Download the pdf version here… pdf version of Colorado Writeup
Opponent: Colorado Buffaloes
Kickoff: 7:00 PM
The nightmare continues…
About the Miss. St. game…
We just aren’t a very good football team right now. Watching the Bama-Arkansas game right before ours I had pretty well convinced myself that we were actually a pretty decent team and that Arkansas was really good. They might still be, but we aren’t. We got manhandled in the 2nd half and it was embarrassing. There’s just not a lot to say about it. Oh yeah, the 7 o’clock game meant my whole Saturday wasn’t ruined, which was a nice departure from the last two noon kickoffs that pretty well ended my day before it began.
The Good: Aaron Murray was pretty much the only positive I saw. That kid is a gamer. I just wish the coaching staff gave him more of an opportunity by moving the pocket some, staying away from as much play action as we run and giving him some more high percentage throws like screens and quick outs to pull the coverage and rush back some.
The Bad: A lot. Our running game is as bad as I can remember it being. We can’t generate any type of push on offense. Our running backs don’t seem to be gamebreakers at all. On defense we can’t seem to get off the field or pick up that one huge play. Our lack of pass rush is shocking at this point. We still have tackling issues. There seems to be no fire at all amongst the players. We look like we know we’re a bad football team and don’t really care, and that’s really, really sad.
The Interesting: Play action…Figured I’d follow back up on that. We threw a LOT more from the shotgun this week. We called a passing play from shotgun 29 times Saturday, including penalty plays that were lost, sacks, scrambles, etc. and according to my charting, just one used play action. Under center play calls was a different story. Of the 10 pass plays called under center, all utilized play action. 3 ended in scrambles and Murray was 4 of 7 on the plays he actually got a pass off. So in 2 weeks we’ve had 34 pass plays called under center and 31 of them were play action. I’ve felt for years that it seemed like we never did straight drops but I didn’t expect it to be this stark.
- Colorado doesn’t sport an explosive offense but they do present a balanced attack. On the year they are averaging just under 150 ypg rushing the ball and around 185 ypg through the air. Their total offense ranks 86th nationally and scoring offense ranks 96th, so they’ve yet to really produce. Given the high-powered offenses Hawkins ran at Boise State and the fact he’s had several years to install his system, the results are particularly surprising.
- Awesome, Colorado has a QB who can run the ball. Where have we seen that? This guy is pretty mobile but his yardage stats get suppressed by the number of sacks he typically takes. I don’t suppose we need to worry about that this week though. He went down 33 times for a sack last year and through 3 games this season he’s gone down 8 times already. A junior, he’s got considerable experience, is completing over 60% of his passes and a 4/4 TD/INT ratio. I fully expect a career day from him rushing the ball.
- Slight (5-6, 175) Jr. Rodney Stewart has gotten the bulk of the carries on the year but isn’t averaging 4 ypc on the season. As a team they don’t have a run of 20 yards on the year. I will say that while we don’t seem to be able to stop people from picking up that key 2 or 3 yards on 3rd and short we have held running games largely in check for everyone not named Lattimore and looking back at his average, he got his yardage off of that massive number of carries…coupled of course with the fact we refused to tackle him.
- Their base set is 3 WRs and their run tendencies tell you this is that spread to run offense that you see a fair amount of nowadays, the one Hawkins employed at Boise State. They spread the ball around a lot, with 8 guys averaging a catch or more per game. Sr. Scotty McKnight is averaging nearly 5 receptions per game. At 5-11, 185 let’s hope he doesn’t get to run free as much as Bumphis did last weekend. He’s their career receptions leader which has gotta be good for something at a school that produced Michael Westbrook and Rae Carruth. I actually meant that seriously but as I was typing it I realized one of those is quite possibly best known for sucker-punching a teammate (Stephen Davis of the Redskins) and the other is best known for having his 8-month pregnant girlfriend gunned down in a drive-by. OK, fine, Westbrook is best known for the Hail Mary from Kordell Stewart to beat Michigan but I always think of the sucker punch.
- After the MSU OL pretty much ran at will the 2nd half last week I don’t have a lot of confidence that we’re going to just shut teams down or get a ton of pressure. Sorry, that’s the case. Colorado starts 4 upperclassmen along the OL with a r-Fr RT being the only blip.
- Bottom Line: This isn’t a great offense. They scored 24 against Colorado State (who gave up 51 to Nevada and 31 to Miami, OH) and 31 to Hawaii (who gave up 28 to Army). I’m not saying we’re a great defense by any means but we’re a huge step up from what they’ve faced. They only managed 7 against Cal, a team that gave up 50+ to Nevada. They aren’t a particularly good passing team but they can’t be worse than Mississippi State. In fact they remind me a lot of MSU in their approach. Spread the field, run the ball, pass if called for, don’t do anything great. We’ve just got to man up. 3rd down conversions are going to be huge. We couldn’t get MSU off the field in the 2nd half and it killed us. It kept the crowd fired up and involved. 1,500 miles from home I’d rather go ahead and hush the crowd with a flurry of early game turnovers (by them), but maybe I just expect too much. I haven’t won the lottery yet either.
- Key Matchup to watch when they have the ball: We’ve gotten blown around on short yardage plays so far so I’m going to be paying close attention to the middle of our line. I hope to see Geathers in there some but I don’t care who it is, we’ve got to start making some plays there.
- CU is stout against the run, 7th in the country, although playing the two teams currently ranked last in the FBS in rushing (Hawaii and Colorado State) certainly helps. Their passing defense is considerably less stout, yielding over 240 yards per game. They did manage to hold Hawaii to 13 points but this year’s Hawaii team isn’t as explosive as it has been. They run a standard 4-3 front.
- The CU DL is pretty small. Left DE Josh Hartigan is listed at 6-1, 225. I’m assuming he must be some hybrid DE/LB but his backup weighs 260, so who knows. Former UGA commit Conrad Obi is a backup DT now as a junior.
- The LBs for the Buffs rotate a good bit. 5 of the team’s top 10 tacklers are LBs. Not much else to say about them really beyond the fact they can obviously play to be the 7th best run defense in the country.
- The CU secondary is actually pretty solid. They like to stick their nose in the backfield, where SS Anthony Perkins leads the team in tackles by a large margin. 2nd in that category is another DB in FS Ray Polk. Unlike the LBs, the secondary doesn’t rotate much at all, as three guys have played all 173 snaps on the year. The other guy only got in on 171 snaps. CB Jalil Brown is probably the most talented of the bunch. Both starting CBs are at least 6-1, 205.
- Bottom Line: We need to develop some identity on offense. It’s like Bobo wants us to be a run-first bunch that allows us to key the passing game off of that but right now our OL is struggling to open up holes of any size and our RBs can’t seem to break a tackle. That’s a horrible combination. While I’m sure Bobo will try and establish the run early I think we need to throw it early, establish AJ as part of the gameplan, allow Durham and King to work off him and get back to the running game as we start to make them respect the pass. It’s like the anti-play action so it’ll never happen but a fellow can dream can’t he?
- Key matchup to watch when we have the ball: AJ vs. Jalil Brown should be a good matchup. AJ has had some of his biggest games in opponents’ stadiums out west, Arkansas last year and Arizona State as a freshman. After the debacle that was his offseason and the perceived distractions it’s caused, you know he wants to get out and prove himself. With Murray’s knack for completing the deep ball, Green could have a big game. I can’t wait to see what happens when we start running some routes underneath these vertical routes to King and Green. The TE and the Wooten/Brown stuff should be wide open as defenses stretch to cover AJ. He really does change our offense tremendously.
The CU Game Overall
This is pointless. The last time we played Colorado they were bringing in one of the nation’s worst offenses and defenses against a UGA team that was expected to be getting its collective stuff together. Not so much. We needed a certain red-headed freshman to come in and lead us to two 4th quarter TDs to pull out a one-point win. At the time I remember being thrilled we pulled out the win but somewhat worried at the fact we did nothing (good) on offense and played pretty bad defensively. It’s funny because now I get the second half of that only without being thrilled at the win.
We opened things up more against MSU to the tune of 31 attempts for Murray (more when you count scrambles and sacks) but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot when we’d get into scoring range, be it a penalty pulling us back out of FG range or taking a TD off the board or whatever. After rewatching the game, the playcalling last week wasn’t as bad as I had initially thought. It was mostly bad because it didn’t work and that’s not really fair. Bobo can only do so much. Most of his running game play calls in the 2nd half were trying to spring some stuff and surprise them, and you have to do that on occasion. We’ve just got to do a better job of blocking up front on the OL and making things happen at the RB spot. I don’t know who steps up to take charge of that, but at this point Dontavius Jackson has to be kicking himself. He could’ve possible been our leading rusher this season.
I just want to see some fire. Two weeks ago watching this team claw its way back against Arkansas I was so excited about their potential because I saw a lot of heart and effort and it gave me hope. I saw very little of that last week. Sure some guys were going above and beyond, namely Murray, Charles, T. King and a few others, but there just didn’t seem to be a passion to succeed and dominate. That lack of fire certainly seemed to be hammered home in the post-game locker room audio when you could hear the players laughing in the background. I don’t know about you but there was nothing funny about what I witnessed Saturday night. I want effort and I want a win. I still expect this team to improve tremendously over the course of the year between the development of Murray and the defense getting more comfortable with the new scheme. We still face our top 4 rivals so a large chunk of the year is still in front of us. Please get some momentum this week fellas.
- Still waiting to see Geathers get some more snaps.
- Nice to see Orson Charles get a few catches although one was wiped out by penalty.
- That dump pass to Ealey (the one he fumbled on) was a great playcall. Tough break on the fumble as he clearly got knocked silly but I’d like to see more of that to counter the inside blitz when there’s a gaping hole in the short middle of the defense.
- Our OL is massively struggling. It only takes one guy missing his block to kill a play and right now it’s like we’re rotating who that guy is on each play. For an upperclassmen laden group they are making a ton of mistakes. Time to earn your money Searels.
- Whatever Ben Jones did was not cool with Dan Mullen, that’s for sure. He was irate. At the time I was beyond miserable so I didn’t pay much attention but rewatching it you could really tell he was mad. Unfortunately I still don’t know what Jones did.
- I think I only saw Branden Smith on one offensive play. Surely he’s going to get in on more than that this week.
- It’s just not Baccari Rambo’s year. That bouncing punt could’ve only gone one direction to hit him and it absolutely did.
- Maybe last year really spoiled me, but Drew Butler just isn’t hitting them like he was last year.
- How is it that Mallett scrambles around and completely loses his head against Bama under no pressure and starts forcing throws but against us he looks like John Elway? Don’t give me that Bama defense crap either. Mallett threw 2 picks that I saw where he was under no pressure and didn’t throw into funky coverages, just made a bad decision. Just one of those the week before and right now we’re a “stellar” 2-2. Wow, I’m wishing we were 2-2. That’s just so sad.
- I just found out a friend of mine from a few years back wrote a book. I haven’t read it yet, but the subject matter is right up my alley and yours too if you’re reading this. It’s called “Belue to Scott!” and well, I think the topic is pretty self-evident. Check it out and think of the happier times… http://www.beluetoscott.com/. With comments (positive to boot) from Tony Barnhart and Vince Dooley it’s gotta be good.
- Could you imagine how unbearable this season would be if GT was undefeated right now and cruising to another BCS game? Not saying their losing makes our season easier to handle, it’s just nice knowing they can’t exactly gloat.
- My how the college football landscape has changed. USC and Michigan are both undefeated and are both ranked well behind Boise State, TCU and Utah, not to mention also being behind three 1-loss teams.
- So Florida plays Bama this weekend? That should be interesting. Hopefully we pull out a win so I can actually try and enjoy watching the 2nd half. If you didn’t know, this one should go quickly. 2 of CU’s 3 games this year have been done in under 3 hours. That’s crazy. So anyway, Bama vs. Florida. Saban vs. Meyer. So much evil in one place. Watch for lightning strikes. What happens if those two inadvertently get into a staring contest pre-game? The last time they met Meyer expended so much energy he ended up in the hospital so I wouldn’t be surprised if he orders a 3rd stringer to sweep the leg and take Nicky boy out.
- Did anyone else notice that Lattimore only managed 33 yards on 14 carries against Auburn? As bad as that was for SC, that doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture for what we can expect the rest of the season. We made that guy look like Bo Jackson. Not Herschel, just Bo. Add to that the fact that Cameron Newton ran for 176 yards against a defense that we managed 61 yards against and the Auburn game is getting much scarier. AU fans want that one really bad too as they’ve lost 4 in a row, unprecedented for that series.
- Sticking with that game, why is it we’re petrified to let Murray run the ball yet Auburn, who is clearly depending heavily on Newton, lets him go to the tune of 25 carries against SC? Yeah, I know he outweighs Murray by about 70 pounds, but can we please unshackle the kid? The guy can flat make plays with his feet. I’ll continue to say that until he gets hurt at which point I will question the coaches’ logic of having him run the ball. It’s my right as a fan.
- The ACC and Big East are a combined 2-19 against non-conference BCS opponents. Wow. I knew they were struggling, but that’s awful. With that in mind, watch out for NC State to start making some noise if they get by VT (yes, the team that lost to James Madison) this weekend at home to move to 5-0. They don’t play a currently ranked opponent the rest of the season with their toughest games being @Clemson, FSU and @UNC. That’s still considerably tougher than whatever poo-poo platter Boise State and TCU face.
- Call it what you will but every team whose AD went through a sex scandal this offseason has struggled this year. Granted, it’s a short list (I can only name one). I call it the Curse of the Red Panties.
Have a safe weekend,