“What Now?”

In the post-game press conference after the double-overtime loss to Stanford, Coach Prime wasn’t sure what to say. Never one to shy away from a microphone, CU’s head coach wasn’t silent, but he was dumbfounded.

“They gotta make up their mind, are they in love with this game or like it,” Sanders said. “When you love something, you give to it unconditionally. You give everything you got to it. But when you like it, that’s just a button you push.”

After a bye week of soul-searching, CU’s theme of the week from Coach Prime for the UCLA game was “What Now?”

“What you gonna with your now?” he said to the team at practice this past Tuesday. “We have a limited number of games to do what we planned on doing. It still can be done, but we need to understand what now? How do we practice now? How do we go about preparation now? How do we study now? How do we lift now? How do we take care of bodies now? How do we get here on time now? How do we hold each other accountable now? What are we gonna do with our now? That’s very important, that’s very vital.”

At Wednesday’s practice, Coach Prime made a passionate plea to his team: “Championship teams don’t let bull junk slide,” Sanders said. “If you’ve ever been on a championship team, youth all the way up, they don’t let bull junk slide. The stuff y’all letting slide ain’t going to make you a champion. If you keep letting it slide, you are not going to win nothing.”

Motivational speeches are one thing … having talented players across the roster is another.

CU’s deficiencies in the trenches were again exposed, with quarterback Shedeur Sanders running for his life most of the UCLA game. The final score was 28-16, but the score was not indicative of how inept the Buff offensive line has become. The official numbers for Sanders: 27-for-43 passing, for 217 yards and a touchdown, together with 13 rushes for a minus-20 yards.

The unofficial numbers … 24 pressures; 17 hits; 13 knockdowns; seven sacks.

The Colorado rushing “attack”, with the sacks counted in, finished with 25 yards on 24 carries. The longest carry of the night was a 13-yard scramble by Sanders. CU’s “leading” rusher was Alton McCaskill, who had 14 yards on two carries, with both carries coming in garbage time during CU’s lone touchdown drive.

“What now” for the CU offensive line?

There is no mid-season transfer portal. There are no trades which can be made. The offensive line roster is what it is, and there won’t be any new players added before the end of the season.

The game plan for playing against Colorado is now well-established. The Buffs have no rushing attack, so defenders only have to worry about being beat by the arm of Shedeur Sanders. Put pressure on Sanders before he can get rid of the ball, and the CU offense can be controlled.

Now, the UCLA defense came into the game first in the nation in rushing defense, ninth in the nation in sacks, 11th in the nation in total defense, and 10th in the nation in scoring defense. With CU’s inability to run the ball, and inability to protect the passer, the game unfolded in a predictable manner.

But should it have?

“What now” for the offensive coaching staff? 

The Buffs came out with a solid game plan, and marched smartly down the field. Three straight incompletions in the red zone, though, forced the Buffs to settle for a field goal (which should have been a blocked kick for a touchdown. I still don’t know how that kick wasn’t blocked … or how CU could have a kick block team which let the UCLA defender come in untouched).

After Travis Hunter gave the CU offense the ball right back on UCLA’s first possession, the CU offense had a chance to make a real statement. Instead, the Buffs again had to settle for a field goal.

Midway through the first quarter, the Buffs had a 6-0 lead … but could have been up 14-0.

The rest of the game, the UCLA defense harassed Shedeur Sanders relentlessly, and the Colorado coaching staff had no answers.

Will the coaching staff, which had two weeks to prepare for UCLA’s defense, have a better game plan as the calendar turns to November?

“What now” for the Colorado defense? 

The Buff defense did surrender 28 points and 487 total yards … but they did enough to win the game.

It was still a one-score game, 14-9, heading into the fourth quarter, and the Buffs, who hadn’t forced a turnover in the past two games, came up with four turnovers in the first half against UCLA.

Travis Hunter is an exceptional talent, and the Buffs had a good game plan against the Bruins. Yes, the defense wore down in the second half, but it played well enough to win the game.

UCLA’s seven first half possessions: two interceptions; two fumbles; one touchdown; one punt; and a missed chip shot field goal.

Give the Buff Nation four more first half performances like that in November … and CU will have a chance to win some games.

“What now” for the national perception of Colorado football?

Success at Colorado this year was never going to be measured in the way it will be at other Pac-12 programs like Oregon, Utah, USC or Washington. Still, Sanders laid out a high standard when he arrived and reiterated that this past Tuesday.

“My expectations are lofty,” he said. “So, you know darn well how the season is going with my expectations. It depends on your expectation. You can’t mix my expectation and your expectations because they don’t coincide. You know what mine are. I know where I feel like we should be record-wise and I know what we can accomplish.”

Colorado has gone from 3-0 and nationally ranked to 4-4 and nationally ridiculed.

The national attention will still be there. The Oregon State game will be nationally televised on ESPN. The Washington State game, a Friday night game, will be nationally televised on FS1. The finale on the road against Utah will also attract a national network (the only remaining November game, against Arizona, will likely have to be on the Pac-12 Networks. Each team is required to be on the Pac-12 Networks at least twice each season. That has never been a problem for CU before … but either the home game against Arizona on the regular season finale on the road against Utah will be banished to the Pac-12 Networks).

With the national attention will come continued national scrutiny. The nation’s media probably aren’t familiar with CU’s collapse in 2018, but we’ll start hearing about it as the losses pile up. The parallels to that season, when the 5-2 Buffs blew a 31-3 lead against Oregon State, going on to lose the last five games of the season to finish 5-7, will be too difficult to avoid if CU can’t find a November win.

“What now?” was the question Coach Prime asked of his players this past week.

“What now?” indeed …


18 Replies to ““What Now?””

  1. I believe this staff, like every other coaching staff before them, knows the deficiencies of this team and each player within it.

    I believe this staff, especially coach prime, unlike any of the coaches and staffs before them, has the wherewithal to bring in the players to fix those deficiencies.

    Need linemen? Hey, come block for this offense that has dudes at every position, but the line. Those 300 lb dudes who run a 4.8 40 are comin’. Best believe.

    Easier to get them now that there is some evidence of what this offense can be, vs during the off-season before the season.

    Same with the d. Four more to go. These eight have all been fun to watch, other than uo. They can get two more. We’ll see if they do.

    Go Buffs

  2. more heresy
    Remembering it being said that the Lewis O at Kent was run oriented. The actual word may have been “run heavy.” Is this all on Prime? After all Shedeur is his kid. Shedeur will head to the pros anyway. Kind of Ironic this time the QB is outstanding compared to last coach’s qb kid. The team results still arent what we would like.

  3. Would like to see Deion own some of the O line deficiencies as the guy in charge. He built the team from the “outside in” and at one time I believe he had 15(?) wide receivers on the roster. And the team has offensive linemen from FCS, JC, and lower tier FBS. And chased off linemen who are now starting for other Power 5 programs. The linemen are who they are and are not going to magically get bigger and stronger over the next 4 games. At this point, Prime runs the risk of getting Shedeur seriously hurt. I’m not an X’s and O’s guy but , being Captain Obvious here, it seems like the only answer over the next four games is for Lewis to design some very different plays. Then after the season, focus on getting the talent on the lines along with letting the line coaches go.

  4. Buffs love to hear the tv announcers tell the audience what a great game plan the offensive coordinator put together on the bye week. The defense has been on their heels all day. They just do not know what offensive call will be next. Keep them questing. That reverse was awesome. The quarterback roll out where he could pass or run was a thing of beauty. Just great timing for those calls. Creativity, imagination, balance, and timing. You got to tip your hat to the coordinator.

  5. If Lance Leipold can build a bowl eligible team at Kansas, Coach Prime can do it in Boulder. We’ll get there and it’s becoming clearer that he isn’t leaving until Colorado has accomplished something great.

  6. One of the main reasons for this mostly disappointing season is the Offensive Coordinator. How can you run an offense without the use of a running game ? The answer is, of course, you really can’t.
    Coach Prime must of brainwashed him to believing that Shedur and Hunter are all that is needed to have a successful year.

  7. The run game is ok. They don’t need to design new plays, they already have them. The o-line is a little better at run blocking. There are good RBs. The coaches just need to commit to it for more than the first 1 or 2 drives. Up-tempo helps. Otherwise I’m not sure if Shadeur can make it through the season.

  8. Hot garbage on the O-line. New OL coach every year and the same result, crap play, getting worse against better teams. D-line better for sure. Prime, please focus on the trenches. The skill players are great, however you win at the line of scrimmage!

  9. I think Prime hit on another problem when he said “do you like it or love it?”
    When they were 3 and 0 to begin all the hype and head swelling attention began to disappear with the losses. CSU should have been an in their face warning but but wasn’t. They thought their “resilience would carry them forward.(coaches as well).
    I also thought I saw a big drop in moral right after the UCLA two play touchdown to open the second half. Both WRs were wider open and the Secondary looked disorganized and/or not ready to play. For the rest of the second half they made a barely average QB look great.
    If I was on the team, O or D, the one page play book would have me shaking my head…or feeling we were banging our head against the wall. Lewis (and Prime?)has shown he is either unwilling or unable to expand it even for a simple design roll out to give Shedeur a couple more precious seconds. The only time he left the pocket without getting splattered when he barely escaped getting splattered. and that escape usually ended in a sack anyway.
    How much more are we going to see the Einstein theory of failure?

  10. Need to commit to the run game, one or two guys as the bell cows. Prime says they don’t because it’s not successful but they seem to do pretty well on those few times when they try it, especially with Hank and Alton. They have to commit to the run even if they’re being stuffed some, because it will open up the offense as the game goes on. And how is that worse than #2 getting sacked for a loss of 5 yards or having to throw the ball away time after time? At this point might as well try it because what they’re doing ain’t working. If not for the four turnovers, this would have been an absolute rout.

    1. Excluding Sheddeur, the Buffs were 11-44 in the rushing game. A reasonable 4yds/carry. This isn’t anemic. It’s quite ok. BUT Lewis doesn’t have fun with it, so we let Shed get killed instead.

  11. Stuart at some point the question has to be asked: does this offensive line “coach” actually know how to coach? Does he know how to scheme? Does he know how to adjust? Same for the supposedly great offensive coordinator. Since the Nebraska game, we have been largely inept.

    1. Hey they are both from kent state
      fastest in the country
      running attack
      high scoring

      Guess it doesn’t work at this level.

      regardless get the damn 2 wins

  12. P.S. may not be a bad idea to catch some film on Air Force…they apparently have been effective with undersized o-lines every year. Maybe adjust some offense to the personnel, until upgrading interior lines with recruiting and portaling with at least as much fervor as the skill positions.

    1. Here is Air Force’s competition: Robert Morris (the school, not the guy), Sam Houston (ditto), Utah State, San Jose State, SanDiego State, Wyoming, Navy & Colorado State

      Colorado: TCU, Nebraska, Colorado State, Oregon, USC, Arizona State, Stanford & UCLA

      Not really an apples to apples comparison. Air Force is good, don’t get me wrong, but put them in Colorado’s Schedule and this may not be the offensive line to emulate. IMO, the real answer is get better offensive linemen.

  13. What now? As OC, I would create, develop, and install 3 or 4 simple running plays involving very basic, rudimentary straight ahead high school level, push-the-guy-across-from-you backwards…practice until you can do it without thinking, and allow the RB to find seams, cracks, holes, and maybe keep defenses a bit honest, give Shedeur an extra second or 2, and hopefully keep the poor guy from getting killed. Obviously I’m not the OC, so continue the same strategy and nevermind.

  14. Well now where are the Mighty Buffs. Last year finished 1-11. This year worse case 4-8. ( Not what was wished, hoped and prayed and dreamed of. Dusty!)
    But is there a But?

    Shedeur is a hero, but without him this hyped Kent state offense is a ZERO 4 plays and only 4 plays…………….with the most used one is…………….sack Shedeur
    Dismal ……………no fix…………..change. In Sight??

    The Luggage.
    Big deal made about the influx of Louie.
    Lot of that “Louie” is either counterfeit Louie or Samsonite tagged as Louie. Alot!!!!!

    So Bucky you record the same players over and over. No one new. Yur predictable like the Kent State offense being run by yur dad.

    Yup oline is bad and they sent packing 2 oline that are starting for other power 5 schools………..Hmmm.

    Father coach, son quarterback is not an easy deal. Win or lose.

    Buff transfer portal in December
    Gonna be busy with leavers
    Hope it is busy with incomers. ( Real Louie’s this time please)

    Go Buffs
    2 home games, Wind em both equals a bowl………………yehaaaaaaa Buffalo

    1. Only thing that will save cu this year is that you can’t transfer twice for free. Deion calling out offensive line and saying that they’re all going to be replaced is not a good look. Who wants to play for a guy that throws his players under the bus?

      Just run the ball. Even if it’s stuffed regularly. And a bubble screen is not a run.

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