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It’s All Relative

“It was bad football”.

Of course, no one could agree more with CU head coach Karl Dorrell, after his team struggled to put away a Northern Colorado team which was picked to finish near the bottom of the Big Sky Conference. It was a 35-7 final score, but the Buffs were flagged for 12 penalties for 117 yards, and couldn’t find any consistency on offense. The score was only 14-0 at halftime, and wasn’t a sure victory until well into the second half.

A 28-point win, but it was, indeed, “bad football”.

The only thing is … that’s not a Karl Dorrell quote.

The quote is from Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards, whose Sun Devils struggled to put away another Big Sky Conference team, Southern Utah. ASU had seven penalties in the first quarter alone against the Thunderbirds, and looked bad for much of the game. The Sun Devils did recover, though, to post a 41-14 victory.

Well, how about this quote? “I stopped writing down (the number of mistakes), there were so many. Right now, based on tonight, we’re not good enough, so we have to get better.”

The thing is … that’s not a Karl Dorrell quote, either.

That quote came from Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes posted a 40-17 over another Big Sky Conference team, the Weber State Wildcats, but didn’t always look particularly good in getting there. The Utes fell behind early, 7-3, after surrendering a 100-yard kickoff return, and held only a 19-10 lead in the third quarter before pulling away.

Then there is this quote: “I’m really disappointed in the discipline of our team right now, and that is where I am frustrated. We should have played a lot cleaner. I know it is the first game and some of those things happen, but from my side of it, I just felt we could have played and executed better.”

Okay, now this quote is from Karl Dorrell, lamenting CU’s efforts, despite posting a 35-7 win over Northern Colorado. The Buffs’ defense played well, for the most part, and there was some good efforts on special teams, but the offense was a frustration throughout the contest.

A 41-14 victory? “It was bad football”.

A 40-17 win? “Based on tonight, we’re not good enough”.

A 35-7 final? “We should have played a lot cleaner”.

Three wins by Pac-12 teams over three Big Sky Conference schools … and no one was happy.

But all three Pac-12 schools are 1-0 this morning, and that’s what really counts.

To put it another way, the CU/Northern Colorado was all about what’s relative. For most college football fans scouring the internet for scores, they will see scores of 41-14, 40-17, and 35-7, posted by Pac-12 teams against FCS opponents, and move on with a collective shrug. Nothing to see here. Without watching the gams, it would be easy to assume that these games played out pretty much as expected.

But, as we know, it’s all relative.

And on Friday night … it was also about the relatives.

It’s About the Relatives … 

Much was made of the McCaffrey family connections leading up to the CU game against Northern Colorado.

The Mac-to-Mac-to-Mac UNC connection featured quarterback Dylan McCaffrey, transferring in from Michigan. and Dylan’s big brother, Max, putting off NFL tryouts to as the Bears’ offensive coordinator. They moved to Greeley to join forces with their dad, Ed, the longtime NFL receiver who was hired as head coach in December, 2019.

There was also a connection between Ed McCaffrey and the head coach on the home side of the field, Karl Dorrell. For three years (2000-03) Dorrell was the wide receivers coach for the Denver Broncos, and McCaffrey was one of his best players.

“I have so much respect for him as a coach,” McCaffrey said. “We have similar styles. He’s very humble, very hardworking, very intelligent. I loved playing for him and I’m really excited for the success he’s had as a coach, as Pac-12 coach of the year (in 2020). I was excited for him last year. A lot of respect for coach Dorrell. He’s doing a phenomenal job with the Buffs.”

Some 650 days after he was hired, McCaffrey got his first opportunity to coach the Bears, and he had his team prepared. “They did a great job of scouting us because they have more information on us, and we had none on them”, Karl Dorrell said of the UNC coaching staff. “But I had to give our team credit in the second half we know as soon as we understood what they were doing.”

Son Dylan McCaffrey did his part, completing 24-of-42 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown. McCaffrey did, however, also throw a costly interception in the CU end zone late in the first half when the game was still in doubt, and was sacked three times. McCaffrey simply didn’t have enough help to be able to mount a serious challenge against the Buff defense.

It’s About the Relatives … 

Oh, and I have a few relatives of my own to talk about.

I’m turning 60 this fall, and, as a birthday present to myself, I flew my entire family into Boulder for the weekend. Counting my wife, three kids and spouses, and seven grandkids (descending upon Boulder from Bozeman, Portland, and Boston), there are 15 of us in town. We hired a local photographer, who is going to take some family photos up on the Terrace in the Champions Center. Everyone will be in CU gear … even my son-in-law who went to undergrad at Oregon.

I had figured I would be lucky if I could keep some of my family members, most of whom are not football fans, in the stands after halftime. It was supposed to be a rout – CU was a 35.5-point favorite – so it should have been a yawner by the break. My hope was that the lure of watching Ralphie VI run again to open the second half would be enough of a draw to keep the family in the stands.

As it turned out, we never left. Aided partially by a beautiful night in Boulder – 73-degrees at kickoff – and a closer-than-it-should-have-been halftime score of 14-0, everyone stayed.

I’ll post some pictures of the crew down the road. In the meantime, if you don’t see as much activity on the website this weekend as you might otherwise expect … Well, I’m off trying to get the grandkids to fall in love with Boulder and CU … wish me luck!

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17 Replies to “It’s All Relative”

  1. A Special Relativity Weekend Stuart !!! And A Special Congratulation’s on completing your 6 decades !! Other than the penalties which WERE RELATIVE, I think that the inconsistent OL play bothered me most, went back and looked at some video from 2020 and Fri. did not meet the “Rod” standard that they showed then, even with both Fri. and 2020 having differing rotations. A WIN is A WIN and that is RELATIVE ! BE WELL Youngster !

  2. Why don’t we target Stanley more? He is one of the most dynamic players in the country and we spend all of our time trying to establish the run. Air it out!

  3. That’s awesome Stu. Happy 60th season. Never met anyone who’s been to Boulder and didn’t love it.

    As to football? Some zany things already on the docket. Gotta love college football, even as it continues evolving.

    Go Buffs

  4. 1-0. All that matters
    Good coached teams get better as the season progresses
    And we have a good coaches team (fingers crossed)

  5. Stuart, cuatthegame is my go to for everything CU, thank you so much for all that you do! So happy you get to share and spend time with your family in Boulder this weekend.

  6. I could be way wrong, but it looked like UNC set their offense around what Mac could do as a QB. He didn’t fit into a system, the system was designed for him. Now Lewis is fitting into a system, so he didn’t look as sharp throwing last night. Some on freshman jitters, some on our O coordinator for not having faster and easier throws and reads to get him started. Both will get better as the season progresses. Have to remind myself we saw a highly recruited senior QB vs our freshman, so yes he didn’t look as sharp yet. Give him time and let’s hope we are really on point when Minn comes to town. That’s going to be a pivotal game for us, as will be ASU. Go Buffs!
    PS. just remember CSU lost badly to an FSC team.

  7. Needed perspective on the game. On the other, and more important, front, here’s hoping there are many lasting and happy memories made this weekend for you and your entire family!

  8. Nice theme with the “it’s all relative” and spot on. Many of us was expecting more on offense… from both teams really, UNC did only score once. But, many of us expected the Buffs to have 35 early enough to get Drew more playing time.

    I’m not sophisticated enough to know, I’m betting they kept everything as vanilla as possible for next weeks game, and the defense still held them to 253 total offense with 17 rushing yards, that’s pretty good if play calling was vanilla regarding defensive looks. Their QB is good and they have some good receivers that transferred in from big programs, so holding them to one score is actually better than the 236 passing yards looks, it’s only because the Bears could run against the Buffs that they didn’t score more.

    Those penalties would have killed the Buffs against anyone else on the schedule, so gotta fix that!

    Have fun with the family Stuart and Thanks.

    1. I’m sure you meant “couldn’t run” but its nice to see some positive comments for a change about the D. I wish the box scores would keep tab of D stats such as tackles, pass break ups etc.
      Herbstreit this morning was talking up all the big name teams to keep it simple and dont create turnovers….sound familiar?

      1. Correct, meant “couldn’t run” as the stats showed, I just “didn’t finish” on that play/word… Oh well I made my first game error too… 😉

  9. one more thing. I’m sure Shrout would be the first one tell you to your face to leave Lewis alone right now. I’m surprised y’all aint screaming for Carter.

  10. Yes it was a poorly played game in many respects. I can’t help but think the kids didn’t really feel they would be challenged by the UNC team no matter what they say. Also , we only threw the ball down field maybe 3 times, saving those plays for next week. Not sure about all the talking that was going on in the piles, and did that cause some unsportsmen penalties? O line didn’t dominate like I expected. Defense and special teams were fine, but got to get passing game going or it’s going to be a long season.
    Hope for big jump in 2nd game, but not looking for a close score next week (still dreaming of an upset but…)

  11. It shoulda been Shrout. Whatta load of manure You aren’t going to get Shrout are you? So instead you want to cut Lewis off at the knees because of how he “looked” He completed 66%, hit at least 7 different receivers, threw a TD and no interceptions. After one game some of you guys remind me of cobb fans.
    I read reports from more than one scout that Shrout was the one who was diagnosed as getting the yips. And because Shrout cant come back its easy to say “it shoulda been Shrout.” Shut up and support the kids. I know some of you cant because you dont believe in coaches but their hand print was all over this game.

  12. Great! Hope they all enjoyed the game and fell in love with Boulder. It was a great night for you family to be there. Got to see “lil” Ralphie run. And she was flawless. Maybe she will be the guest speaker at the team meeting today.

    Anyway enjoy your stay. Yur getting the cool nights blossoming into beautiful days.

    Buffs

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