“Write Your Good Times in Stone”

Write your sad times in sand, write your good times in stone … George Bernard Shaw

Perceptions are what they are.

There were two new coaches in the Pac-12 last season. Washington promoted defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake, while Colorado hired Karl Dorrell after Mel Tucker bolted for Michigan State.

Both teams fared well – better than expected – last fall.

Colorado went 4-2; Washington went 3-1. Both teams beat Arizona. Washington beat Utah but lost to Stanford. Colorado lost to Utah but beat Stanford.

After Colorado took down Washington, 20-17, the Buffs in 2021 are 4-7, 3-5 in Pac-12 play; the Huskies are also 4-7, 3-5 in Pac-12 play.

Sounds pretty similar.

And yet, there was – and is – quite the disparity as to how the teams were and are perceived.

Washington opened the fall as the nation’s No. 20 team.

Athlon had Washington as the No. 22 team in the country coming into the season … “Lake’s second team has a lot of talent and championship aspirations”.

Lindy’s, meanwhile, listed Washington as the No. 17 team in the nation … “Washington is in position to win the Pac-12 North again – and maybe even play in the title game”.

Colorado, meanwhile, which had gone 4-2 in its first season under Karl Dorrell, and had, arguably, just as good a year under its first-year head coach as Washington had under its, was not given any chance of similar success in 2021.

Athlon had Colorado ranked 62nd in the country … “CU has won more than five games just once in the past 13 seasons, and it’ll be a challenge to do it this year”.

Lindy’s, meanwhile, listed Colorado as the No. 43 team in the nation … “The Buffs will not be sneaking up on anyone in 2021”.

The two programs have not only posted similar numbers the past two seasons … Historically, they have many common characteristics:

  • Colorado won its national championship in 1990; Washington won its national championship the following season;
  • Washington is 18th in all-time wins (749); Colorado is 27th (717);
  • Colorado is 10th all-time in conference championships (26); Washington is 25th (17);
  • Washington has had more NFL draft picks (311; 17th) than Colorado (276; 23rd) but CU has had more consensus All-Americans (31; 22nd) than have the Huskies (23; 32nd).

The difference, of course, is not just the past two seasons, but the better part of the past two decades. Washington has an 0-12 campaign to its resume (2008), but quickly bounced back. The Huskies have been competitive in almost every season since Colorado joined the Pac-12 … the Buffs have been competitive in two of its 11 years in its new conference.

The Huskies went 7-6 under Jimmy Lake, and fired him (albeit not just for his won/loss record).

The Buffs are 8-9 under Karl Dorrell, and are trying to spin a yarn of optimism about the future.

“It was a hard-fought win,” Dorrell said. “I’m very proud of his team. They’re starting to develop that competitiveness, that drive to just fight for 60 minutes. It’s definitely something our program’s going to build on. It’s really going to be part of who we are, that’s our fabric, is being fighters. We have to continue to build this program the way that it used to be. We’re going to get it back to that level.”

You have to look at the program through black-and-gold colored glasses in order to believe that what the Buffs are putting on the field right now can be considered stepping stones to bringing the Buff program to where it used to be.

Right now, the Buffs are struggling to put together four consecutive quarters of decent football.

The offense played well in the first half against UCLA, putting up 20 point before halftime (and it could have been 28, but the Buffs settled for two red zone field goals) … before being shut out in the second half.

The Buffs had a field goal drive to start the game against the Huskies (aided by a 15-yard face mask penalty), and had a drive-saving third down penalty in their only other offensive drive.

Otherwise? The offense produced nada. The CU offensive “attack” generated a 183 yards of offense, with nine first downs. Those are numbers more likely to produce the results in the Minnesota game (30-0 loss; 63 total yards of offense; six first downs) or the Cal game (26-3 loss; 104 yards of total offense; seven first downs) than a victory.

Even given the gift of a first-and-goal at the Washington seven yard line after a fumble, the Buffs had to settle for a field goal.

And were it not for a lucky bounce in the first quarter, it would have been a 7-3 Washington lead, instead of a 10-0 Colorado lead after Jack Lamb’s 92-yard fumble return … and who knows how the game might have turned if it hadn’t been for that lucky 14-point turnaround on one play?

“I don’t consider that lucky,” Dorrell said. “Those are things that we talked about. We have to be opportunistic. We’re around the football and there was a very strong sign of that today. You know Jack (Lamb) was ready to pick up a fumble that was left out on the field in the first quarter. He picked it up and ran. How about Nikko Reed on a great defensive play on a go ball in the endzone? He makes a great play for an interception … We’re trying to preach that, that’s how we play defense. For the turnover factor to work you have to look for opportunities. The ball doesn’t just fall to you. It has got to be generated.”

Nice to know that generating turnovers was part of the game plan, especially since CU only had ten turnovers generated (122nd in the nation) in the first ten weeks of the season.

But here’s the thing …

Colorado won the game. Yes, it would be more correctly stated that Washington lost the game, but CU still won.

“I don’t have any magical answers,” Washington interim coach Bob Gregory said. “We can’t turn the ball over. Got to be able to score some points, and we weren’t able to do that.”

With the victory, and Arizona’s loss, the Buffs cannot finish worst than 5th in the Pac-12 South (and could finish with the same record as USC, assuming a CU loss to Utah, and USC losses to Notre Dame and Cal).

Not impressed? Well, this will mark the third straight season the Buffs have not finished in the basement of the Pac-12 South. Now, considering Colorado went its entire run in the Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 (over 60 years worth of football) without once finishing alone in last place in a conference, finishing somewhere other than the basement doesn’t seem like much of an achievement.

But … CU’s run in the Pac-12 has been anything but stellar … Starting in 2011, CU’s finishes in the Pac-12 South have been … t-5th; 6th; 6th; 6th; 6th; 1st; 6th; 6th; 5th; and 2nd.

In that light, CU not finishing in the basement for three consecutive seasons actually is an accomplishment, one not accomplished for over a decade.

And, at the end of the day, it was a “W”.

A “W” which sends off the seniors with a smile.

The last stand by the defense allowed Nate Landman, who had been in street clothes throughout the game, to come in and play deep safety for the final two plays of his Folsom Field career.

“I teared up,” said fellow defender and roommate Carson Wells. “There was no better way to end the game.”

“It’s a huge honor,” Landman, who became the first Buff to win the Buffalo Heart Award, said of his last home game. “I love the school and they’ve done so much for me. I try to repeat and repay that favor on the football field. It was crazy to experience running out there in front of the crowd one last time. Hugging my family, seeing my family and then going through the crazy emotional game and coming out with the win. I’m super thankful for Coach Dorrell, for letting me go on for those last couple of snaps. That’s a great experience and I wouldn’t change how it all went down. It was amazing.”

It was amazing, and should be savored.

When next summer’s preseason magazines come out, the similarities between Colorado and Washington will again fade into the background, and the disparities will again be highlighted.

Sure, Colorado and Washington will have posted similar records the past two seasons.

Sure, Colorado has beaten Washington the last two times the teams have played.

But … Washington has better coaches (regardless of who is named as Jimmy Lake’s successor), and will have a more talented roster.

The Huskies will be picked to challenge Oregon for top honors in the Pac-12 North.

The Buffs, meanwhile, will be picked to duke it out with Arizona for the cellar in the Pac-12 South.

Until Colorado does something substantial – and with consistency – on the field of play, this will be the narrative.

So, before the Buffs get killed by Utah to conclude yet another losing season, take a few minutes to enjoy the “W”.

We haven’t had that many of them … So it would be impolite not to savor the moment.

Write your sad times in sand, write your good times in stone … George Bernard Shaw

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24 Replies to ““Write Your Good Times in Stone””

  1. My hope is a new OC will reopen the competition at QB. One of the big mysteries, why did Lewis play every snap…..

    1. Maybe its because he completed 60% with 10 TDs with 3 ints. Its not his fault they didnt let him throw down field more or even often enough.
      Having said, I agree that there were plenty of garbage opportunities, (none that were Lewis’s fault) for Carter to see some time. Been beneficial for his development and to get an idea for what he could actually do. ….especially when we are so thin at that position. Even the first game of the season should have been a “safe” opportunity. I hope they werent scared he would get injured too. You cant play chiken like that.
      I have always been a proponent of game time to see the real player but sometimes that is hard for the QB/WR positions when with the OC playing super conservative/chiken football.

  2. It’s much funnier when the opposing team’s WR run in to each other than when we do it.
    Terrance Lang broke out a spin move 1x yesterday (only spin from the entire D line all game)…he got pressure up the gut and forced a Wells sack. I am genuinely puzzled by this…sure looks like Chris wants to keep gap control even w/pass rush and thereby expressly does not want rushers to spin, but against some like Morris vs. DTR it’s not as important. In addition, you can still keep your gap control, if you spin into your gap.

  3. Yes, this is a positive win, and the two programs have many similarities. However, Coach Dorrell has said, because of his permanent residence, that HE will not be going anywhere. Because of that, AND because of his early quote that he learned much from his previous UCLA head coaching experience (that was NOT unsuccessful) that he would apply to this position.

    It seems that he and his staff will be identifying solid “three star” recruits and developing them. He will not be chasing “four or five star” players. This approach will take longer, but could build better in the long run. Players seem to respect him. The Shenault situation, whatever the specifics actually are, seems to indicate that he has standards of action for his players that he actually upholds those expectations in reality/practice.

    We have a potential winner here in Coach Dorrell, if we have patience, take the long view and appreciate a knowledgeable football “lifer,” who exudes integrity and principles.

    We will see, but I so much hope there is long-term success. The players, program, athletic department, University, and community all would benefit from that success.

  4. Utah is the coaching standard. Hire a smart, good guy and keep him. Give him time to figure it out. Hiring and firing every other year searching for the holy grail characterizes modern college football (money ball) unfortunately. Dorrell seems like a smart good guy. CU needs a good O line and more creativity than run it up the middle. OB needs protection. At this point trust in Dorrell, strive for the stability and loyalty of Utah. Let the other programs play musical chairs.

    1. Extremely impressed with the Utes last night. Talk about a complete game. Those guys all play with determination and abandon. Creative use of multiple tight ends was a pleasure to watch.

  5. Wait. So before the Buffs get killed by Utah? Come on man! Is that the most likely outcome? Sure. But that is why they play the games. And the Pac 12 is good at chaos.

    I would be stoked with another 5-7 season, at this point.

    In other news, did anyone else pick up that Karl said lavontae is no longer with the program? Anyone know what happened, or will we see he enters the portal today/tomorrow?

    At least carpenter looks the part of a d1 wr.

    Going to be an interesting offseason.

    Go Buffs. Beat dem youts.

    1. Did not notice that he said LaVontae isn’t with the program anymore. In retrospect the strangest thing this season might be that he played a few games for us at all.

  6. Rick George, “What I can do is provide the resources to provide the support that he needs, but do we have the right coach? Absolutely. Do we need to make some changes and some fixes? Absolutely, and we will.”

    Karl Dorrel’s head coaching record:
    2003 UCLA 6-7
    2004 UCLA 6-6
    2005 UCLA 10-2
    2006 UCLA 7-6
    2007 UCLA 6-6
    2020 CU 4-2
    2021 CU 4-8
    2008-2011 asst coach Miami Dolphins :
    2008 11-5
    2009 7-9
    2010 7-9
    2011 6-10
    Houston Texans QB Coach
    2012 12-4 Matt Schaub pro bowl
    2013 2-14
    2014 Vanderbilt OC 3-9

    New York Jets 2015-2018 WR coach
    2015 10-6
    2016 5-11
    2017 5-11
    2018 4-12
    2019 Miami Dolphins WR Coach
    5-11
    I am not optimistic we have the right coach. The changes that need to be made are firing the head coach. He hired all the other coaches that need to be fixed. The problem might be Lance Carl or Rick George too. Our current recruiting is mediocre at best. There is no reason to be optimistic currently. If the Administration is not committed to spending the money to improve the football program, maybe they should just fold it. If Karl Dorrel is absolutely the best man for the job we are screwed. All you have to do is look at his resume. He’s a perennial loser. Good human being, not a good head coach. Sorry. This program is being set back another 10+ years by keeping Karl Dorrell. It’s a viscous circle of sucking.

    1. I wish you hadn’t posted that outline of Karl’s record. You are what your record says you are? Let’s hope not, bc he ain’t goin anywhere for at least a year. Maybe two.

      Go Buffs

      1. That is funny.

        You never used/believed that phrase with/about WacMac..,

        Buffs.

        Note: Neither The Real Mac or Barnett as well.

        Fact note: It is just who/what you are. No offense.

        1. Context. Ever heard of it? So then neuheisel was awesome? Barnett a .500 coach, is what his record says he is? Macintyre’s program compared to what dorrell started with at both ucla and CU? Context. Oh. And you clearly still confuse opinions with facts. I will now endeavor to ignore your incessant ramblings.

          Go Buffs

          1. Context is that wacmac at CU was 30 and 44, and 14 and 39 in conference (8 of those in 1 year) over 6 years. Yet you still claim he was a great coach and say he should not have been fired.

            Just how you are.

            buffs

          2. And Barnett was 49 and 38 over 7 years (34 and 22 in conference)

            And Rick was 33 and 14 (19-12) at Colorado

            Compared to your wacmac, there is no comparison.
            At CU is what counts boffer.

            Go Buffs.

            Please ignore me. Thanks, as one person said “reading your stuff makes me more stupid”

    2. Dorrell did so well last year in such an impossible situation. And despite the disappointment of this year Ithink he deserves a chance to build this program and bring his team in. The freshman db’s he brought in seemed to do well this year. Lamb and Barnes from the portal added depth. The young wide recievers did really good as well so we will have to see about recruiting. The d line and o line we won’t see for a few years yet….
      I thought the hire of Rodrigue seemed weird last year but then we ran like crazy…. He course corrected that and i think it has gotten a bit better.
      He didn’t like Summers high risk approach and promoted Wilson who has a very basic defense that may not have enough creativity in it as it may be predictable (or we just have a very young secondary?). I am betting. Hey is gone but Dorrell does not believe in changes mid year (I was actually surprised by Rodrigue) the question will be who will be the OC. McCartney went to the wishbone after 3 horrible years, which would be crazy now but was not totally unused at the time. That change allowed us to start competing and that allowed us to start recruiting. I think we have to give Dorrell at least 2 more years. I am interested to see what he does from an OC perspective. I have a feeling getting Shrout back, McCown I. And another year for Lewis all under a new OC and a fuLlyear with a new offensive line coach might be good. It will be interesting…….

      But Utah is going to kill us. Oregon’s offensive line was a sieve and they are much better than ours. This is going to be a beating….

    3. If he does this for the next 6 years counting this one I will be extremely happy
      2003 UCLA 6–7 4–4 T–5th
      2004 UCLA 6–6 4–4 T–5th
      2005 UCLA 10–2 6 –2 3rd
      2006 UCLA 7–6 5–4 -4th
      2007 UCLA 6–6 5–4 T –4th
      UCLA: 35–27 24–18

      Go Big HKCD
      Note: Bowl games every year………………(go win a few of em)
      Note 2: Make the coaching changes

  7. I need a bigger beach
    or
    I need a bigger granite mountain

    Just depends

    Go Buffs…………………..Nice win. They all count eh? Offense sucked no change
    A big change needed in offensive coaches……….it will happen

  8. Yeah it was an ugly win but it probably wont gather a lot of attention outside of Buffland next to some of the really ugly losses yesterday. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, of course and I found the MSU total obliteration quite tasty……the next game right after dinner bell Mel got his Saban like Stratospheric salary . Instead of focusing on practice he was probably on Zillow for 2 or 3 days looking for a south seas island to buy.
    Then there was the beat down and exposure of the money bag Ducks. During that game they broadcasted a trivia question asking which power 5 team had the most coaches during Willingham’s 17 years at Utah. The answer naturally was Colorado at 9. I didnt bother to think back to see if it was correct cause if it wasnt it had t be close.
    Stuart, it sounds like you said Washington will always have better coaches. I consider KD more of an administrator and press secretary tight now but dont the odds have to even out at some point? Will the Buffs finally shed the curse and get lucky with the 2 new coordinator hires? Yeah both, I hope. The Buffs endured and prevailed yesterday but those kinds of wins are pretty damn rare.

    1. My short answer to the question about the odds on CU and Washington coaches “evening out” over time would be: Rick Neuheisel.
      If CU gets a good coach (fine, we can argue about whether Neuheisel and his 33-14 record at CU was “good”), but if CU finds a diamond in the rough, a school like Washington can hire them away.
      The long answer: The Essay was about feeling good for a day about getting a win … today I’m going to enjoy getting a November “W”.

      1. We can always hope that a good coach who gets hired away will at least be here long enough to elevate the image of the program to attract other good coaches

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