“T.I.P.S.” for Colorado at Air Force: Buffs First Attempt at Redemption

Welcome to our first review/preview podcast of the 2022 season. I am joined for this episode by Brad Geiger and Neil Langland, and we will start with a post-mortem of CU’s 38-13 loss to TCU in the opener. The translation from the Latin of post-mortem is literally “after death”, and that’s what it felt like in Folsom Field, as the Horned Frogs turned a 7-6 halftime advantage into a 38-13 rout.

We will then turn our attention to CU’s upcoming game against Air Force. Going through our “T.I.P.S.” progression, we will look at the Talent for both teams, what Intangibles may be in play, how Preparation – especially for the Falcons’ option offense – will play a role, and then look at which Statistics will factor in in deciding the winner.

So … Who will be CU’s starting quarterback against Air Force? … Has Karl Dorrell, based upon player comments after the TCU game, already lost the locker room? … Can a Buff defense, which was gashed by TCU’s rushing attack, find a way to stop the nation’s leading rushing offense? … Can the Buff offense find a way to match the Falcons score for score? …

… Let’s find out …

Most recent episodes (All of the CU at the Game NIL Interview Podcasts can be found here):

Below is Episode 32 of Season 3 for the CU at the Game Podcast. You can listen to the podcast simply by clicking on the play button below, or listen it to it here at Buzzsprout, or at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, IHeartRadio … or wherever you find your podcasts!

29 Replies to “CUATG Podcast: “T.I.P.S.” for CU at Air Force”

  1. Eric,
    Generally agree with your premise that without talent no coach will win much. That is a debate that can go forever though (as these boards have proven).

    The following irk me a lot about Dorrell:
    Stubborn about not giving shrout a chance, no matter how terribly Blew is doing. Sure, shrout might be worse. But how can we ever know until he is given a real/equal opportunity. Getting tossed into a dumpster fire and playing well does not necessarily mean he will perform like that if he starts (see: Blew in 2020). But unless he starts a game or at least comes in before it is a disaster, we will never know.
    Iv not seen practice, but have deduced that Blew plays much better in practice than in games. A coach that witnesses that for over a year and chooses to ignore it…. I take issue with that.

    Giving up by punting to seal the loss early…. No. Just no. Hard no. I take issue with that. No wonder the kids quit. Their leader quit. Pathetic.

    Last big issue, I want to see some emotion from him. I like that he is even keel overall, but to witness last week and then pop onto the stage with his normal demeanor as if nothing was wrong, offering typical coach speak about little things and the kids tried and it’s on the staff and blah blah blah bla bla. No. I want a coach to say this is unacceptable, I should not have punted the game away, JT should have started the 2nd half, and we will make big changes before we take the field again. This was unacceptable.

    I don’t want to be anti Dorrell. Really. But dang he makes it hard. It seems average is his ceiling. Perhaps that is as good as we can get. I’m not saying to can him. Stability is important, and would we do better? Ummm, doubt it. Perhaps he needs to focus on admin stuff though, and let the coaches with fire coach the games.

    1. I hear ya. You’re making me defend the guy. Which is also funny. As I’ve said, I wasn’t a fan of the hire, but? He’s here now. And I try to focus on what I think he’s doing well, or OK at, at least. That seems to be recruiting (albeit unproven, so far, but I’m holding out hope, based on what I see, hear and read). I’m not sure I’d go so far as to agree with him saying “the program’s in so, so much better shape than when I arrived” but, he may be slowly elevating the talent. Would probably have been better if he’d kept some from last year though, too.

      I think we do mostly agree. I just default to “well, they’re not idiots, and they see the kids every day.” But, that may be too generous?

      As to the practice vs. game piece? Again, maybe I’m ignorant on that, but in my experience (whether with my soccer days, travel team before it was a thing, etc.) wrestling, or tennis (tournaments, etc.), or even skiing (I wasn’t on CU’s team, but many friends were, some who were pros later), or just as a sports fan as a washed up adult, people usually practice how they play, and vice versa. Sure, there’s Allen Iverson guys here and there, but, most people, whether the likes of the true greats, like Gretzky, Jordan, Kobe and Shaq, or Brady, the Mannings, Elway, Moss, Tomlinson, Sanders, etc. are the first guys there, the last guys to leave, and beat the crap out of those who aren’t like them (and/or pull them up with them). They practice hard, and play harder.

      Maybe it’s that practicing against the D doesn’t do much, so they look great? Coaches would have to know that though, you’d think. Do they go 1s vs 1s or 1s vs 2s? I prefer the former, but… I’m no coach.

      So yeah, it’s puzzling and frustrating, and I may not agree with his style about it (the QB situation) but I default to what I started with. They know more than we do. If they don’t? Holy crap. We’re in serious trouble. And have been for decades.

      For the even keeled or emotions on the sleeve piece, I don’t really care about that. A lot of UCLA buddies from his time there called him Boring Karl. It’s his style. Maybe some would call it brooding and intense. I don’t. But, people – as you touched on – gripe if a coach is ranting and raving up and down the sidelines, too. Unless they win. Then nobody cares, nor questions their demeanor that much, if at all. Losing magnifies a lot.

      For the offensive coaches, not sure who that fiery guy is? Defense, I think Chatman? Maybe Maxie or Chance?

      For the punt? I’d have gone for it too. But, you go for it and don’t get it, and you’re a goat (not the greatest of all time). Again, I don’t buy that coaches play “not to lose”. They’re all competitive as hell. They hate to lose. They make decisions they think will help them win. Sometimes, they make the wrong decisions though.

      Anyway, like you it sounds like, I’ll always cheer for them, and won’t turn off my meager donation spigot either.

      Now, if 2023 is a repeat of the disaster I mostly now expect 2022 to be? Clean out the whole Champions Center, and start over. Maybe not the whole thing, but certainly the guys overseeing football. And please, please, please show progress this year at least, so it’s not so easy to try the next game of coaching roulette in December, 2022.

      CU should not be Kansas. And that’s basically pretty much where we are. In football. And people are starting to believe they got a guy over there, in Liepold.

      Tomorrow’s gonna be interesting. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised by a tough, well fought win by our Buffs. I don’t see it going that way though. But, I’ll watch the whole thing anyway. After a summer of smoke-free days, there’s another good one not too far away at roughly 30,000 acres in a couple days, so hiding inside watching CU and other games, may not be a total waste of my day.

      Go Buffs

      1. I won’t match your thoughtful response lol.
        The only thing I still have to quibble with is the assertion that the program is better than when he took over.
        As I recall, we had completed a promising season, had landed the best group of recruits in decades (players make plays), and went on to a 4-2 record and respectable bowl appearance. It’s only gone downhill since, under Dorrell.
        I too will witness the whole “experience” tomorrow. Then I’ll go bury myself in work 🤷🏼‍♂️

        Go Buffs!

  2. JT turns every play into a roll-out. Got it. Isn’t this offense supposed to adapt to player’s skills? How about an offense designed for the roll-out? Or at least a book of those plays so he can get calls in his comfort zone if needed?

  3. Need DH to suite up for the scout team!

    There’s been a lot of Blew criticism and cape granting to JT as a TD/int machine. I saw Blew play very well on the first couple drives, including strikes downfield to Arias. Saw terrific passes by JT with his big arm, but also some bad misses. That said, team needs a boost of energy and it should be JT for a couple games. Reassess for the UCLA game.

    Think we have decent talent, decent coaches to teach x’s & o’s. What the team needs is an inspirational leader at the top, which is not Dorrell. He is a good, smart, thoughtful man, but after an emotional & physical beatdown … tough years of losing seasons … as the team goes into battle, they need to be inspired to play beyond their talent. A higher purpose. Brotherhood? Pride? Guys like Sanford, Phil M, Chatman, maybe DH …. some coach needs to rise and get the team to play inspired football, beyond classroom x’s & o’s of KD.

  4. Clearly, or not so clearly the 2022 mighty Buffs parade before us. The fog of war. The knowing of the unknown. Pretending and speculating and pontificating. The unknowing.. Very interesting. Now the deep knowledge from the pundits, here and there pouring into the world like a wall of truth which has been waiting to rise up from the caverns of their/your mind.

    2,541 FANS………………..I’M DONE
    The ear brigade…………….they won’t win a game this year.
    RobO where did all my analysis go wrong
    Stuart.I was sold a bill of goods.

    It is so much fun. Run the Mighty Buffs football program from afar with a political science degree and shock the world.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: This performance was a shock to the coaches and the team. Something happened that was unexpected and unexplained. I am as shocked as they are.

    Note: Don’t invoke names of the past when you have already quit

    1. Nonsense.

      It was rough going 5-7, no doubt. But there was actual hope every week in close games.

      Hopefully next year will get us back to those heights, and a little beyond.

      Gotta have players. They have some. Most of whom haven’t played much, or at all, at this level.

      Go Buffs

      1. Nah,

        Go back to your last year posts before each game

        Same thing over and over

        ” they are not going to win, but I hope they do”

        yup hope.

        Just admit it, someone at CU did something bad to you and you just can’t forgive them.

        Go Buffs beat af

        1. I will admit it. They rested on their laurels of late 80s early 90s and didn’t invest in a brand that was building. And have done nothing but cut corners and be subpar since!!! So yes someone/group wronged me and I’m not forgiving them.

  5. The lack of support from the regents and administration is at the top of the list. Look how many coaches turned down the hc job last go around. Now you add in the transfer portal and nil deal and this is what you can look forward to for the foreseeable future. Don’t tell me about next year, we’ve heard that for the last 15 or 16 years. Most players that have a good year are going to bolt for a competent program as will coaches also ie. Mel Tucker. I’m tired of reading the Pollyanna’s of the world telling us we just need to have faith and that we must not be true fans. Open your eyes, Gordon Gee, Coach Mac and the gang aren’t coming back. This is the real world we live in as Buff fans now. Your podcast was spot on Stuart and I thank you for your reality check.

    1. Coaching roulette hasn’t gotten it done. As you noted. Who wants this job now? I totally agree, the admin needs to change the narrative. Benson actually understood that. I think Phil does too, but no clue on saliman.

      That’s why I say give Karl et al 2023. If that doesn’t work? Go small as football expands or step into it with a complete athletic dept overhaul and renewed funds and focus.

      Go Buffs

      1. Well said. The players jumped at the chance to play in a top 5 conference and I don’t blame them but you can see that many of them just don’t belong. It’s just a tough situation for the coaches to be in.

      1. Nonsense.

        It was rough going 5-7, no doubt. But there was actual hope every week in close games.

        Hopefully next year will get us back to those heights, and a little beyond.

        Wow. Pot. Meet kettle. Or to turn another phrase, spark of the devil. Classic.

        Go Buffs

        1. See??

          WacMac, Wac Mac

          Yur there.

          Yur amazing.

          And that great song.

          to Wac mac

          ” never gonna give you up never gonna, never gonna, never gonna give you up

          Yup a real deeellleee ooo aha

          1. That’s right. He only had the most successful run at CU since 2005 (along w/ more players into the NFL, as well). Losing to OSU was his 70-3. Hard to keep a guy after stuff like that. Going to be hard to keep Karl after this year’s done. But, they should, for reasons I’ve outlined. In a game or two, you’ll be saying someone should be fired. I ga ron tee.

            Go Buffs

          2. Such a success
            first 3 years 10 -27 and 2 and 25

            First 3 years so far
            8-11 and 6 -7

            In 6 years wacky won 14 conference games and 8 came in one year cause of the DC and his scheme and player development. Fact

            Go Buffs

          3. You’re doing it again, buddy. You’re confusing your opinion with facts. That’s ok. That’s how you roll. Been that way for as long as we’ve known you.

            We know you love Leavitt. He’s a decent coach. You know MacIntyre brought him back to college and gave him that opportunity, right? Through their relationship w/ Patrick Willis who played for both of them. And Mac wanted a 3-4 defense. To fit the personnel he had recruited.

            Where’s Leavitt coaching now? Maybe he’s just biding his time to come back to Boulder?

            Enjoy your weekend w/ the fam.

            Go Buffs

          4. Horse poopy yur rewriting your dream again.

            Yur writing a fantasy Macs defense sucked and he was a defensive coach supposedly

            He was lucky he came here cause he didn’t have too.

            Too bad wac drove him away cause he was gonna fire him before he quit

            He caused the winning season
            Mac couldn’t give him ANY credit

            Loyalty to a loser is you bud. I showed you his record

            anyway I will have a nice time

            Buffs win

  6. My pessimism for this season grows. It’s going to be rough. The upgraded coaching staff of great teachers, and best offseason ever, isn’t going to help w/ out having good QB play.

    Karl and Mike see them play every day. They’re smart guys who know football. If there was a clear better option, you don’t think they’d take it? I believe they would.

    B-lew and JT have different strengths and weaknesses, so I think it’s a matter of picking their “best chance” and rolling with it. B-lew doesn’t seem to see the field, and sometimes short hops throws. But he plays within the offense. JT has a way better arm, and sees the field, but he bails on the plays too soon, which can be counterproductive.

    I won’t be surprised to see either one start Saturday, at this point. I’m also curious if they’ll keep rotating both, or roll with just one? A case can be made for any/all options, really.

    The secondary’s going to get fried w/ their missed open field tackles for most of the year. That’s pretty normal for a young group. With way less full speed, full contact practices these days, that’s a tough learning curve. They’ll get there though. Reminds me of the 2016 graduating class, when they were freshmen and sophomores.

    I do hold out hope for 2023. It’s not the staff. They’re fine. They’re implementing a new offensive system, and modified defense, too. With a young, largely inexperienced roster. It’s hard to win games, when you can’t win your one on one matchups.

    I wasn’t a fan of the Dorrell hire, but he’s here. I’m not convinced a “change of voice” (or scheme, or play calling etc.) does anything to improve beyond what Karl and Co should be able to do in 2023.

    He’s got his guys. He’s got his system (and they’ll have had a season and two off seasons to teach/learn it). He’ll have a QB, whether it’s Owen – who he thinks very highly of – or a vastly improved B-Lew, JT, or maybe some stud transfer (he said laughing). That Staub kid looks to be able to add more quality depth, as well. WR’s will be fine. RB’s who knows? But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, and the OL should return almost everyone.

    It’s going to be a rough season.

    2023? There’s reason for hope. Really. Karl’s job is just to keep them all together, and build the roster with transfers as he can.

    If 2023 is more of the same? Clean house.

    Go Buffs

    PS – I wonder where I’ll spend my $50? I may just have them send it to you, Stu. You deserve a few beers for all your time, energy and effort that we benefit from. Heck, Rob can buy you some in person, sounds like, so that’d be cool.

    1. Mostly agree with you. Especially on the topic of the secondary players and their poor tackling being a sore spot the entire season.

      At this point i suspect choice of QB vs Air Force has more to do with “locker room” than it does with anything else. Changing a QB is always hard. It’s not like changing any other position. When i watched the film again, Lewis did a lot of good things. And then he did a lot of “bad but in a subtle way” things: missing open deep receivers in favor of checkdowns, holding on the ball just a bit longer than he should, slow release on quick throws, etc.

      If nothing else here is why I think Shrout should start: he pressures the defense deep and that forces defenses to not crowd the box quite as much as when Lewis is in there. Karl’s offensive philosophy is very old school run-to-win type shit that has been abandoned by more successful coaches by now. But here he is, chugging along with that concept (and bringing in guys that Sanford that agree with him). And that run-to-win silliness requires you be able to run, and that requires not running into an 8-man box, and that requires a QB that will throw deep. All that points to Shrout, even if Lewis is better at not bailing early, and better at RPOs and a better scrambler.

      1. Good points. We will see what the coaches see, every day. Hopefully. Gotta have a qb. Back in the day, it was less important than now. And CU had some ok ones. Slash was way ahead of his time.

        Koy was probably the last true qb CU has had. Qb matters.

        Go Buffs

    2. Sadly the bet looks better now than I ever anticipated. I think if Shrout plays we play much better. The defense gave up, and I do ‘t blame them. If Lewis is allowed to play like crap and keep his starting job, why should I bust my ass? If Lewis starts at Airforce or even comes in before half time this season is going to get bad, read bad as in Embree bad becuase the players are going to give up.

      1. I am really curious to see if shrout really is the answer, or just a turnover factory one opposing d’s figure out how to disrupt patterns and make him leave the pocket. Dude is a way better passer, no doubt. And he isn’t a statue, either. I am not sure how well he actually runs the offense though. And that seems important to Karl.

        Go Buffs

    3. Eric, I generally agree with your comments, but I disagree on something here:
      I don’t believe the coaches are fine. Specifically because they insist on playing guys (and choosing plays?) that apparently look great in practice, but fail in games. They are FAR too slow to adjust. Blew evidently plays a ton better in practice, and always has. JT CLEARLY gave a much greater chance to score. How can they be neck and neck in practice, with blew ahead, unless blew simply plays far under his practice abilities. I don’t see any other credible explanation, and this includes all of last year. (His bowl game appearance was evidently all adrenaline and beginner’s luck.). Yet Blew has seen the only chances on the field that matter.
      Add in bonehead coaching like passing on getting the first points and punting to seal the loss.
      The coaches, particularly dorrell, say all the right things after practice and outside of games. (Caveat – his post game presser made me want to absolutely vomit). Unfortunately, Dorrell, like BLew, are NOT gamers. They’re practice heroes.

      1. Hey J,

        Basically? My overall premise – as you’ve probably gathered – is that the players have way more to do w/ winning and losing than the coaches, scheme, in game “chess match” aka adjustments, etc. Coaching can make a difference (good and bad) but mostly on the margins. There are of course exceptions, but in general, I believe that’s the case.

        We’ve had a lot of different coaches over the years, and those that won more had more NFL dudes.

        So with that, I think “most” coaches are fine. Including Karl et al.

        CU’s had a string of decent, but not great, coaches. Obviously, some better at certain aspects than others, but in general, pretty mediocre since McCartney.

        In college, unlike the NFL where talent is more balanced and spread out because they made the rules that way, the teams w/ the best players win. They do in the NFL too, but there’s so much more parity w/ talent, that helps mix things up.

        Just look at the BCS and CFP eras. What coaches were in there for the natty? Not many. Particularly in the CFP era. In the CFP era, it’s been what, like six guys? Maybe gets to 8 or ten or twelve if you include the BCS? And that’s who played in them, not just won them. Winning pares it down a bit more. Out of 130, per year?

        In the NFL, if you go back 20yrs there’s something like 15 super bowl winning coaches, and Belichick has six or whatever. And? We know who his QB was (along w/ some studs around him). And that’s not including the losing coaches. That’s another wide and varied group. Out of 32 teams.

        So to me, it could be Mora or Sark, or Karl, or Rick, or Barnett, or Mike, or Leavitt, or Saban, and without the players, it won’t matter much. They can run the spread, hybrid, pro-style, option, whatever. Won’t matter.

        Players have to win their one on one matchups. If the talent level is equal? It still comes down to execution. If everyone is equally talented, and executing their assignments correctly? Coaching, and some trickeration can make a difference.

        I think CU needs some continuity. I think Karl’s actually recruited better than his star ratings suggest. I can’t say that for sure, b/c we haven’t seen most of them play. They’re mostly freshmen and sophomores. But that’s my sense. So, IF that’s right, AND he can get them to stay together, grow, learn and develop, they can turn this thing around.

        And in that vein, I – again, for no reason other than my opinion – think McCown can be a special player. Dude’s soaked in football his entire life. Literally. And, he’s got some athleticism and a good arm, as well. I wonder if he can take the beating of a D1 QB, but DNA may be in his favor there. His Dad’s body lasted well. Plus, they should be able to get him to 200lbs in a year, w/ good weight, strength, etc. Hopefully.

        Plus, as we’ve seen, Rick and Lance (and Bohn before them) have whiffed on some of their top candidates, and the top choice that Mike did get, couldn’t get it done in Boulder. So, for now, I’ll take the devil we know, vs. the one we don’t. For the 2023 season. Hiring is hard. Hiring a winning football coach is harder.

        As to Karl’s double secret QB stuff? I guess that’s just his style. I doubt any/either scare any other defensive staff, more than the other, or cause them more practice time preparing for both/either. But that’s his call in how he wants to handle it. And, I have to trust their eyes, even though we have now seen 13.5 games from Brendon and .5 of JT, that they both need work, that neither’s a clear front-runner. And, to me, my best guess is they’re torn between the two. If they weren’t, they’d go w/ one guy.

        As others have posited, JT could be more dynamic, and move the ball, and get some TD’s with his arm, quicker reads and delivery, but, he could also yield some pick sixes. I guess maybe we’ll find out?

        Go Buffs

        PS – I am, however, glad they also whiffed on Lake. Dodged a bullet there, it seems. And, I had liked him too. Because of his recruiting.

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