October 5, 2011

Campus Questions: Colorado Buffaloes

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By Willys DeVoll
CU-Boulder Campus


o get the inside scoop on Pac-12 newcomer Colorado, we asked Dave from–one of the best independent college sports sites you’ll find–a few questions about the Buffs and how they might stack up against the Card this Saturday afternoon. would like to invite all Stanford fans to check out their pick ’em contest, where you predict the score of the Stanford-CU game for a chance to win an Amazon gift card.

Colorado is 1-4 and coming off a 4-point home loss to Washington State. Has the season thus far been better, worse or exactly as expected?

Right now I’d have to say worse. We always expect to beat Colorado State and we did that while showing some signs of life including a 10+ minute 4th quarter drive where we simply overpowered them. But honestly losing to Wazzu at home with a backup QB at the helm, when we were up 10 with 5 minutes to go? Not good. Most realistic fans expected our record to be between 3-2 (CSU a given and two out of Hawaii, Cal, WSU) and 2-3. Anyone talking about 4-1 or 5-0 was freebasing Kool-Aid.

Who has been CU’s offensive MVP? Defensive MVP?

Tough to say we have any at this point; Paul Richardson torched the Cal Bears for 300 yards receiving and then disappeared for 2 games. The run game behind Rodney Stewart was supposed to be a focus and we haven’t run well at all. QB play has been mediocre, and to tie this all together the O-line is a mash unit. Richardson clearly has the most potential on offense but we need him to step up. On defense the front seven has played reasonably well but no one has really distinguished themselves there either. I suppose the biggest revelation has been [linebacker] Doug Rippy. Doug dropped about 20 lbs coming into camp and that has translated into a much faster and more effective player. Rippy will play on Sundays.

The play of senior quarterback Tyler Hansen has been…

In a word: serviceable. Tyler used to be a huge threat with his feet, mostly because he took off running too soon. He’s quelled that instinct but hasn’t shown us that he is a guy who can consistently put the team on his back. Not that much of this is really his fault: he was yanked around by the old staff, had his red-shirt burned twice, and was repeatedly benched for the coach’s kid. Not really a way to develop a QB. Add to that we’ve lost all but two of our starters on the O-line and we’ve had our third string tackle see significant game action and you really don’t have an environment that supports great QB play. Hansen never was going to be Nick Foles but developed properly he could have been Jordan Wynn.

How would you summarize new head coach Jon Embree’s approach to football and the current team?

Jon has spent the past 6 or so years in the NFL and he treats his guys that way. He caught a lot of flack this week for a rather colorful post game presser last week, but it was vintage NFL head coach bitching about his players being soft. Whether or not that flies in college football is another story altogether, but after 5 years of hearing “just a couple plays away” and gems like “got to tweak the little things” from Hawkins most CU fans appreciate the candor.

Opponents are outscoring Colorado by 6 points per game in 2011. What’s the biggest factor contributing to that discrepancy?

Colorado not scoring enough points.

In all seriousness the issues are multifaceted. Someone termed the coin “hawkruiting” last week and the issues start there. [Former Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins] recruited 2 types of people: great students who were decent athletes and character risks that were monster athletes. Unfortunately most of the latter never made grades and got kicked out of school for discipline issues. Of the 4 and 5 star recruits Dan pulled in we have a tiny handful left. Failure to keep those guys and to develop other talent is at the root of our issues. We simply don’t have enough players. Add five years of Pollyanna football to it and the team is missing that closer instinct. Those two are a deadly combination.

How susceptible are CU players to the distractions of playing on the road? Will Saturday’s game play out differently than it would if it were played in, say, Kansas?

Please do not talk about Kansas. We blew a 28-point lead to them in the 4th quarter last year. I’ll let you and your readers draw your own conclusions: We have not won a game outside of the state of Colorado since 2007.

Should the Stanford offense look to exploit the CU pass defense or the run defense?

As mentioned before, on defense our front 7 is pretty good. Our secondary will likely contain: not 1 but 2 converted running backs, one with a game under his belt, a converted WR also with one game under his belt, and a true freshman. The other starting safety is coming off a blown knee last year. You have Andrew Luck. I think a Cal fan could have answered this question.

What will have to happen for Colorado to pull off the upset?

Several things will have to go very, very wrong for you. A Chernobyl-level set of chain reactions and oversights resulting in Stanford only being up 2 late, then turning the ball over late in their own territory where we can kick a field goal. Barring that: hell freezing over.

What’s your final prediction for the game?

An excellent tailgate, introduction of Fred steak to the Colorado natives, and the Fighting Trees beating The Colorado Golden Buffaloes 49-14.

Thanks, Dave!

(Headline image courtesy of Wikipedia)

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About the Author

Willys DeVoll
Willys DeVoll is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Axe. He writes about Stanford sports for and writes fiction, reviews and commentary elsewhere.


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