I've decided to distract myself from gawking at the smoldering ruin that was my 401K by researching a bit about the Buffaloes. Before the year, I would have been pleased to leave Boulder with a last second field goal for the win. The game set up well for them for a host of reasons. Right now I can't say I'm overly concerned about the Buffs. Partly that's us, a lot of that is them. Still, this is the team last year that beat OU...and lost to Iowa State. That's a high beta. I respect that sort of willful inconsistency.
They're 3-1 right now, but that W/L ratio won't hold. Their OL will though. All three of them.
Season to Date:
Colorado St 38-17 W
Eastern Washington 31-24 W
West Virginia 17-14 W
Florida State 21-39 L
West Virginia and Florida State are obviously not what their name brand suggests. Their struggle with Eastern Washington is puzzling - Colorado trailed 21-7 at halftime and needed 14 points and a last second interception return for a touchdown to win. They defecated their pants in Florida and allowed a Florida State team QBed by a finite number of monkeys to dominate them with defense, a running game, and special teams. The same FSU team Wake held to a field goal. Colorado fans blame their sluggish play on flatlands humidity and their inability to rally after the devastating news about Lehman Brothers.
This is a very mediocre Buffalo team that will be fortunate to go 4-4 in the Big 12 Norte.
Starting OT Ryan Miller - arguably their most dynamic OL - is the latest loss. He fractured his fibula against FSU. His replacement is a RS Frosh named Matt Bahr and he'll line up next to another RS Frosh at OG. LT Nate Solder is 6'9" 300. So basically, Dexter Pittman plays LT for Colorado. C Daniel Sanders is a post-season awards candidate and their only senior. They've run blocked well this year, but pass protection has been very suspect.
At WR, Colorado has Darrell Scott's uncle WR Josh Smith. He is his own grandpa. That's their receiving corps. He's a speedy guy and a major threat on special teams when he's not fumbling like a buffoon. TE Riar Greer will factor into their gameplan for reasons I'll get into later.
Dan Hawkins gave the keys of his offense to son Cody and like any good college kid, Cody has wrapped that motherfucker around a lamp post. Cody is 5-11 190 with a weakish arm. He makes up for it by not being a running threat. Every now and then you seem him throw an amazing ball, but before you've finished rubbing your eyes to see if it really happened, he hits a line judge in the buttock with an errant throw and calls out, "Sorrrrrrrrrrryyyyy, Daaaaad!"
The RB grouping has good talent: Rodney Stewart, Darrell Scott, Demetrius Sumler. Little Rodney Stewart is the surprise starter and he's been extemely productive. He's small and squirty. Like Cytherea. Don't Google that on your work computer. He had 273 yards combined against WVU and FSU. Darrell Scott is immensely talented but just can't get it together -- he's dinged and running without much patience. Sumler is a good power option. Many Longhorns want Darrell Scott in the game so Brian Orakpo can bury his helmet in his throat, but I'm pretty sanguine about it all. The Mack Brown Recruiting Curse will work in time.
Philosophically, Colorado has no real offensive philosophy. Hawkins coaches like water - he fills whatever vessel the defense presents. Unfortunately, their output has been a trickle.
Analysis: They are compromised on the OL, have one receiver, a questionable QB, and fine RBs. Colorado is going to pound the ball between the tackles, half-roll Hawkins for quick throws to TE Riar Greer, screen with their backs, and max protect to take shots down the field with Josh Smith. That's it. If they have some success pounding the ball, they could prove pesky to our defense as it will force us to commit to stopping the run and leave our youngsters exposed to play action. We'll see some trick plays because it's The Hawk and he needs something to get the juices going. If we can inflict any negative plays, it's over. They might as well punt on 2nd and 14. The name of their game needs to be ball control. Our offense will play such a key role in this. If they fall behind early and have to throw on every down, it should get ugly.
The Colorado defense isn't bad, but they're not a pressure group. The DL is very solid against the run and George Hypolite is a legit All-Big 12 guy. None of their front four pass rushes particularly well. West Virgina was able to run on them a bit, but they're West Virginia. What's disconcerting for CU is that FSU ran on them.
LB is OK and not up to CU standards. They miss Jordan Dizon. Their guys are well coached and very active, but none of them are going to manhandle anyone.
The secondary is very competent. Both CBs can run but they're smallish: they go 5'7 180 and 5'11 165. We'll present some problems for them after the catch.
Analysis: They don't pressure the passer well. We're a precision passing team. If they blitz extra men, I like Colt's chances on the run. They should handle our running game and their secondary is competent enough to challenge the Shipley/Cosby/McCoy mind meld. We're not going to score 52 points, but it would take poor execution for them to keep us below 27.
Josh Smith will probably run back a kick for a TD and drop a ball on their 5 yard line. So the net/net exchange is zero.
Colorado will be at home in a night game. The fans will be raucous early, but if Colorado starts to lose they'll start playing hackeysack and listen to Phish on their Ipods.
Altitude. Well, apparently it is determined by your attitude. I learned that in a team-building exercise. So if you arrive in Boulder with an attitude of oxygenation, you won't be impacted. This is how Tenzing Norgay conquered Everest: with an attitude of oxygenated thoughts.
Colorado OL. This is a problem for them. If Colorado tries to throw the ball on too many obvious passing downs, The Hawk will Mike Martz his own son.
Hawk Kwan Do. Not a problem. Sergio Kindle knows The FootFist Way.
I feel good about the game. It should be fun and we'll learn some more stuff about the team. What are your thoughts?