How disappointing was yesterday's performance against the Kansas Jayhawks? Let me rephrase that; how disappointing has the 2008 season been so far? So much anticipation coming off a bowl season, a year when recruiting couldn't have been any better and the Buffs were finally going to play with coach Hawkins players. It is hard to even know where to begin to assess this game. Is there even a bright spot on this team? Can you name more than three players wearing black and gold who you feel is really playing great football right now? Only questions fill my mind today. It's gone from anger to sadness to just wanting to sit down with the coaches and ask them a couple of questions. Yes it is hard to coach with all of the injuries, the ineligibility, the coming in to training camp out of shape and the defections but these guys get paid a nice chunk of change to do the things that is not frankly getting done right now. You name it, the Buffs camp isn't doing it. Its starts and never ends with game planning, game day adjustments, player personnel decisions, play calling, schemes and, what should be an easy task of getting this team ready to play. By ready to play I mean show a pulse. Where is the excitement? This was 7 - 9 game at halftime and it just looked like the Buffs were expecting to lose. There is no leadership on this team, nobody trying to get people excited to play football...this team is going through the motions. So if I was granted my 5 minutes with coach Hawkins and the coaches I would ask these questions. I would probably get a cavalier response but at least I would feel better.
Frankly for me, it starts on defense...I know, what?
Coach Hawkins, what is the point of rushing three lineman and allowing a great quarterback to sit back there all day and pick and choose where he wanted to go with the ball? Frankly coach, the only way that you are going to beat teams is win the turnover battle and I don't think the no pass rush scheme is going to force any turnovers? And the whole time while you were rushing three, you once again made a team's weakness (Kansas' rushing game) turn into one of their strengths. Did you not see that Kerry Meier was hurt in the first half and try to blitz like crazy knowing he wasn't a viable option at that time? Don't you think you have to put a defensive scheme out there that will win you ball games and not just keep you in ball games? Frankly coach, you came out in the first quarter and blitzed, I have a hard time figuring out why you stopped. You allowed Todd Reesing to get comfortable back in the pocket and gain confidence. If there is any team in the country who should know what pressure does to a quarterback's play, the Buffs should, I mean look at how Cody is playing these days? Do you realize Kansas had more rushing yards against the Buffs than any other division one team this year?
continue reading the fictious Q&A session after the jump...
Coach Hawkins, is it time to scrap the offensive game plan? I know you don't like to call it the spread offense but whatever you want to call it, I call it the "Last in Every Single Statistical Category in the Big 12" offense. So are we to believe that Baylor, Iowa State and Texas A&M have more capable players on offense than the Buffs do?
Coach Hawkins, what is with all the roll out passes and Cody running backwards when he is trying to throw the ball? I realize you are trying to get Cody the ability to see and avoid some of the rush but you eliminate half of the field when you roll out your quarterback and Cody has shown his arm strength when rolling is not great. Don't you put Matt Ballenger in just so you have a quarterback that can stand in the pocket and deliver the ball to the entire field? This offensive passing game is so perimeter right now that it is pointless for any defense to cover the middle of the field.
Coach Hawkins, I know that the rumor is that Josh Smith didn't play a lot yesterday because of a shoulder sprain but I call fallacy on that assessment. Coach Hawkins, I have seen Josh Smith on the sidelines in the West Virginia game and the Texas game during the second and third quarters. What are you thinking here? I want you to put your prediction cap on and answer this...how many wins would CU have without Josh Smith right now? I will tell you; maybe one. This is far and away the most frustrating point for me because of the fact that he has shown play making ability on a team that has one...Josh Smith...and you refuse to play your play maker.
Coach Hawkins, why waste a year of eligibility on Darrell Scott? He has averaged seven carries a game. The first two games you could make a case that he wasn't in playing shape. The next four he was supposedly injured? Why give Darrell Scott any carries if he is injured? Why even waste his time putting him in for seven carries a game when he could have been red shirting, learning the game, getting stronger. I mean I believe you did Darrell Scott a disservice for not red shirting him. If he is physically not right, you are impeding his confidence and growth as an athlete.
Coach Hawkins, I danced around this in prior questions, but doesn't it feel like all of the offensive passing plays take so long to develop because you are consistently trying to force Cody into successful situations because of his physical shortcomings? What has happened to the quick passes and slant routes and Scotty McKnight and the tight ends. I feel like the Buffs are playing 5 on 11 football. Don't you feel that too?
Coach Hawkins, why does it seem like the Buffs are lacking in the halftime adjustments. I know you were quoted as saying Kansas didn't make any halftime adjustments, they just beat you with what they were doing in the first half. Once again, that is a fallacy. Kansas saw that you were rushing three guys and made the adjustments to run the ball and speed up the offense to tire out your three defensive linemen, allowing Reesing all the time he needed to sit in the pocket or run. The Buffs made a mediocre running back in Jack Sharpe look All Big 12 yesterday.
Coach Hawkins, are the Buffs headed in the right direction? Convince me that you have the coaching staff around you to get this job done. Do you have faith in the scheme and play calling of your offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich?
Coach Hawkins, do you believe that your players enjoy playing football? They sure don't act like they do.
In fairness coach Hawkins, there are a lot of players who are not able to play for whatever reason. Cody gets a lot of pressure and the running game leaves more to be desired. I realize that Cody's physical limitations dictate a lot of your play calling. But tell me coach Hawkins, how much of the excuse is injuries and how much of the excuse is coaching and putting forth a scheme that will give the players you have on the field the best chance of winning? Right now, the Buffs are a broken record on offense where it seems the game plan has not changed in the last three weeks. Every week I write, why is Josh Smith not playing? Why are we playing Darrell Scott for two plays a game? Where is the tight ends in this offense? Where is our leading receiver last year in Scotty McKnight? Why are we accepting turnover filled quarterback play? Why are we not throwing from the pocket? Why is Cody Crawford in the game? Why are we running Patrick Williams on end arounds and not Josh Smith?Are you asking these same questions of your coaching staff? Don't these things get you frustrated?
Lastly Coach Hawkins and more to the point than the last question, are the Buffs headed in the right direction? Convince me that you have the coaching staff around you to get this job done. Do you have faith in the scheme and play calling of your offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich? Are the Buffs going to win another game this year?
Ralphie Report readers...what would you ask Coach Hawkins right now? Vent with me!
The worst part about this year is that I have no reason to believe that the product on the field is going to get any better. I fear that this is the Buffs team that will show up every week and that is a very painful thing to watch. I think there is no way we win next week, no matter how bad Kansas State's defense is. How is the offense ever going to score enough points to keep up with Josh Freeman and Co. Six wins looks like a stretch now.