September 16, 2009

BuffStampede Talks Colorado Football

Adam Munsterteiger the publisher of stopped by GoWyoGo to answer a few questions on the Colorado Buffaloes with the Wyoming Cowboys heading into Boulder Saturday. Here is what Adam had to say about the regional Big 12 school.

#1 After two games, what appears to be the strengths and weaknesses of this Colorado Buffaloes team under Dan Hawkins?

BUFFStampede: "Well, when they've been able to run the football, the Buffaloes have been fairly productive early on this season. The problem is, they got down early in both of their first two games, so they have been forced to throw the ball a lot more than they'd ideally like to."

"The highly touted Darrell Scott is averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, but he has only carried the ball 13 times. Fellow sophomore tailback Rodney Stewart, who missed last week's game but is expected back this Saturday, is also a dangerous weapon for the Buffs on offense."

"Dropped passes and penalties at inopportune times have hurt the Buffaloes on offense. And their offensive line, which includes three first-year starters, has struggled. Quarterback Cody Hawkins has had very little time back in the pocket."

"Defensively, the Buffaloes have struggled mightily, across the board. They gave up a total of 1,000 yards and 77 points in their first two games. The defense just looked slow. Part of that might be that they were thinking too much, as opposed to just reacting. The CU coaches have said they plan to simplify the defense for this Saturday's game."

#2 Does Colorado have the personnel or talent to compete in the middle-of-the-pack of the Big 12 or for a North Big 12 championship?

BUFFStampede: "In my opinion, yes. They are not in a position to compete with the USCs and Floridas of the world, but they should be a lot better than they have been early on this season based on their talent level. Believe it or not, Dan Hawkins has actually recruited at a pretty high level since coming to Boulder."

"CU had the nation's 15th ranked recruiting class two years ago. Hawkins said at his press conference on Tuesday that a team with B talent and A intangibles will usually beat a team with A talent and B intangibles. That leads me to wonder if the Buffs have B intangibles?"

#3 Who are the Buffaloes' top playmakers on both sides of the ball?

BUFFStampede: "I mentioned Scott and Stewart earlier. Junior receiver Scotty McKnight caught 11 passes against Toledo and is a very consistent pass-catcher for the Buffs."

"CU is hoping to welcome Markques Simas into the mix this Saturday. Simas is arguably the Buffaloes' most talented receiver, but he was academically ineligible last season and was suspended for the first two games this season after violating team rules."

"Simas is listed as probable in the injury report. He suffered a sprained knee earlier this month. Simas told me on Tuesday that he expects to play."

"Linebacker Jeff Smart is usually involved in more plays than any other CU defender. He ranked third in the Big 12 with 118 tackles last season and early on this season he leads the Buffs with 22 stops. CU has a lot of talent at cornerback, led by senior Cha'pelle Brown and junior Jimmy Smith, but that group has underachieved so far this season."

#4 The heat is growing on Dan Hawkins, as Colorado has struggled with losses to CSU and Toledo. What has been the biggest contributors to the CU's struggles? Can they turn the season around into a success story?

BUFFStampede: "They say that the game is won in the trenches, and the Buffaloes have been dominated up front early on this season. I mentioned that CU has three first-year starters on their offensive line; they also have three first-year starters on their defensive line. They need both lines to develop and improve as this season wears on if they want any chance at playing in a bowl game."

"I do believe the team could turn it around, but they really need a win on Saturday against Wyoming. After facing the Cowboys, the Buffs have two consecutive road games against 2-0 West Virginia and second-ranked Texas. Then they play 2-0 Kansas at home."

#5 In your opinion, what are the keys to this game from Colorado's standpoint?

BUFFStampede: "Unquestionably, the key for CU on Saturday is to get out to an early lead. If they can do that, they can play to their strength on offense, which is running the ball. If they get in a hole early, it could be déjà vu all over again for the Buffaloes."

#6 Do the Buffaloes have any injuries of note?

BUFFStampede: Simas (sprained knee), Stewart (hamstring), Cody Hawkins (concussion) and Scott (knee bruise) are all listed as probable for Saturday's game. Inside linebacker Shaun Mohler (concussion) is listed as day-to-day.

#7 Finally, what is your prediction for this Saturday's game?

"I expect a highly competitive game, and really could see either team coming out victorious. Given that the game is in Boulder and the Buffaloes' backs are definitely against the wall, I think they'll find a way to win their first game of the 2009 season. But it won't be easy. I'll say Colorado 31, Wyoming 30."

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