Colorado Daily – UCLA Week

November 13th – Game Day!

… CU in a few minutes … 

Rooney: CU has a chance to rise out of the “hot mess” which is the Pac-12

From the Daily Camera …As the 2021 football season barrels closer to the finish line, maybe the problems surrounding Colorado’s football team are relative.

Take a glance around the league. The Pac-12 Conference is a hot mess.

Start at UCLA, which hosts the Buffaloes on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. The fourth season under high-priced coach Chip Kelly started off promisingly enough, with the Bruins jumping all the way up to No. 13 after topping LSU in the second game of the season. The luster from that win wore off quickly. The Bruins lost at home the following week against Fresno State, the first of a still-active three-game home losing streak that has leveled heavy criticism upon Kelly for failing to deliver a program commiserate with his lofty salary.

Pull off the win on Saturday, and the Buffs might provide the final boost that would give Kelly a title he would share with CU’s Karl Dorrell: Ex-UCLA coach.

Then there’s Washington, the Buffs’ opponent next week in the home finale. Head coach Jimmy Lake already was on the hot seat before getting saddled with a one-game suspension following an on-field, physical confrontation with one of his players. The Lake clearly is running dry in Seattle. One can almost see a coach search on the horizon.

It doesn’t end there. The only semblance of big-time football Herm Edwards actually has brought to Arizona State is the stink of cheating amid an ongoing NCAA investigation. Cal’s recent COVID issues have the football program embroiled in a civil war with the city of Berkeley. USC hasn’t been USC in ages and will be looking for the next head coach vowing to restore the Trojans to their rightful glory.

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November 12th

…. CU in a few minutes … 

Freshman safety Trevor Woods getting more playing time: “He’s a very smart kid”

From the Daily Camera … Safety Trevor Woods has seen an increased role in recent weeks and has been impressive at times.

The true freshman had his biggest play of the season with a blocked punt, which he returned for a touchdown, against Arizona. But, in the past three weeks, he has started playing more on defense.

Woods saw just 55 snaps on defense in the first six games combined, but he’s played 79 snaps the last three games, including a season-high 32 against Oregon State. Woods has also recorded 17 of his 23 tackles in the past three games.

“He’s a very smart kid,” Dorrell said. “He was one of those true freshmen like (cornerback Christian Gonzalez) a year ago that was able to really digest the information and understand the concepts of what we’re asking him to do. He’s been a real good bright spot for us for some of our young up-and-coming players. He’s made an impact on special teams.

“We’re hoping he continues that progress going into this week and he’s definitely capable of being a really, really good player, like a lot of good safeties we’ve had here in the past.”

Neill Woelk’s Keys to CU at UCLA

From CUBuffs. com … It’s been a while since Karl Dorrell‘s Colorado Buffaloes have won two games in a row.

Matter of fact, it’s been almost a year since the Buffs knocked off San Diego State and Arizona in back-to-back weeks in the abbreviated 2020 season.

Since then, the Buffs have won just three of 11, including a 3-6 record this season (2-4 Pac-12).

But after an overtime win against Oregon State last weekend, the Buffs’ bowl hopes are still alive, and they will be aiming to put together a modest two-game win streak Saturday when they head to the Rose Bowl for a 7 p.m. matchup with UCLA (5-4, 3-3).

The game will be televised by the Pac-12 Network, with KOA carrying the radio broadcast.

Speaking of streaks, at least one one will come to an end Saturday.

The Buffs haven’t won in Pasadena since 2002, with five straight losses to the Bruins on their home turf since.

But UCLA’s home-field advantage hasn’t exactly been paying big dividends this year, as the Bruins have lost three in a row in the Rose Bowl.

What must the Buffs do to end their skid in Pasadena, collect their second straight win and extend the Bruins’ home misery in the process?

1. Contain UCLA’s run game. The Bruins are 29th nationally in rushing yardage, averaging 199.4 yards per game. Tailback Zach Charbonnet is averaging 88.6 yards per game (fourth best in the Pac-12) and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is also a threat with his legs (he ran for 109 and threw for 303 in last year’s 48-42 Colorado win in Boulder).

Stopping the Bruins on the ground will be a tall order for the Buffs, who once again will likely be without All-American linebacker Nate Landman. Without him over the last two games, CU has given up 256 yards rushing (Oregon) and 220 (Oregon State) in the last two games.

But if the Buffs can keep the Bruins in check on the ground, their chances of winning will be greatly enhanced, because UCLA has lived (and died) with its run game.

The key stat?

When the Bruins have rushed for at least 200 yards this season, they are 5-0. When they’ve been held to under 200, they are 0-4.

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November 11th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Buffs trying to pick up first win of the season over an experienced quarterback

From the Daily Camera … The Buffs are 3-1 against inexperienced quarterbacks, beating Northern Colorado (Dylan McCaffrey), Arizona (Gunner Cruz) and Oregon State (Chance Nolan), while nearly knocking off Texas A&M (Haynes King and Zach Calzada). That group had a combined three career starts – all by Nolan – before this season.

On the flip side, the Buffs are 0-5 against experienced quarterbacks, losing to Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels, Southern California’s Kedon Slovis, California’s Chase Garbers and Oregon’s Anthony Brown. All of them are in their third or fourth season as a starter, with a combined 110 starts before this year.

Thompson-Robinson is not only experienced (32 career starts), but one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12.

“He’s played well in really critical moments in games when they needed first downs and fourth down conversions, fourth and 12s, things like that,” Dorrell said. “He’s been pretty dynamic and getting those things done.”

This season, Thompson-Robinson has thrown for 1,639 yards and 13 touchdowns with only three interceptions. He’s also rushed for 364 yards and six touchdowns.

Although he missed the Bruins’ most recent game, Oct. 30 at Utah, with an injury, Thompson-Robinson is expected to return Saturday and make his fourth career start against the Buffs.

“This is my (fourth) time seeing Dorian, so it’s cool,” CU outside linebacker Carson Wells said. “Throughout the game, we just like chirp at each other a couple of times. It’s just a fun little game. But it’s always fun going up against good competition and he’s a good quarterback.”

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Josh Watts sets his sights on being the nation’s No. 1 punter

From the Daily Camera … Punter Josh Watts came to CU a year ago from Australia with two years to play. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, led to the NCAA giving all players an extra year of eligibility, and Watts is looking forward to taking advantage of it.

“I still firmly believe that I still need another season here to really cement and my goal is to be the No. 1 punter coming out next year,” Watts said. “That’s what I’m really sort of aiming to do and I think I can achieve that here. So I think I still need some work in some areas, but one more year will really help.”

Watts is currently sixth nationally with an average of 48.3 yards per punt. Of his 51 punts, 22 have gone for 50-plus yards and he’s landed 13 inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

Despite his national ranking, Watts was not named Wednesday as one of the 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award.

Freshmen have accounted for 106 of CU’s 172 points this season

From … Five CU freshmen are producing some significant numbers for Colorado’s offense, especially over the last couple of weeks.

Quarterback Brendon Lewis has thrown six touchdown passes in the last two games (after having just four in the first seven games). Also, seven of his TD passes this year have gone to freshmen.

Meanwhile, freshmen wide receivers Brenden RiceChase Penry and Montana Lemonious-Craig are all producing big catches in key moments; and freshman offensive lineman Jake Wiley has started every game this season.

All told, freshmen have accounted for 106 of CU’s 172 points this year — including, of course, 44 points from freshman kicker Cole Becker, who had the game-winning field goal in overtime against Oregon State.

 On defense, true freshman safety Trevor Woods’ role continues to grow. He’s the player who had the blocked punt and return for a touchdown against Arizona, but he’s played 63 snaps at safety the last two weeks and has 13 tackles.


November 10th

… CU in a few minutes … 

**Video: Karl Dorrell Press Conference** – Nate Landman “chomping at the bit”

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsNation ..

Jarek Broussard ready for another 100-yard game: “It’s just a matter of getting the ball to me”

From the Daily Camera … This has been a dramatically different season for Broussard, who at times has seemed like a forgotten man in the CU offense. He’s averaging 12.7 carries per game and didn’t top the 500-yard for the season until his 9-yard run on the second play of overtime on Saturday.

“I feel healthy, I look healthy,” he said Saturday night. “It’s just a matter of getting the ball to me.”

Broussard, however, doesn’t believe he needs all the carries. Last year, Alex Fontenot and Deion Smith were both injured. This year, they are healthy and contributing.

“You can look at that and that’s something that’s good about our offense,” Broussard said. “We have so many guys that could do so many dynamic things with the ball. And we all feed off each other, but I just feel like it’s just a matter of getting it to those guys.”

What has been difficult for Broussard is not getting the ball while the Buffs go down in defeat. He five carries in a 30-0 loss to Minnesota; he had 14 touches (11 carries, three catches) for 58 yards in the first 24 minutes of a 26-3 loss at Cal, but inexplicably didn’t touch the ball in the final 36 minutes; and he had just six carries in a 52-29 loss at Oregon.

“When we go out there and I touch the ball 12 times and we lose, it’s like, ‘(Crap), what could I have done better?’ Then you think again, it’s like, ‘Well, (shoot), I didn’t really get the ball as much as I used to,’” he said. “But you know, you can’t really look at (stuff) like that. All you can do is just grind harder, work harder and seize the moment when it comes.”

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November 9th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Josh Watts fourth in the nation in punting: “Quietly been among the top punters in the country”

… The 26-yard punt return in the final minute of the OSU game? “That was coaching error” … 

From … Buffs punter Josh Watts is fourth in the nation this week, averaging 48.33 yards per attempt, and Colorado is 40th in net punting, averaging 40.96 yards.

“Josh has quietly been among the top in the country with what he does,” Dorrell said. “Sometimes he gets overshadowed because of the lack of success as a team, but he’s been really, really steady and a big-time performer in critical moments.”

CU’s net punting total would be higher if the Beavers hadn’t managed a 26-yard punt return at the end of regulation last weekend, a key play that allowed OSU to navigate into position for a 60-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

The kick was good and sent the game into overtime.

Watts said it was his job to limit returns, but Dorrell said the problem wasn’t with the punter.

“That was a coaching error,” Dorrell said, “Given where we were punting the ball, we should have directionally punted right or left toward the sidelines for it to go out of bounds. That return gave the almost midfield position … If we just angle punted right or left and get the all out of bounds, they’re starting that drive at the 25 instead of the 49 and it’s a little more challenging to get in field goal position. That’s something we’ve learned.”

Buff offense improving: “We’re grabbing for anything and everything”

From the Daily Camera … A mid-season coaching change at offensive line has done wonders for the Colorado Buffaloes, but it’s not the only reason for the resurgence on offense.

In the past two weeks, the Buffaloes’ once-inept offense has looked creative, sometimes explosive, and productive.

Credit the improvements and changes by the offensive line. Credit the improvements and renewed confidence of quarterback Brendon Lewis. But also credit head coach Karl Dorrell, offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini and the rest of the staff for shaking up the playbook.

“We’re grabbing for anything and everything,” Dorrell said on Monday as the Buffs (3-6, 2-4 Pac-12) began preparations for a matchup with UCLA (5-4, 3-3) on Saturday in Los Angeles (7 p.m., TV: Pac-12 Network).

The Buffs were desperate after producing just six touchdowns and 57 points on offense during a six-game stretch from Games 2-7 (9.5 per game). In the past two games, they have scored eight touchdowns and 66 points (33 per game).

“We’re trying to have productive offense,” Dorrell said. “What I really orchestrated our offensive staff to do is to really be more critical of our players in their strengths and weaknesses. We don’t want to put our guys in positions to do things or ask them to do things that maybe is not their strong point.”

A few weeks ago, the staff looked at each position group and, Dorrell said, they asked, “What is best for our offensive line, given the type of athletes we have there? What’s best for our tight ends, our running backs? What type of runs are best for our running backs? What’s best, obviously for B-Lew that he’s comfortable with? So there’s a lot of really detailed work about trying to find the best elements of all the positions and meld it together.”

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November 8th

… CU in a few minutes … 

**Video: Karl Dorrell Monday press conference**

From BuffsTVKarl Dorrell … Offense made some significant steps on improvement … Made some improvement on defense … Using three to four linebackers in rotation to try and make up for the loss of Nate LandmanJack Lamb played his best game; Marvin Ham is showing up, as is Marvin BarnesQuinn Perry has been solid most of the season … Carson Wells was one of our players of the game, good to see he’s still making plays for us … Mustafa Johnson also deserved a game ball. He had three QB pressures … On the offensive side, Jarek Broussard had a very good game, lots of tough yards after contact … Casey Roddick (at right guard) also had a very good game and got a game ball … We’re not anywhere close to where we want to be … It was a good performance in all three areas … Josh Watts has quietly had a great season. It’s been overshadowed by our lack of success as a team. He’s deserving of some mention. Most of our special teams are in the top two or three in the conference …

On the punt return which help set up the 60-yard field goal – That was a coaching error. We should have had an angle punt. If they started the drive at the 25 instead of the 47, it would have been much more difficult. If we get the ball out, and directionally punt, it would have been better … For Brendon Lewis the game has slowed down … He’s not seeing everything, but there have been some huge milestones from the beginning of the season … We had some opportunities to put more points on the board, but we’re not seeing it … We’re very pleased with where he’s going, but he’s still growing …

Brendon Lewis had inconsistencies at the beginning of the year, but he’s come a long way … He knows he’s not a finished product, but the team is behind him, and completely confident … He through some beautiful balls that he wasn’t throwing six weeks ago … La’Vontae Shenault – We have a good relationship … He’s changed and matured … He’s taking ownership for his past … He’s going to move past this in a hurry …

On the playbook … We’re grabbing for anything and everything … We’re being more critical of our players and their strengths and weaknesses … We decided to do that by position … There’s more confidence in all of these areas … Trimming the fat, so to speak … Coaches are calling plays better … It’s not just the players. It’s the whole dynamic of the offense …There’s more confidence in our passing game … We hope the trend continues (where defenses load up against the run) … Brendon leads that attitude … Of course, our receivers believe they can beat anybody. We’re going to ride that wave as long as we can … That will give us the balance that we’ve been looking for from the start …

No updates on injuriesMekhi Blackmon, Guy Thomas, Dimitri Stanley … all have to see how they progress this week … Max Wray is out indefinitely. There’s a question mark as to whether he even will continue to play …

Kickoff time for Senior Day v. Washington set

From … Times are now set for CU’s final two games of the regular season:

The Washington at Colorado game on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Folsom Field will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. MST and be televised by the Pac-12 Networks;

The Colorado at Utah game on Friday, Nov. 26 in Salt Lake City will kickoff at 2:00 p.m. MST and will be televised on FOX.

Other Nov. 20 games:

6-day selection notice: Oregon at Utah, UCLA at USC

Friday, November 19, 2021

6:00pm PT / 7:00pm MT – Arizona at Washington State, Pac-12 Network (previously announced)

Saturday, November 20, 2021

4:00pm PT – California at Stanford, Pac-12 Network

7:30pm PT / 8:30pm MT – Arizona State at Oregon State, ESPN

Friday, November 26, 2021

5:00pm PT – Washington State at Washington, FS1

Neill Woelk: Oregon State game was “best overall performance of the season”

From … First things first: that was a good team the Colorado Buffaloes beat Saturday night.

Not great, by any stretch of the definition. But Oregon State has been good enough this year to beat USC, Washington and Utah.

In fact, the 5-4 Beavers are the only Pac-12 team thus far to knock off the Utes. They have a very good rushing attack (leading the Pac-12 after 10 games), a competent passing game and a defense capable of big moments (see Utah).

They are also the only team with a winning record the Buffs have beaten this year, one good reason to believe Saturday night’s 37-34 double-OT thriller could be the kind of turning point Karl Dorrell‘s program has been looking for.

CU’s victory was no doubt a nice way to start November, the month in which every team wants to be playing its best ball of the season. The Buffaloes hit that standard against OSU. They had their best overall offensive performance of the season; their defense came up with crucial stops when absolutely necessary; and special teams produced some game-defining moments.

Quite simply, the Buffs played complementary football, something they have struggled to do all year.

Of course, the remainder of the November schedule doesn’t get any easier. It includes a trip to the Rose Bowl for a matchup with UCLA (where the Buffs seemingly always struggle); a home game with Washington, which is still in the bowl game hunt; and a season-ending trip to Utah, where the Utes will quite likely be looking to wrap up a South Division title.

So what did we learn from Dorrell’s 3-6 Buffs on Saturday?

1. QB Brendon Lewis is growing into the position. Maybe no Buff has taken more heat this season. The freshman has absorbed the brunt of the blame for the offense’s struggles this year, and much of that blame has been unfairly placed on his shoulders.

But Lewis has quietly answered his critics with the best possible response — with better numbers and better performances. He has become far more comfortable in the pocket, even when under duress; he is moving through his progressions with much better acuity than early in the season; and he is learning to trust his ability and that of his receivers.

Saturday night’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Brenden Rice in the third quarter was a perfect example. As Lewis rolled to his left, he checked one receiver, then another. Rice, meanwhile, broke to the goal line late in the play (after throwing a block early) and Lewis patiently waited for Rice to get open.

Then, bam — Lewis delivered the throw for the score.

That’s the kind of play that would have ended in an incompletion or sack just a few weeks ago. But as Lewis gains more confidence in himself, his line and his receivers, he is seeing the game open up in front of him. His decision-making process is developing, he’s making plays — and perhaps most importantly, his teammates have steadfastly remained in his corner.

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November 7th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Pat Rooney: “Don’t look now, but the Buffs actually have some momentum”

From the Daily Camera … Given how this season has unfolded, the Buffs and their fans will take it, warts and all.

For fans and, admittedly, us media types alike that have questioned some of the play-calling this season, Darrin Chiaverini deserves credit for the many wrinkles we saw on Saturday night. Two plays to Brendan Rice, one that counted and one that didn’t, showed an offense getting creative in order to get the ball to its best play-makers.

Rice originally looked like a decoy on the play that put CU up 20-10 in the third quarter, starting as a blocker on a rollout by quarterback Brendon Lewis before slipping into open space for a 5-yard touchdown. Rice was on display once again on a potential go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter, scoring on an 11-yard reverse that was called back due to a holding penalty. And count this guy a fan of the wrinkle that saw backup tight end Matt Lynch, once a prolific quarterback at Legacy High, take a snap in a short-yardage situation to barrel forward for a first down.

The Buffs of September would’ve wilted after the sort of penalty that almost derailed the go-ahead drive late in regulation. Instead, Lewis stepped up in the pocket on third-and-15 to find Montana Lemonious-Craig in the front corner of the end zone for a go-ahead score that would’ve provided a win if not for the monstrous 60-yard field goal delivered by OSU kicker Everett Hayes at the regulation buzzer.

For once, CU didn’t look like the least organized, or least disciplined team on the field. Oregon State committed nine penalties for 88 yards, compiling the bulk of those totals in the first half. With all three timeouts in hand and the clock ticking away in the final minute, the Beavers declined an opportunity to get organized for a potential game-tying 51-yard field goal. Instead, Hayes was rushed onto the field and went wide left, though that became an afterthought after his 60-yard bomb.

Hayes missed again in overtime, CU’s Cole Becker connected on the winner, and the Homecoming celebration commenced at midfield.

Don’t look now, but the Buffs actually have some momentum. In the second game since the firing of now-former offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue, the Buffs’ offense looked nothing like the bumbling, half-a-yard-and-a-cloud of dust operation on display for much of the season. Lewis once again looked like a quarterback that knew what he was doing when actually given time to throw. Jarek Broussard finished with 151 rushing yards. The Buffs had balance.

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Brendon Lewis gaining in respect and confidence: “What’s driving this ship is B-Lew”

From … Colorado coach Karl Dorrell left no doubt Saturday night about the status of Buffaloes quarterback Brendon Lewis.

Not that there were many doubts after Lewis helped engineer a thrilling 37-34 double-overtime win over Oregon State on Saturday at Folsom Field.

“What’s driving this ship is ‘B-Lew’,” Dorrell said. “They (his teammates) have a lot of confidence in him. This is his team, his offense. They believe in him as the leader and he knows that. He’s stepping up to his role not only as the quarterback, but also as the guy that’s supposed to manage this offense. He’s feeling much more comfortable doing those things right now. There’s a lot of defining moments that are happening right now.”

Lewis has no doubt taken a dramatic step forward over the last couple of weeks — especially in light of an early season slump that resulted in him drawing criticism from virtually every corner outside the CU locker room.

It was just three games ago that Lewis was sacked six times and finished with just 69 yards passing in a 26-3 loss at Cal.

But since then, CU has changed its offensive line coach and Lewis has taken control.

Saturday, he completed 15-of-24 attempts for 170 yards and three touchdowns, his second straight three touchdown performance. He also ran 9 yards for a score in the first overtime and did not throw an interception.

… “My confidence has skyrocketed,” he said. “I feel like if we hit plays early in the game then my confidence goes up from there and the rest of the game is a breeze. When I see my teammates make plays it makes me want to keep going. I feel like they’ve done a good job stepping up for me and I’ve done a good job stepping up for them.”

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Team’s reaction to miss gave Cole Becker confidence for game-winner: “It’s just cool to see my team rally after the miss”

From the Daily Camera … After Cole Becker’s 35-yard field goal attempt was off the mark early in the second quarter on Saturday, he walked to the sidelines and hung his head.

His Colorado teammates did not, however.

“It’s just cool to see my team rally after the miss,” Becker said. “I stepped off the sideline and I was down on myself, but nobody else was and everybody kept picking me up. I think that’s really what helped me get back into the right mindset to hit that one (in overtime).”

Despite the early miss, Becker became the hero, delivering the game-winning 43-yard field goal to lift the Buffaloes to a 37-34 double-overtime win against Oregon State at Folsom Field.

“I like our kicker,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “When we recruited him, we knew what his potential was, we knew he had a strong leg. We think that he’s going to be one of the great ones when it’s all said and done here so we have a tremendous level of confidence in him. Just like the team rallies around (quarterback Brendon Lewis), they rally around Cole, too. They have a lot of belief in him as well.”

After a rough start to the season, in which he missed his first three field goal attempts, Becker had made six in a row – including a 28-yarder in the first quarter – before his second-quarter miss.

He rallied, however, to not only nail the game-winner but a career-long 52-yard field goal late in the second quarter.

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Defense gains confidence in winning without Landman: “Everyone did their job; 11 hats to the ball”

From the Daily Camera … A week ago, Oregon piled up 52 points and 568 yards. Oregon State came into Saturday with the top rushing attack in the Pac-12, averaging 231.0 yards per game.

OSU scored 34 points and rushed for 220 yards, but it was a positive step for the CU defense. Through the first 59 minutes, 59 seconds of the game, the Buffs had allowed just 24 points.

“I kind of took it upon myself to fill that role (Landman usually fills),” linebacker Quinn Perry said. “Me and Nate have talked about it a bunch. It’s a big game for me to seize the opportunity.”

Perry led the Buffs with nine tackles against the Beavers, including a tackle for loss. Fellow inside linebacker Robert Barnes had his best game as a Buff, with seven tackles. Marvin Ham II and Jack Lamb added a combined five tackles.

Aside from the inside linebackers, there were others who stepped up, too. Outside linebacker Carson Wells had seven tackles, a sack and two QB hurries; safety Isaiah Lewis picked off a pass and had five tackles; safety Mark Perry added four tackles, a tackle for loss and pass breakup; and defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson added a tackle for loss.

“The defense, we just played a collective game,” Quinn Perry said. “Everyone did their job; 11 hats to the ball. Obviously, they made good plays that they earned, but I feel like as a collective unit, we really just locked into our assignments more than usual. And especially this last week of practice, we had a big emphasis on stopping the run because that’s their MO.”

CU didn’t stop the run, as the Beavers still got plenty of yards, but the Buffs got enough stops to win a game. More importantly, they gained some confidence without Landman on the field.

“Are they perfect? No, but they are making plays in some moments that I think is going to help build their confidence to play even better as we move forward,” Dorrell said. “I really do feel good about that.”

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9 Replies to “Colorado Daily – UCLA Week”

  1. Go you graduate Buffs.

    The transfer portal guys are #1 on the depth chart this week.


    Make it happen boys

    Go Buffs

    Note: Okay last year was a free ride for eligibility regardless:
    Wr-7 out of 9 are frosh are on the depth chart 1 soph 1 jr
    OL- 4 out of 11 are frosh, 4 out of 11 are sophs 2 jrs on the depth chart
    TE- 2 out of 4 are frosh on the depth chart
    QB- all 3 are frosh on the depth chart
    RB- out of 5,m 2 are frosh and 2 are soph on the depth chart
    DL – out of 11, 2 are frosh, 2 are soph, 6 are juniors (Wells is dl)
    Lb- out of 7, 2 frosh, no sophs, 2 juniors
    DB- out of 11, 5 frosh, 2 soph, 4 juniors

    So 38 of the depth chart are under classmen.
    Plus at least 17 coming in

    There is gonna be a mini blood bath of people on the team this year who don’t get a lot of playing time

    HCKD……….recruiting in his own image. Bet on it dudes and dudettes. Yur gonna like it……

  2. So I have been trying to figure out what the difference has been in our offense. And was it just the change in the offensive line? Brendon Lewis efficiency? Better play calling?

    Well today I took a look at the offensive line. I compared our play at Cal to our play vs OSU. While I have not reviewed in detail every play I have reviewed enough to see a couple of trends:
    1. Pass protection – I haven’t checked beyond Cal but in the Cal game our defensive tackles are not using a kick step to gain depth. The kick step is this weird looking technique you see d tackles using and practicing all of the time. It is a well established technique that frankly I thought everyone used. But in the Cal game we are shuffling instead. I thought that perhaps it was just poor kick step technique (whichboth d tackles using kick step technique in th3 OSU game (though Wiley falls out of it every once in a while). I don’t know enough about the actual mechanics of the technique to tell you why kick step works or when another technique might be better, but I do know that the kick step is used a lot and appears to be a better technique for our tackles.
    2. Blocking scheme. So I think we have all been frustrated by the inside runs that don’t seem to go anywhere. I was again comparing Cal to OSU and I found a really good example. In both games we were driving down and had made it into the very edge of the red zone. It is third and short and everyone in the stadium knows we are going to run it. Both defenses stack the box. Against Cal the center has a reach block against the d tackle lined up on the inside shoulder of the guard and the guard has a reach block for the d end. The tight end pulls into the middle to help create momentum. Pursell cannot execute the reach block and the d tackle blows up the play. The tight end is unable to help Pursell out. Now against Cal, same basic situation but we do a couple thing different. 1. We run some cross motion right as we snap the ball. Those causes the safeties to be in the middle of their shift alignment. This helps keep the safeties from just running downhill on the snap. 2. Instead of reach blocking we get a double team at the point of attack. The center and guard double team the d tackle and drive him back. This clutters the defensive side of the ball and interrupts the line backer flow. Roddick is heads up with the other d tackle and at a stale mate until the tight end comes in and helps with another double team. This creates a little wedge that Broussard dives into and gets the yardage.

    Looking at these 2 plays. I am not sure why you would run a reach block on a short yardage play….and especially against a stacked box. It is real hard to see these reach blocks in the normal view you get from tv, especially with the splits we have. But the cal game has a perfect view from the backside of the play I describe above and while I understand in theory Pursell could make that block, I suspect he has been missing that exact block a lot as well as all the other lineman as that is a super difficult block to make.

    So it is not definitive but I can see real changes in the blocking schemes and techniques that are impactful and can explain some of 5he success we have seen on offense in the last 2 weeks.

    1. Great analysis, thanks. Agree that they did a lot more cross motion. Simpler blocking schemes seem like an easy adjustment for a new guy to make, especially if it fits players better.

    2. Thanks Rob for your analysis. I always find it to be informative. I was harping on the lack of pre-snap motion during the middle of the season, and really happy to see more of it the last 2 games. Really hoping the offense can continue to be productive. Worried mostly about the linebacker group on D. Oregon was scary bad, but thought the personel packages vs. the Beavers was effective enough. Guys are going to really need to wrap up vs. the big UCLA running backs.

    3. Rob, thanks for taking the time to break that stuff down for us. It’s a lot more helpful than just saying a play call sucks, without being able to explain why it may not have worked.

      Hopefully the momentum in the offensive production continues in Pasadena.

      Go Buffs

  3. Speaking of josh watts and his punting… My friend at the game was proposing that the best possible play would not have been to punt but for josh to catch the ball and run straight backwards into the end zone (wasting as much time at possible) for an intentional safety, followed by an almost impossible to return safety punt.

    Would have been great if they had done that!

    1. Speaking as someone who has to spend several hours after the final gun writing up the game story, I much prefer the afternoon games.
      With the drive time back to Highlands Ranch after the Oregon State game, I was up past midnight last Saturday. This Saturday, with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff, it will be another late night …

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