The election of Scott Rolen to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his sixth ballot is a worthy one. Rolen was to his generation of third basemen almost precisely what Nolan Arenado is today: outstanding defender, terrific offensive contributor and a cornerstone player needed for putting together a World Series contender. https://twitter.com/baseballhall/status/1618024554210680833 Arenado has five seasons of 35 or more…...
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Finally, we get turn the page on 2022 and look ahead to 2023. The Broncos have plenty of work to do this year; they have to hire a coach, rebuild a broken offense and try to fix their 34-year-old quarterback, who is coming off his worst NFL season. We’re looking into our crystal ball and guess what will happen. The…...
The Colorado Rockies are currently in the midst of a transition as a slew of top prospects begin to arrive and impact the roster. Familiar faces continue to make their mark on the franchise as it looks to reach the elusive .500 mark for the first time since 2018. Here’s how DNVR Rockies sees the next year going: 1. Charlie…...
2023 is shaping up to be a year to remember for fans of the Colorado Buffaloes. Coach Prime is completely re-shaping and re-doing the football program and Tad Boyle has Buffs basketball on a role when it comes to the recruiting trail. Both programs are in great shape. With that being said, here are 20 predictions ahead of 2023. 1.…...
2022 went down as one of the best in Colorado Avalanche history but also saw one of the league’s most dominant postseason performances in the salary cap era. The price of that championship has been extensive, from player departures to injury recovery times that have stretched into the new year. The Avs still have a bevy of enviable talent on…
Travis Hunter arrives at CU as the headliner that makes up Coach Prime’s “Louis luggage”. Last year, in his true freshman season Hunter proved immediately that his talent is as advertised.
While he will be facing a step-up in competition this season, last year at Jackson State Hunter provided some epic highlights at both cornerback and wide receiver.
In this edition of the Buffs Film Room, we break down Hunter’s best plays from the 2022 season and project which position he will have the greatest impact.
Prime Time Protege
When Hunter committed to JSU, he threw a curveball into the college football landscape and certified Coach Prime as a force to be reckoned with as a recruiter.
Coach Prime’s playing career doesn’t need to be explained, but it made perfect sense that the best two-way player in the class decided he wanted to learn from one of the best two-way players and athletes of all time.
Hunter possesses the speed, length and ball skills to be a lockdown corner and he showed that consistently as a freshman at JSU.
Against Alcorn State, Hunter notched his first career pick-six. Let’s start from the very beginning with how Hunter covers the receiver’s release. He’s smooth and square until the receiver breaks towards the sideline and #12 is able to match him stride for stride and sit on the route just as the receiver does. The receiver is blanketed and the Florida native is able to win the battle for the football and take it back for six.
Now let’s focus on the ball skills. This pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage and Hunter makes an incredibly athletic play to try and scoop up the flailing ball. Hunter would fail to complete the catch on the play, but the athletic display is spectacular.
Later on against Texas Southern, we got a chance to see how Hunter operates in true one-on-one situations on an island. The receiver gains a step on Hunter off the line but like a veteran, Hunter shows no panic and chooses the perfect moment to play the ball and force a pass breakup.
This interception is the result of a poorly thrown football, but Hunter shows great ability to play zone and trail receivers down the field to take advantage of these opportunities. The catch is effortless and then the new Buff's natural talent as a runner takes over.
We will talk about more plays from this game later on, but watch how easy this is for Hunter. He shows his composure, quick feet and technique off the line on the receiver's release, and watch how easy it is for him to work over the pick route and nearly pick off another pass.
It’s only five clips but the talent is undeniable. Hunter shows better and cleaner movement skills, ball skills and technique than some of the players I watched for NFL Draft purposes last spring. It makes sense why he wanted to play under Coach Prime and learn from one of the best to ever do it.
Yes, these clips are against SWAC players but there is nothing to suggest that Hunter would not be able to create plays like that in the Pac-12 and Power 5 level.
There are things that need to be cleaned up and Hunter is by no means a finished product when it comes to development, but he’s not far off. As good of a player as he already is and can be at cornerback, there is a legitimate argument that Hunter is an even better wide receiver.
Travis Hunter is already CU’s best receiver
Two-way players are rare these days. And even the best of the “true” two-way players are only really great at one position. Travis Hunter is great at cornerback and wide receiver.
In a podcast with Shannon Sharpe in December, Coach Prime said, “That’s what he loves. There’s a love and a like. He loves to play receiver. DB is something that he can do, really well and better than a lot of others. But if I had to put my money on him, he loves catching that football a lot more than he loves defending it.”
The tipping point for Hunter and his ability as a receiver occurred in the 2022 Celebration Bowl. The former number one overall recruit became Shedeur Sanders’ go-to receiver in crunch time and was one of the reasons why Jackson State had a great shot at winning that football game.
Since being selected by the Colorado Rockies in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, the buzz surrounding Zac Veen has been loud. And it’s grown even louder following his 2022 season. Drafted out of Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange, FL, the 18-year-old had been rumored to go as high as second overall to the Baltimore Orioles.…...
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Few who have played for the Colorado Rockies are as beloved as Vinny Castilla. His time in purple dates all the way back to the Expansion Draft in November 1992 before the team had even played its first game and includes two seasons at Mile High Stadium, the club’s first postseason appearance in 1995 and a place among baseball’s elite…...
1. Nikola Jokic's between-the-legs pass might be the pass of the year for the Denver Nuggets. What makes it better is that the pass was actually a counter to the way the Memphis Grizzlies were defending one of Denver's most common actions.
In the clip below, you can see how the Grizzlies aggressive denial of the reversal triggered Jokic to become the release valve every time the team ran that play in the first half. In the second half, Brown perfectly timed the "blind pig" action. Perfectly enough for Jokic to just hike the ball in stride to Brown for the easy dunk.
2. Jokic is a wizard at waiting until the last second to make his read as a passer. In the clips below, you can see how the flare screen to the corner is the first read for Jokic. But by waiting until the last possible second, Jokic is actually luring the defender away from his preferred option which is the dropoff pass to the screener.
3. I like that Christian Braun isn't just settling for spot-up jumpers when he's sharing the court with the starting unit. Braun is shooting just 31% from behind the arc this season, a number that needs to improve in order for him to become a reliable two-way option for the Nuggets. But even if he becomes a more steady three-point shooter, mixing in cuts like the one below that get him attacking the basket is still a valuable option.
Braun is big for a wing and has a 40-inch vertical. We haven't seen him fully deploy his athleticism in the NBA just yet but I like that he is looking for options where he is going towards the rim and not always flaring to the corner.
4. Another great cut. Watch how Brown flares and then cuts off of the Gordon screen, forcing Dillon Brooks to take the furthest possible angle. That cut, paired with a perfectly timed entry pass, forces the favorable switch.
5. Another important skill for Christian Braun will be his ability to knockdown dribble handoff and pick-and-roll three-pointers when the defense goes under the screen.
6. Here is Braun quickly falling back into Denver's free flow rhythm after an offensive rebound and taking an aggressive left-handed drive to the rim. Braun has the foundation of a solid offensive option. A decent three-point shot, the ability to handle the ball in basic actions, and the right amount of aggressiveness for a 5th option.
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Happy Sunday and welcome to a revamped version of the (article formerly known as) The Weekly 5-on-5. We have changed up the format a little bit to bring you something that we hope will bring you more in-depth coverage, while also providing more perspectives than before. Diehards will get access to this piece every Sunday morning, and each week it…...
Patrick and Suzie answer your questions about the Rockies, MLB and anything in general that might be on your minds. (Leave a comment below for their next Rox Inbox in two weeks. We guarantee to answer it!) On this second episode of Rox Inbox, they respond to C.J. Cron’s potential trade value and why it may not be as high…...
Andrew Cogliano – B- Big block late in the third on Ristolainen and had a nice cut to the middle for a shot in the second that he just couldn’t bury. Keeps getting good looks. J.T. Compher – A I really hated that late shot at the empty net, but great game before that. The zone entry and dish to…...
DENVER, Colo. — Moral victory? The Broncos lost their ninth game in 10 tries on Sunday, this time falling 34-28 to the Kansas City Chiefs. At one point, though, the Chiefs were up 27-0. The comeback was impressive. Denver is now 3-10 and sitting second-to-last in the NFL. Here’s how the Broncos graded out: Offense QB Russell Wilson – B…...
In one of his first moves as CU’s latest head coach, Coach Prime hired Sean Lewis to be the Buffs’ offensive coordinator.
Lewis was the head coach of Kent State from 2018-2022 when Coach Prime and Colorado came calling. The Buffs were willing to buy out Lewis from his head coaching contract for $750,000 to lead the offense in Boulder.
In his five years at Kent State, the Golden Flashes only went 24-31. With Dustin Krum as Lewis’ starting quarterback from 2019-2021, despite the record, Kent State was one of the most dynamic and explosive offenses in the country.
In Krum’s final year with Lewis in 2021, Kent State ranked 5th in the country in yards per game (494.6), 10th in plays per game (75.1) and 30th in points per game (33.0).
In this edition of Buffs Film Room, we take a deep dive into Lewis’ offense and how his scheme is an even more modern take on current college-football trends.
Everything has an option
RPOs, read options, pre-snap motion and misdirection have become commonplace in college football but Sean Lewis cranks it up another 10 notches.
Nearly every single play Lewis calls has an option attached to it, sometimes multiple options. Lewis had good success at Kent State with Dustin Krum at quarterback but as Krum got wiser and more experienced, the Golden Flash offense began to soar.
As I noted in the Shedeur Sanders film room, Sanders is a smart and cerebral quarterback but don’t be surprised if there are some growing pains as he settles into Lewis’ offense.
This play has three options for the quarterback: a shovel pass to the h-back, tucking and running or throwing downfield. Watch how this play affects Buffalo’s second level. No matter what those linebackers decide to do, Lewis has a counter.
Later on against Buffalo, Lewis adds another wrinkle to this shovel option. Kent State flows heavily into the boundary with the shovel and speed option aspect we saw before but now the slot player comes back around on an end around with two linemen leading the way.
Pre-snap, this look screams QB sneak. But Lewis is one step ahead and calls a perfectly timed speed option out of this formation.
This clip is from 2022 with Collin Schlee at quarterback. The play starts off like most zone-read options do but Kent State lines up their h-back to the boundary and then run him underneath the line to the field side flat.
Here is another variation of that same RPO flat option.
Lewis also has these funky, outside zone, read options that almost look like inverted veer. Instead, Lewis’ wrinkle is having the left tackle wrap around for an iso/insert block. The left tackle creates a massive lane for Krum to run through on the read-option pull.
Here we have a power RPO to the field with a slant flat concept attached to the backside. This is a more convenient RPO but as you’ll begin to notice, Lewis loves pulling his backside linemen at nearly every opportunity.
Now we have a jet sweep read option that plays out beautifully. The sideline-to-sideline action of the jet sweep in conjunction with the left tackle and guard pulling upfield and kicking out create a natural crease for Schlee to run into. The left tackle has a free run up to the safety!
Power run game is the backbone of the offense
As previously mentioned, Lewis loves pulling linemen across the formation to gain a numbers advantage in the run game. Guard/tackle (GT) power and counter are the base plays that make most of this offense work and make sense.
But as we will get into, the h-back and center are also utilized to pull across and make big blocks in Lewis’ offense.
There is jet motion and an h-back lead across the formation but this is essentially a power read. Lewis also has the weakside receiver tagged to run a curl on this play also.
Here is the play in its most bare form, GT counter-read. Krum reads the strongside end, pulls the ball and
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1. If there is one reason to have faith in the Denver Nuggets championship aspirations this season it is the perfect synergy of the Nikola Jokic - Jamal Murray two man game. The duo took a 500 day hiatus yet picked up immediately where they left off as if they never stopped playing. The two of them are so perfectly in sync at all times, especially at the close of each half when the other three players seem content to get out of the way and watch as the two dance back and forth en route to the exact outcome that they seem fit. The term pick your poison seems to undersell the conundrum presented by those. Often times, the duo will gladly make that choice for you.
2. One of my favorite things about Jokic is that he has a counter for every read the defense makes. Here, rookie Walker Kessler clearly studied his scouting report to note that these rub screens send Jokic to one of his favorite spots on the left block. But Jokic sees him jump the action and decides to pop out to the three point line, taking advantage of Kessler's early work.
After the game, Utah Jazz head coach Will Hardy said of Kessler, "Walker came to the bench at one point and said like 'I'm trying really hard.' I said, 'Dude, I get it. You are trying really hard. And keep trying hard. This is part of your growth."