December 15, 2007

Meet the Buffaloes

Alabama faces Colorado on Dec. in the Independence Bowl, and members of's Round Table were asked to pose questions for Adam Munsterteiger,'s Colorado beat writer. Below is a look at the questions and answers provided by Munsterteiger:

1. BOL's JordanBama asks:
Who are Colorado's main weapons on offense? How are they used?

Munsterteiger: The Buffaloes named Hugh Charles their most outstanding offensive player at their awards banquet last Saturday. The speedy tailback will be playing in his last college game on December 30th. Charles was not completely healthy until the fourth game of the season but he still managed to rush for 989 yards and eight touchdowns.

In the passing game, walk-on redshirt freshman receiver Scotty McKnight led the team with 43 receptions and tight end Tyson DeVree led the way with six touchdown catches. But true freshman Josh Smith is their most explosive pass catcher. He averaged nearly 20 yards per reception and is just starting to tap into his potential.

Cody Hawkins, the Buffs' starter behind center, finished tied for third most in school history with 2,693 passing yards this season and fourth with 19 touchdowns. The son of the head coach, Cody is a heady quarterback in terms of the playbook. And he is a pretty accurate passer. But he does have some physical limitations. He is only 5-foot-11, he isn't that mobile and he doesn't have the strongest arm. His decision making was questionable at times this season, as is evident by the 15 interceptions he threw. Cody did play his smartest football late in the season, however. He has thrown just one pick in the Buffs' last four games.

2. BOL's BamaCassidy asks:
What type of offense do you run? What base defense do you run out of as well? What was the toughest team you have played against this year?

Munsterteiger: The Colorado coaches like to say they have a game plan offense. They are constantly adding and removing things from the playbook based off what they think will work against their next opponent's defense. This season, the Buffaloes' offense was very balance in the fact they attempted 433 passes and they had 432 rushing attempts.

Defensively, the Buffaloes run a 4-3 scheme. Senior inside linebacker Jordon Dizon gets a lot of recognition, and deservedly so, as he led the Big 12 with 149 tackles. But not enough credit goes to Colorado's down linemen, who do a great job holding their blockers allowing Dizon to do this thing.

Colorado had a difficult schedule this season. They played Arizona State, Florida State, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Texas Tech. And with it being a rivalry, Colorado State always plays their hardest against the Buffs. Oklahoma beat Missouri twice this season, but the Tigers played better than any team against Colorado this season. Missouri racked up 598 yards of offense and defeated the Buffs, 55-10, in Boulder.

3. BOL's bbltweather
What will be the best individual match up between two players? For example D.J. Hall against a DB, or Andre Smith against a DE.

Munsterteiger: That is a good question. I am definitely intrigued to watch Andre Smith against whoever the Buffaloes line up against him. Smith is 58 pounds heavier than any of Colorado's starting defensive linemen. But all of the Buffs' starting down linemen are athletic and quick. So it will be fun to watch the match up of size versus speed.

4. BOL's mdugger asks:
How physical is Colorado's OL and have they had any experience versus a traditional 3-4 defensive scheme. How physical is their rushing offense?

Munsterteiger: First-year offensive line coach Jeff Grimes has instilled a toughness within his unit. But the Buffaloes are largely inexperienced up front. They have two true freshmen starting in former five-star prospect Ryan Miller and Kai Maiava.

If memory serves me, Kansas State was the Buffaloes' only opponent in the regular season that employed a 3-4 scheme on defense. Colorado lost that game by 27 points, but I don't believe they struggled in that game because of the defensive scheme they were going up against. The offensive line didn't allow any sacks in that game and Hugh Charles had 171 yards rushing.

Overall, I don't know that I would categorize the Buffs' rushing attack as physical. The coaches have tried to get Charles to rush with more passion this season but he only stands in at 5-foot-8, 190-pounds.

5. BOL's crimsontide4572 asks:
Hawkins has made a nice turnaround from a 2-10 season a year ago. How has the team and fans bought into his system so far and what kind of improvements has Hawkins made to the program as a whole?

Munsterteiger: I don't think many outside of Boulder truly understand how bad of shape this program was in when Dan Hawkins arrived. Recruiting had really suffered in the last few years under Gary Barnett. Hawkins inherited a few top notch players but overall the cupboard was pretty bare and there were a lot of depth issues. With just one full recruiting class, Hawkins has already started to get things pointed in the right direction personnel wise. And their 2008 class is further evidence that he knows how to recruit at a high level. Facilities, which were among the worst in the Big 12 when Hawkins took over, are also being improved. They have a new locker room and a new indoor practice facility. So while a 6-6 season is the epitome of mediocrity, given the circumstances, it is seen as a very successful season in the eyes of almost all Buff fans. But expectations will continue to increase each year.

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