts: Among the top defenders in the conference this year. He’s racked up 90 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also has an interception and two pass breakups.
  • CB Rejzohn Wright: He has recorded 33 tackles and seven pass breakups. He also has a sack and an interception.

Oregon State offense: It all starts with the run game, which is led by junior B.J. Baylor. He’s topped the 100-yard mark four times this season and he has three runs of 50 yards or more. Deshaun Fenwick and Trey Lowe have also played well when they got opportunities to run. To complement the run game, Chance Nolan leads the Pac-12 in pass efficiency rating. “They have some imposing challenges because they can run the ball in every personnel group pretty effectively,” Dorrell said. “I would say their best attribute is that they have that balance. They can run the football and they have certain countermeasures off of those run actions to make a defense try to defend both the play-action game and the run game.”

Oregon State defense: The Beavers have struggled at times on defense, as they rank last in the Pac-12 in yards allowed (407.0) and eights in points allowed (26.5). They’ve allowed at least 30 points in the last three games. They have been good against the run, however, and feature some good individual players, including linebacker Avery Roberts. “They do a good job, play really hard,” CU interim offensive line coach William Vlachos said. “It’s an attacking defense. You don’t exactly know what they’re going to be, so you’ve got to have sound rules that everybody can execute to be able to play fast. It’ll be a challenge.”

Beavers notables

  • Linebacker Jack Colletto was the starting quarterback during the Beavers’ 41-34 win against CU in 2018. He was benched but had two rushing touchdowns – including the game-winner – that day. He now plays on both sides of the ball. He’s played linebacker (five tackles, one interception) and is used in short-yardage situations on offense (5 rushing TDs, one receiving TD).
  • The Beavers are seeking bowl eligibility for the first time since 2013 when they went 7-6. They have the longest bowl drought in the Pac-12, as every other team has been to at least one bowl since 2017.
  • Running back B.J. Baylor needs 128 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the season. He’s trying to become just the second Beaver to reach the 1,000-yard mark since the conference expanded to 12 teams in 2011. Jermar Jefferson (1,380 yards in 2018) is the only OSU player to hit that mark since 2011.
  • The Beavers have 10 interceptions this season, the most by an OSU defense 11 in 2014. Nine different players have intercepted at least one pass. Linebacker Omar Speights leads the way with two. OSU also leads the Pac-12 with 48 passes defended.
  • On third downs, the Beavers have been the Pac-12’s best on offense (53.19%) and the worst on defense (51.64%).

Continue reading story here


November 5th

… CU in a few minutes … 

November will be a telling month for the Buffs 

From the Daily Camera … Technically, CU could still get to the postseason, but that would require a four-game winning streak – something the Buffs have done just once in the previous 18 years.

The goal for this CU team is simply to finish the season on a high note and build some momentum going into 2022.

“Right now we need to play full team football,” safety Isaiah Lewis said. “All three aspects of the game of our team need to be full-go. I know we will execute the way we’re supposed to. Special teams has been dominant all year, defense has been doing really well and then offense I feel like they found their spark so I’m excited to see these next four games and how we come out there and compete.”

Eight games into the season, the Buffs haven’t displayed the ability to put it all together.

As Lewis said, the special teams unit has been somewhat special this season. After a slow start, the kicking game might be the most reliable aspect of the Buffs’ team.

Defensively, there have been good moments, but All-American candidate Nate Landman missed last week’s game with an injury and is likely to miss Saturday’s game against Oregon State. Without him last week, the Buffs looked lost in a 52-29 loss at No. 7 Oregon.

It’s unclear if Landman will return this season, and since he’s a senior, it’s possible that he won’t play for CU again. November is an opportunity for CU’s young defenders to prove they can stop opponents without Landman.

“That was talked about quite a bit (on Monday),” Dorrell said. “They know that one guy doesn’t make a defense.”

He does make a big difference, though, and the Buffs have to use November to develop others for the future.

On offense, it’s a big month for freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis. He played well at Oregon last week but has struggled throughout the season. This month could tell CU coaches a lot about Lewis’ ability to lead the offense in the future.

Continue reading story here

**Video: CU Hall of Fame speeches of Chris Brown, Chris Naeole, and Mickey Pruitt**

From BuffsTV …

Running back Chris Brown

Offensive lineman Chris Naeole …

Defensive back Mickey Pruitt …

Neill Woelk’s Keys to Victory over Oregon State

From … Colorado coach Karl Dorrell summed up what has been a frustrating season so far for the Buffaloes earlier this week in one simple sentence:

“We’re getting bits and pieces of some really good performances and we just have to put it all together.”

Indeed, for myriad reasons, the Buffs have seldom — twice, actually — managed to meld together solid efforts from their offense, defense and special teams in the same game.

Those two instances, of course, resulted in victories — an opening 35-7 win over Northern Colorado and a 34-0 win over Arizona in mid-October.

Otherwise, the Buffs haven’t been able to put together complete games. They had good defensive efforts against Texas A&M, Minnesota and Arizona State (before wearing down against the latter two); and their offense has shown flashes of both big-play capability and the ability to put together long, sustained drives (most notably four touchdown marches of 65 yards or longer last week in a loss to Oregon).

But the only week-to-week, consistent efforts have been turned in by CU’s special teams. Colorado’s punting, kicking, return and coverage teams have been well above average all season.

Now, with a 2-6 record (1-4 Pac-12), the Buffs have four more opportunities to put together a string of games in which they play complementary football.

“It’s a critical month that we end up this season playing our best football in all three phases,” Dorrell said.

CU’s next chance at playing that kind of football comes Saturday against Oregon State (5-3, 3-2) in a 5 p.m. matchup at Folsom Field (Pac-12 Network).

The Beavers have thus far this season been a good example of what a patient rebuilding effort can produce. Now in their fourth year under head coach Jonathan Smith, they are on the cusp of ending a streak of losing seasons that reached seven last year and qualifying for their first bowl game since 2013. They already own wins over USC, Washington and Utah, and are still in contention for a Pac-12 North title.

“It will be a good challenge this week for us,” Dorrell said. “They’re a good team.”

Our weekly Fast Five:

1. Stop Oregon State’s run game. Beavers running back B.J. Baylor is quietly putting together one of the best seasons in the nation this year. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound junior leads the Pac-12 with 10 rushing touchdowns and has surpassed the 100-yard mark five times this year, including 158 yards against USC and 152 against Utah.

The Buffs, meanwhile, have struggled against the run recently, especially with linebacker Nate Landman sidelined (he likely won’t be available this week). Three of CU’s last four opponents have rushed for more than 200 yards.

But Colorado has to figure out a way to shore up its run defense without Landman. If the Buffs can contain Baylor and prevent OSU from putting together long, sustained drives, it will force the Beavers to the air.

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November 4th 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Sam Noyer “stoked” to return to Folsom: “It’ll just be good to see the familiar faces”

From the Daily Camera … On Saturday, about five months after he chose to leave CU as a transfer, Sam Noyer will return to Folsom Field as a backup for Oregon State.

“I’m stoked,” he told this week. “I haven’t been back to Boulder since I left in June, so I think just going back to the city of Boulder, the beautiful city of Boulder, and playing in front of Buff Nation and seeing all my buddies and all my former teammates and coaches and even the staff members, I mean, it’ll just be good to see the familiar faces and give them all hugs and catch up a little bit.”

A year ago, he was a fifth-year senior who finally earned the starting job. He ran with the opportunity, leading the Buffs through a COVID-19 pandemic-shortened schedule to go 4-1 in the regular season and earn a trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl. They were routed by Texas, 55-23, but it was just the second bowl appearance for CU in 13 years.

“Absolutely that was one of the craziest seasons, with COVID and everything,” said Noyer, who earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2020. “But the way it turned out and the way it played out, I was very happy with the way that season went – up until the end, obviously.”

Following two consecutive losses to end the campaign, Noyer had shoulder surgery that kept him out of spring practices. That left Shrout, a transfer from Tennessee, and freshman Brendon Lewis competing for the starting job. (Lewis has started every game, but CU’s offense has struggled throughout the campaign.)

… “I felt like I had given CU everything; I had given them all that I’ve got and obviously had some success and struggled at times in my earlier years and moved positions,” he said. “When I opened up my recruitment and Oregon State reached out, it kind of just worked out perfectly with wanting to be closer to home and be on the team with some familiar faces already. But, let me tell you, it was not an easy decision for me to make.

“Ultimately, it was just me kind of wanting a change and wanting to be somewhere where I was needed and wanted. Not that CU wasn’t at all that the way, but I just really felt that the opportunity could arise somewhere else.”

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Marvin Ham ready to replace Nate Landman: “It’s my time”

From the Daily Camera … Throughout his first two seasons at Colorado, and through the first half of this season, linebacker Marvin Ham II figured his opportunities to play on defense would be limited.

“I know I had to wait my time sitting behind a linebacker that’s up for the Butkus Award, so I was just taking my time and watching what he does,” Ham said. “Now it’s my time and it’s time to dominate.”

With senior Nate Landman, named earlier this week as a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, out with an injury, Ham received his most extensive playing time last week against Oregon. Landman isn’t expected to play Saturday when the Buffs (2-6, 1-4 Pac-12) host Oregon State (5-3, 3-2), either, so Ham is likely to once again get an opportunity.

“I’m really excited,” the third-year freshman said. “I mean, shoot, I’ve been waiting two years for this time.

“It’s just a process and a journey. Staying patient staying focused and keeping your head locked in and just knowing that your time is going to come and when it does come just go out there and dominate.”

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November 3rd

… CU in a few minutes … 

AD Rick George talks with Buff Club: “We are going to make the fixes we need to make”

CU Athletic Director Rick George held a zoom meeting with Buff Club members on Wednesday afternoon.

I never took shorthand, but below is a pretty good representation of some of the quotes from the meeting:

— “I am disappointed and frustrated” with the football results. “I appreciate the passion of the fans” … “No one is more disappointed than Karl (Dorrell), the student-athletes and I in the losses”

— “We know what the issues are” (hinting at assistant coaching changes?) … “We will work extremely hard to correct them” … “I have 100% confidence in Karl. He is absolutely the right coach for our program” …

— “I hear your frustrations, but I don’t make decisions based upon social media posts … Negative comments are not helping … This is not great for the mental health of our student athletes … they don’t deserve that … It’s time to rally around our student-athletes … I’ve seen some of the junk I’ve been tagged in … We need your support”

— “Our future is bright … We may need your help to make that happen” (as in covering the cost of buying out contracts of assistant coaches?)

—  Buff Club (without a director) … “We’ll get it stabilized by the end of the year” … “We’ll get an incredible individual with experience in collegiate fundraising”

— Facility needs … Fix the West side of Folsom Field … touch up the East side … improve the aging Events Center, which may include reducing the seating for 11,000 to 9,000 … create a better atmosphere … suites … and getting a corporate sponsor … field for lacrosse … track and field facilities … A plan by January/February with priorities …

— Long term goals … To remain relevant … “We want to win, and we want to win now” …

— Excited about the Alliance … cross-sectional games involving men’s and women’s basketball teams may come as early as next season … Football adjustments may be a few years out, with all of the advance scheduling already in place …

— CU has 380 student-athletes … $13 million in tuition and fees paid to the University … the scholarship program funded by the Buff Club raises $1.5 million per year …

— NIL … NCAA “punted” on setting up guidelines … 60% of NIL deals to date are based on social media, with 50% going to football and basketball … “We’re going to have to be nimble … always try to compete to be relevant” …

— On football coaches … “We will look at everything … We will invest in what we need to do … (If changes are made) the new coaches “will have recruiting experience” … CU has “a lot more bodies” in the Champions Center helping with recruiting … “We know what we need to compete at an elite level” … “We are going to make the fixes we need to make” … “We will do that at the appropriate time”

— On the offensive line coaching search … “Already looking at coaches” … “When the season is over, we’ll attack that” …

— “At the end of the day, we need to win games” … “It’s about money – that’s the reality” (See: “Brother, Can You Spare … A Hundred Million?“) …

— CU hiring a Chief Revenue Officer … The $18 million deficit from last year ($46 million in/$64 million out, after working with a $94 million budget in 2019) … new hire will be looking at corporate sponsorships, naming rights, and more concerts for Folsom Field and the Events Center …

— On football team … Recruiting: “We need to identify right players … How do we make recruiting better? … Attrition: “We’ve made it easy to transfer … Every school will have attrition … We’ll also have the opportunity to bring in the right people to make the team better quicker” …

— On why he has confidence in Karl Dorrell … “Stability … work ethic … character … drive to be successful … He knows football … Certain that he will get this fixed” …

— “Let’s get behind Karl … I am confident he will take us where we need to go” …

… CU in a few minutes … 

**Video: Interim Offensive Line Coach William Vlachos**

From YouTube, courtesy of


Buffs in the NFL: Juwann Winfree posts first career catches

From … On Thursday night, Juwann Winfree showed that he has always been ready for his opportunity. After a hectic week in Green Bay with the Packers losing their top two targets to the COVID-19 list, Winfree was called up from the practice squad. He recorded his first career catch in the Packers electric 24-21 win over the undefeated Arizona Cardinals and finished with four catches on the night for 30 yards. Winfree was Aaron Rodgers second-most targeted player on the night apart from running back Aaron Jones.

Here is what happened with all other former CU Buffs across the NFL in week eight.

Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Cincinnati Bengals
Awuzie had seven total tackles, one tackle for loss and had one pass deflected in the Bengals shocking 34-31 loss to the New York Jets.

Ken Crawley, CB, New Orleans Saints
Crawley was designated to return from the IR this week but was then placed on the COVID-19 list Wednesday. He is expected to return for his season debut Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Mason Crosby, K, Green Bay Packers
Crosby made his one field goal attempt for 21 yards and was 3-for-3 on PATs in the Packers win over the Cardinals.

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Houston Texans
Lindsay had three carries for eight yards in the Texans 38-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Laviska Shenault Jr. WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Shenault had two receptions for 13 yards and one rush for eight yards in the Jaguars 31-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Nate Solder, OT, New York Giants
For the second week in a row Solder played in all offensive snaps for the Giants in their 20-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football.

Davion Taylor, LB, Philadelphia Eagles
Taylor had five tackles and played in a career high 63% of defensive snaps in the Eagles 44-6 blowout win over the Detroit Lions.

Josh Tupou, DT, Cincinnati Bengals
Tupou had one tackle in the Bengals 34-31 loss to the New York Jets.

Ahkello Witherspoon (Steelers) did not play against the Bengals. Jimmy Smith (Ravens) had a bye week.

Daniel Munyer (Titans) was activated from IR on Tuesday.  David Bakhtiari (Packers) status is still unclear after he was back practicing with the team following his activation from the PUP list. Isaiah Oliver (Falcons) is on injury reserve.

Kabion Ento (Packers), Arlington Hambright (Bears), Steven Montez (Lions) and William Sherman (Patriots) are all on their team’s practice squads.


November 2nd

… CU in a few minutes … 

Buffs go 4-for-4 on fourth down after being 1-for-8

From the Daily Camera … The calls were made out of necessity, as the Colorado Buffaloes needed touchdowns and as many points as possible in a game that was already out of hand.

Head coach Karl Dorrell’s decisions to go for it on several fourth downs last Saturday were also important for the Buffaloes’ confidence, despite a 52-29 loss to Oregon.

Prior to last week, the Buffs (2-6, 1-4 Pac-12) were the worst team in the country on fourth downs, converting just 12.5 percent of the time (1-for-8). Against the Ducks, however, they were 4-for-4. Two of them went for touchdowns and the other two led to touchdowns.

“It was big, as you can imagine,” Dorrell said. “Talking about it in our huddles and before the plays have been run, there was a lot of confidence that they can achieve what they were setting our goals to achieve in those situations. And it was fun to see that they were into it.”

… The offense, in general, got a boost of confidence with the performance against the Ducks, but those fourth conversions were essential to that.

“They were into it and they understood it was one of those must-make opportunities,” Dorrell said. “And  they made all of them, so it’s definitely a big confidence boost.”

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Shorter, quicker passes aiding in the development of Brendon Lewis

From the Daily Camera … There’s no question that a better performance from the offensive line played a role in Lewis’ improved play, but even when he was flushed from the pocket, he made more plays than usual. And, he was sacked just one time.

A few times he scrambled and found tight end Brady Russell for a completion. In the fourth quarter, he was chased from the pocket and found Deion Smith for a short pass that Smith turned into a 10-yard gain – a play that helped set up the Buffs’ final touchdown.

Throughout the game, Lewis hit running backs on screens, he hit tight ends for passes and he connected with multiple receivers. He often delivered the ball on time and wound up with a really nice statistical line: 25-of-33 for 224 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.

“I think he’s always had the confidence,” running back Alex Fontenot said. “He just hadn’t put it together fully. This game definitely proved what he can do in the passing game.”

Credit goes to offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini and the coaching staff, too, who put together a different type of game plan for Lewis, giving him opportunities to succeed. They drew up a plan that allowed Lewis to get rid of the ball quicker and two numbers from Pro Football Focus show CU’s emphasis on those short, quick passes:

  • On average, Lewis’ receiving targets were 4.2 yards downfield – the lowest number of the season. The previous low was 5.8, and his average is 6.9.
  • Also, Lewis’ average time to throw was 2.91 seconds. The only other time this season he was under 3 seconds was against Texas A&M (2.65).

The Buffs threw some new wrinkles into the plan, including some creative ways to open space for receivers. A couple of times, Lewis connected with Rice on slip screens that turned into big gains. There was also more utilization of backs and tight ends. Through the first seven games, CU’s running backs caught a total of 14 passes. On Saturday, they caught eight – the most in a game for CU backs since Oct. 5, 2019, against Arizona. More than half of Lewis’ completions (13 of 25) went to running backs or tight ends.

“It’s never a bad thing,” Fontenot said of the backs catching passes. “We do it all, so yeah. We just had a bunch of new plays installed just to get the ball the right people in space and just work off of that.”

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November 1st

… CU in a few minutes … 

**Video: Karl Dorrell Press Conference**

Head coach Karl Dorrell and offensive lineman Kary Kutsch

Kary Kutsch …  “Some optimism coming into this week … try to keep in rolling … Oregon State plays a 3-4, will have to get after their linebackers … We’re pretty experienced in all playing all different kinds of fronts … It will be good to see Sam (Noyer); We all love Sam … Some new philosophies closer to Coach Kap(ilovic) … We were amped up, because we were moving the ball against Oregon … I’m trying to avoid thinking about (this being his senior year) … Brendon Lewis is a lot more vocal; a lot more into it …”

Head coach Karl Dorrell … “It was unfortunate that we didn’t play as well as we have been defensively … There is a sense of urgency … We had really good meetings today. There is a lot of pride and experience on the defensive side of the ball. It’s important to them to get things shored up … The Oregon game was our most solid performance offensively … We got ourselves into a big deficit, but we stuck with the game plan … Our best offensive line performance … The running backs were resourceful, in the run game, passing game, and protections … Brendon Lewis played well; he took a big step forward … We need to finish November playing our best football … We’re getting some bits and pieces of really good performances … Oregon State is a good team … There’s good energy; our guys know what’s in front of them … The offensive line had their best body of work … A boost of confidence; they’re having fun … Four fourth-down conversions (after going 1-8 to start the season) … We still need to convert on third down … It was fun to see that they were into it; a big confidence boost, for sure … I believe this team has so much more than they can give. The Oregon game gave them a boost of confidence; most of it was good this week … Some of our playmakers are starting to make plays … We need to continue to build on that … We need to improve our communication on defense; Nate Landman is a great leader … that a natural thing for him, but we need other guys to step up … Carson Wells, Mustafa Johnson, Quinn Perry – they need to step up and get everybody on the same page … Mark Perry needs to communicate better … We challenged all of those guys to communicate better … Oregon State is well coached on offense. They can run the ball with every personnel group … They have that balance, to make the defense play the run game and defend against the pass … (Quarterback) Chance Nolan – not a flashy guy, but a very productive guy … Guy Thomas has a lower extremity injury; he’s out … Nate Landman – I call it week-to-week; but I’m not going to put him at risk. He’d play with one arm … but he’s doubtful this week … On the bright side, La’Vontae Shenault is back. He practiced this morning … I’m very appreciative of Sam Noyer and what he has done for us … Oregon State’s defense is similar to ours, in that we both use the 3-4 defense … Definitely a connection between both Brendons, but we want Brendon Lewis to have that confidence that he can throw the ball, wherever his progressions leads him …”

Nate Landman named Butkus Award semi-finalist

From … Senior Nate Landman was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Dick Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, the Butkus Foundation announced Monday.

Landman is having yet another productive season for the Buffaloes.  Despite suffering a torn achilles in the regular season finale last December, he returned full strength for fall camp and hasn’t looked back.  He leads the Buffs with 10.1 tackles per game, six tickles for loss and another nine for no gain, seven third down stops and four pass break-ups.  He also has three quarterback pressures, one forced fumble and a fourth down stop.

Landman is also one of four Pac-12 players on the list and one of five who were also named semifinalists last season.  In the Pac-12, he joins Arizona State’s Darien Butler, Oregon’s Noah Sewell and Utah’s Devin Lloyd.  And he joins Lloyd along with Alabama’s Christian Harris, Georgia’s Nakobe Dean and Rutgers’ Olakunle Fatukasi as players earning semifinalist honors multiple times.

Landman is currently in fifth place and one of six CU players to record 400 career tackles, and his 285 solo stops ranks second in CU history and just eight behind Jordon Dizon’s record of 293.  Should his numbers hold, he will become the first player in CU history to lead the Buffs in tackles four straight seasons and the first to average more than 10 tackles per game four times, as well.

He currently holds the school record for most tackles for zero (36), third down stops (53) and fourth down stops (nine), and ranks sixth for tackles for a loss (40), 32nd in sacks (11) and 35th in pass break-ups (17).

The Buffs host Oregon State this weekend for Homecoming with a 5 p.m. kickoff on Pac-12 Networks.

Kickoff time set for CU at UCLA 

From …

The Colorado at UCLA football game on Saturday, Nov. 13 in Pasadena will kick off at 7:00 p.m. MST and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

The complete list of TV selections that day:

12:00pm MT / 11:00am PT – Utah at Arizona, Pac-12 Network

12:30pm PT – USC at California, FS1

2:30pm PT – Stanford at Oregon State, Pac-12 Network

4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT – Arizona State at Washington, FS1

6:00pm PT / 7:00pm MT – Colorado at UCLA, Pac-12 Network

7:30pm PT – Washington State at Oregon, ESPN

Neill Woelk’s Takeaways from Oregon game 

From … Colorado freshman wide receiver Brenden Rice has recently become more than a little outspoken about the Buffaloes’ efforts — and he’s backed up his end of the bargain by putting together some solid performances.

Rice had maybe his best overall game as a Buff in Saturday’s 52-29 loss at Oregon. He finished with 281 all-purpose yards (102 receiving, 17 rushing and 162 kick returns), the 13th-best mark in Colorado history. His five catches were a career high and he added his second touchdown catch of the season, a 16-yarder from Brendon Lewis.

After the game, Rice was adamant about what remains for the 2-6 Buffs (1-4 Pac-12).

“We’ve got to finish out the season, set the standard for next season,” Rice said. “We still have those four teams to go out and play. We still have to finish all the way through. Utah’s going to bring it, Oregon State’s going to bring it, Washington and UCLA. All the teams are ready to go and we have to make sure that we’re raising the standards and make sure that we’re going to go out there and perform the right way. We need to perform better than what we did today.”

Indeed, with the Buffs’ postseason hopes now officially hanging by the slimmest of threads — they would need to win out to qualify for a bowl bid — Colorado must set its sights on week-to-week improvement.

Our weekly takeaways:

1. CU’s offensive line showed improvement. One week after yielding six sacks and 12 tackles for loss at Cal — a performance that prompted coach Karl Dorrell to dismiss his offensive line coach — the Buffs were significantly better up front.

CU gave up just one sack Saturday, and Lewis had time in the pocket to find receivers. Colorado’s run game also took a step forward, particularly in short-yardage situations. After successfully converting just one fourth-down try in eight attempts in the first seven games, the Buffs were 4-for-4 on fourth down against the Ducks.

Not to suggest that everything has been magically fixed up front. But the changes instituted by interim O-line coach William Vlachos — some such as subtle as slightly wider spacing in some schemes — had a positive effect.

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With the offense showing improvement, now the defense needs fixing

From the Daily Camera … During Wilson’s first season as coordinator, the Buffs have been solid on defense, but they got shredded on Saturday by an explosive Oregon offense. CU hadn’t given up 40 points, let alone 50, in a game all season and ranked among the top defenses in the Pac-12.

Oregon, however, racked up 568 yards – 74 more than anyone else has put on the Buffs – and scored on all eight of its possessions with the first-team offense. Seven of those possessions ended with touchdowns.

“First of all, you’ve got to give those guys a lot of credit,” Wilson said of the Ducks. “They did a great job of executing. They won their one-on-one opportunities and we didn’t.”

One obvious difference for the Buffs was the absence of inside linebacker Nate Landman. The All-American candidate was injured in a 26-3 loss to California on Oct. 23 and it’s unclear if he will return this season.

Head coach Karl Dorrell said Landman, a senior, is feeling better, but the future is a consideration, as well. Landman is hoping to get selected in the NFL Draft next spring and may not want to risk further injury by playing in a season that has derailed for the Buffs.

“We want to do what’s best for Nate,” Dorrell said. “He has a potential career beyond here, so I want to make sure that when he’s ready to play, he’s ready to play.”

At some point – whether that’s now or in 2022 – the Buffs will have to learn how to play without him. In the last four years, they’ve played two games without him – the Alamo Bowl in December and Saturday at Oregon – and the results have been ugly. In those two games, the Buffs have given up 107 points and 1,206 yards.

“We’re going to have to grow,” Dorrell said. “We have to grow up and (have) that next man theory. Nate can’t do everything and I don’t think he would have done everything today. It was a number of issues, I think, on the defensive side that we struggled with that I don’t think Nate would have been able to have been the answer either. So we’ve got to get better there.”

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October 31st 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Offensive Line play improves: “I’ve never seen that out of them all season”

From the Daily Camera … How much difference can a week make?

For Colorado’s offensive line, a lot.

Overall, Saturday wasn’t a great day for the Buffaloes, as they lost at No. 7 Oregon, 52-29, but it was a significant turnaround for the offensive line.

“The O-line was fired up,” receiver Brenden Rice said. “I’ve never seen that out of them all season, so just seeing the change of intensity, we led out with them. They led us out today. They set the example, they set the tone and from that we just bounced off of it. We bounced energy off of them.”

It’s been a while since the Buffs have said that about the line. Coming into this week, the Buffs had allowed a Pac-12-worst 22 sacks and quarterback Brendon Lewis had spent the season scrambling away from defenders.

After a 26-3 loss at California on Oct. 23, when the Buffs allowed six sacks, head coach Karl Dorrell fired offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue. Quality control coach William Vlachos took over as the main coach of the line.

Against the Ducks, who feature dominant defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, CU allowed one sack and Lewis had time most of the day to operate. He completed 25-of-33 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns.

“Coach Vlachos made some changes, some scheme changes, some technique changes, and sometimes explaining things differently,” center Colby Pursell said of the change this week. “We had a lot of work to do and so we had to put in a lot of work in practice and meetings to get things corrected. You always hear the term new energy and that’s true. A different coach brings a different style. Guys respond to it differently and you can see that there was some results today.”

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Brenden Rice posts 13th-highest all-purpose yards total: “He’s showing some big-play potential”

From the Daily Camera … There have been several moments during the past two seasons when Brenden Rice has flashed his big-play potential.

On Saturday, the Colorado freshman had perhaps his most complete game.

Although CU was routed by No. 7 Oregon, 52-29, at Autzen Stadium, Rice racked up 281 all-purpose yards and scored a touchdown. It was the 13th-highest single-game all-purpose yards total in CU history.

“He’s showing some big-play potential,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He’s getting very confident. He’s practicing that way, too. That’s the other thing that’s encouraging when you have young players that are understanding what practice should look like. When they have great practices, it makes a lot better correlation to how it works on Saturdays and he’s starting to understand that formula.”

Rice caught five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, had 162 yards on six kickoff returns and added a 17-yard run. He averaged 23.4 yards per touch.

Two weeks ago, Rice had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career in a 34-0 win against Arizona. Last week, he had a 63-yard kickoff return to set up CU’s only points in a 26-3 loss at Cal.

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26 Replies to “Colorado Daily – Oregon State Week”

  1. The clowns at the Daily Camera are either stupid or just make $h!t up. Howell claims Colorado has had only one 4 game winning streak in 18 years. They won their first four games last season. They also won their first five in 2018. Also won 4 straight in 2016. Is it any wonder no one reads the clueless Camera anymore? They are just as bad as the Post…

  2. By default the Buffs may have risen to being just the 3rd worst team in the conference. I watched the first half of Utah brutalizing Stanford last night. It looked like both Utah lines (D and O) were playing against cardboard cutouts. ……and that is hardly an exaggeration. Even worse than the Buffs against the Ducks and Bears. I dont think Stanford had more than 10 yards of positive offense in the half and the Utah RBs were running so many sprints they had to stop for oxygen.
    I would hate to be Shaw this morning and I aint looking forward to the last game of the season with much optimism. There has been talk of keeping Nate out for the rest of the season to keep him from getting hurt before the draft.

    1. Good link. Thanks for sharing. CU alumni include similar caliber players as UW, or any school (on the wealth-o-meter, business profile/s etc.). Still puzzles me why they seem less involved than those other schools. Maybe that’ll change?

      Go Buffs

  3. c’mon Noyer….gimme a break. What are you trying to do? Get Wells and Johnson to ease up on you?
    You know Smith or Lingering have to give him some plays at some point. Hopefully because the Buffs render their starting QB ineffective

  4. Great interview with Vlachos. Could he be hired as new offensive line coach? Anyone have thoughts? might be a great hire…..We will have more data points as the season plays out….

    1. Yep that is worth watching.
      He is a keeper imo. Player experience, Bama coaching, the way he interviewed I could see players relating to him. Hope he gets the opportunity if he rights the O-line ship
      The sweat stained visor is a good sign…

    2. Hard not to like Vlachos after that interview. We need more time to see, but he does have a confidence to him.

  5. I think rick’s best comments were about recruiting. A lot more people in that department, and more needed. Any new coaches will be good recruiters.

    Go Buffs

  6. We have no choice but to support KD for the next couple of years because he has a large buyout…correct?

    I just hope players like Rice and Gonzalez don’t transfer in the offseason.

    Sorry I’ll try to be more optimistic in the future.


  7. Interesting comments by RG, certainly seems that there is something behind the curtain coming regarding CU football that is not yet in the public realm.
    Maybe not seismic, but identified and after the season…

  8. “Credit goes to offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini and the coaching staff, too, who put together a different type of game plan for Lewis, giving him opportunities to succeed.”
    I admit I get annoyed more easily than most folks
    but Brian
    how bout
    its way past time Chaiverini put together a different kind of game plan? The kid can do it. He has shown it when he gets a chance. Its a team game. On each side of the ball each player’s performance affects the rest of the player’s performance…and when the conductor is tone deaf so is the tune/product.
    I will give credit to Chev actually making an effort to save his job.

    1. I’m starting to buy into the “it’s karl’s offense chev is just living in it” theory… This game was the first time this year that the offense actually looked like what Chev has wanted to do in previous years. Maybe he convinced Karl to back off the pro style stuff?

          1. Totally, I also referred to him as the one who speaks with his eyes.
            When Jarek Broussard scored the TD on the screen pass (solid play by BLew btw with a defender in his face) JB came running off the field and I couldn’t actually see it, but it looked like KD gave him a low five ha ha, but it was in his eyes -Great play !

      1. Shorter, quicker passes aiding in the development of Brendon Lewis

        One could speculate, while watching the NFL, that shorter, quicker passes are a staple of the NFL.


        1. The heavier use of the screen game that we saw against uo is more spread than west coast pro style, but it has percolated to the nfl from college.

          Something else that may or may not be happening is lower scores at both levels? That seems to me to be what’s happening, but that is only based on the relatively small sample of games I actually pay attention to across college and the nfl. But if that is the case, it may suggest defensive coordinators have evolved a bit too. Or that the shift to faster linebackers has helped control the “playing in space” offensive systems.

          Going to be interesting to watch the coaching carousel within and outside the Buffs next month.

          I don’t have a good feeling about Saturday. Hope that proves wrong.

          Go Buffs

          1. Welp,
            Watching the pro games, there are a lot of different type of screens plus all the little dinks that are running plays actually. Getting the ball out fast is a league wide priority. They all use all the sets from double and triple tight ends to 5 wide. To call one or other what they use is who cares. They all use everything.
            Screens, spread, RPO 12 personnel blah blah.

            The real point is diversity with clever plays and relevant play calling.

            Not predictability allowd.

            Go Buffs

            Note: Never thought “flat tails” were attractive.

    2. I agree. Necessity ( as in saving himself from getting fired) is the mother of invention as the saying goes. I believe that has more to to do with it than sudden innovation on his part. But as u say, at least he gets credit for doing something better even if that was the main reason. I’m very curious as to whether this improvement will continue on Saturday.

  9. Brenden Rice is certainly a breath of fresh air. He is one of the few of earache’s sonny boys making a contribution. Having said that, I still remember Noyer’s rah rah noise before he decided to ditch. If we can get Shenault to finally focus his bad boy excess energy on the field we may have a real passing game, Chev willing. Of course he had to wait until we were 3 or 4 TDs behind before he “opened it up” such as it was.
    Everyone is patting the O on the back for normal signs of life. I hope this doesnt lead to a complacency let down this coming game and Chev’s baby steps get even a little larger.
    Then there is the D. will Nate be back? If not realistically the spread will probably grow. The D line is still not doing a good enough job and I dont remember Wilson calling a blitz in the first half. I didnt see enough of the 2nd to see if he did finally call one so maybe the D needs to “open Up” as well. Not having Nate was probably one reason that he decided to play it to conservative. They were not playing, as Neil wished, “with abandon.”

  10. I really hope Nate Landman gets drafted. That dude is just a monster on the field and every time he’s off the field CU looks helpless.

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