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CU Buffs mailbag: Pre-camp edition

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
July 24, 2015

 

Yesterday I posted my “Top 5 story lines heading into fall camp,” and in that I posed many questions, such as – is Addison Gillam as healthy as he is rumored to be? Today I decided to let the fans pose the questions to me, here is my attempt at answering them.

Nice work by L-Rod to take away my easy road answer of punter, Alex Kinney, who MacIntyre has basically already pencilled in as the starter. With that in mind, as I look at the list of the true freshman, my eyes continually go back to the name Patrick Carr.

Despite the fact that he is coming in at a position that potentially has some of the best depth on the team, running back, when I watch his film, or read quotes from Carr, something tells me he just has “it.” He brings a running style to the table, and an explosion that we haven’t seen in quite some time at Colorado, he’s been the recruit I’ve been highest on since signing day, and I don’t think he is going to give the coaches any choice but to put him on the field.

This gives me a chance to elaborate more on the RBs. While I think Carr is going to have the biggest impact as a freshman, that doesn’t mean that he is going to “steal the show” per se. There is simply too much talent in that backfield for any one guy to run away with it. Between Powell, Adkins, Lindsay, Carr, Donald Gordon, and Aaron Baltazar (at least one of the last three will redshirt) the Buffs are going to have to spread the ball around at that position.

In a dream world, two guys get hot early in every game, and you ride them until they need a rest, then sub others in accordingly, but it won’t work out that way every time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see three or more backs all get carries in the first half of most games, similar to last year. Personally I believe in really sticking with two guys at the position and riding them until they can find a rhythm, but I don’t think you’ll see that out of the Buffs this year.

To answer the question in short, nobody is stealing the show this year.

This is a good question, and I think there are a bunch of different angles to go about answering it. To me, the most simple and direct way of answering it is – turnover margin. The Buffs will win six games this year if they make big strides in the turnover margin category.

Last year the Buffs ranked 112th in the country in turnover margin, with a -10. They turned the opponent over just 11 times, while giving the ball away 21 times. Both sides of the ball are at fault here, and both have plenty of room for improvement.

The colorado defense had just three interceptions last season, meaning Salad Fingers could count them on one hand.

SaladFingers

Salad Fingers also had as many interceptions as everybody on the Colorado Buffaloes not named Tedric Thompson, and he did it with six total fingers, all made of salad. That’s right Tedric Thompson is the only Colorado player who recorded an interception last year, that has to change.

If I was a betting man, I would bet on that stat changing dramatically. In fact, I might even bet on the Buffs surpassing three interceptions before they enter conference play, things are looking up for the defense to increase their turnover numbers.

On the other side of the ball, everybody already knows this, it all comes down to Sefo Liufau protecting the ball, 15 of those 21 offensive turnovers came on his interceptions, and a few more came on his fumbles. As he makes becomes an upperclassman quarterback with multiple seasons of starting experience under his belt, there is simply no excuse to turn the ball over that much. It sounds like he’s dedicated a lot of time this offseason doing what he can to improve, but we won’t really know the progression he’s made until he takes the field.

It looks good for the Buffs to improve in both categories, but the question is how much? I don’t think it would be crazy for the Buffs to get into positive numbers, that would have been good enough for 57th in the nation last season, but for them to get to six wins, I think it’s going to be a little higher than that.

So to finally answer the question, I think the Buffaloes will win six games if they can get to a +5 turnover margin, which would be good enough for top 40 in the nation. They are going to need some breaks.

How about percentages?

0-4: 1%

There’s just no way that is happening, and if it does I may never look at a message board again.

1-3: 5%

It’s not going to happen, but I’d be lying to say there is no chance that CU loses to Hawaii in a close one, comes out sluggish against UMass, and is already defeated heading into CSU. Another scenario where I would avoid message boards like the plague.

2-2: 24%

Hawaii and CSU are respectable programs. If the Buffs lose to Hawaii, their chances of losing to CSU go way up in my opinion.

3-1 and 4-0: 35%

I think there is an equal chance of both of these scenarios happening.

I realize Colorado will likely be favored in all four games, but I also realize that it would be crazy to set high odds on Colorado winning four consecutive games, a feat they haven’t accomplished since 2002.

I just can’t go higher on the Buffs winning them all, even though I do think they will.

Seven. Seven yards is the number that will send everyone into panic.

I think you’ll see a little more balance, but they aren’t going to be a 50/50 run/pass team. Reality is, it’s just much easier to move the ball in the air in today’s college football. Of course, the Buffs would love to run it down everybody’s throat every game, but it’s not going to work like that. In the end, their best player on the field lines up at wide receiver (Nelson Spruce) and he is going to create mismatches on the field. Whether he’s going one-on-one which is a mismatch in most cases, or he’s getting doubled and that opens things up for another receiver, your bread and butter on offense is going to be taking advantage of that.

Like any team, the Buffs are going to make a concerted effort to establish the running game, but this team is still going to be pass-focused.

As for the clown suit, everyone knows you aren’t getting blood stains out of satin (I hope your suit is satin). I would tun the stains into polka dots using some red dye #3, and be more careful on your stilt stunts!

https://twitter.com/AngryAceSports/status/624349884947243009

“How to grow your BRAND 101: The RK experience” has surprisingly not been picked up by the Colorado journalism school yet, but I have some things in the works to teach a class at National American University. One day. One Night. Saturday is alright.

I’d have to give the Frenzy a C so far. I hope that’s not harsh.

Reality is, student sections are about numbers, and the numbers simply aren’t there yet. Is that the fault of those who run the Folsom Frenzy? Of course not, but the attendance is an F, so the work that these kids have put in to get it to a C has been well done. There was a flag giveaway at one game last year that I thought was really cool, there was the field day idea which could have been awesome if it wasn’t for the weather. The point is, the people running the student section are trying to come up with creative ways to get people involved and that’s all you can ask. If the Buffs start winning, their options will open up immensely.

The rest of the question: “What are some other things that can help Buffs fans pretend the last decade or so didn’t happen?”

Whiskey should help. Other options include beer, rum, beer and whiskey.

https://twitter.com/Bromar04/status/624356910607630336

I think Jim Leavitt was a great hire, but yes I believe Buffs fans are putting a bit too much hope into him. Like I wrote earlier in the summer, Buffs fans always choose somebody’s back to hop onto in the offseason, and they pump all their hope and reasoning for improvement into that guy. If the past tells us anything, it’s that the guy who gets all that put on him usually doesn’t make the impact people had hoped.

I do think Leavitt will have an improved defense on they field this year, but I’ve seen a couple folks thinking he can get the Buffs into the top half of the conference defensively, and that is out of control.

https://twitter.com/kworel/status/624397168032395264

I would never advise anyone to bail on their team, you’ve rode this thing out all the way to rock bottom, through rock bottom, and to the molten center of the earth, you might as well stay along for the ride now. If the Buffs ever do get back it will be that much more rewarding.

I would advise people to not let the performance of the team determine your mood, that’s a quick way to cut down on the amount of people who want to head up to Folsom with you on Saturday’s. The Buffs are going to lose some home games this year, make it a goal to have some fun after those games. Don’t be the person who nobody wants to be around after the Buffs lose, you only get so many fall Saturdays, enjoy them.

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