Cliche Day - Colorado Buffaloes Survive Against the West Virginia Mountaineers

Cliché me up! Clichés all over the place..."a win is a win", "take it any way you can", "3-0 is 3-0" and "just win baby." What do you get when you start cliching like a fat kid eating cake? A sigh of relief. The Colorado Buffaloes came out like a possessed animal, scoring 14 points in less than 5 minutes, sending Folsom Field into a frenzy. The Buffs did everything the Ralphie Report told them to do in our preview, attacking the Mountaineers through the air against their inexperienced secondary. CU challenged the West Virginia Mountaineers with passes down field, in the middle of the field, and completely and utterly deflated the team from Morgantown. But then the Buffs went on their typical offensive sabbatical. I can best describe it as "playing not to lose." The Buffs kept Josh Smith on the bench most of the second half for Cody Crawford who made some plays but doesn't have the big play capability of Smith. I get the Rodney Stewart train of thought, beat speed with speed and I can't fault the staff for playing him over Scott as the dude had 166 yards for a Buffs freshman record. I still questioned the way we used Scott and why we don't have the same set of play calls for him as they do for Stewart like get him outside.  Let's just say my jury is still out on the offense. I loved the I formation, something that we called for after the Eastern Washington game. Even Rodney Stewart in his post game interview confirmed my thoughts:

"I think I like the "I" a little bit more because you have vision to both sides of the field instead of being in the spread where you have vision to one side."

 

Maybe my expectations for the Buffaloes are too high or maybe I am pretty honest, probably both faults of mine. If you would have said before the season the Buffs would be 3-0, I would have taken it in a heart beat and proclaimed the Buffs an 8 or 9 win team. Now they are 3-0 and they still might be an 8 or 9 win team but the feeling coming out of the last two games is a similar uneasy feeling. The uneasy feeling from this game stems from the fact that Bill Stewart maybe the worst coach in college football today.

White, Devine, an All American tackle in Stanchek, Sanders, and a quartet of physically gifted wide receivers that make the Buffs defensive backs look like little kids. The speed and talent is all there. I give the Buffs a lot of credit for playing that cliché style of "bend but don't break" defense but the Buffs were aided by Mr. Stewart who seemed more interested in fist pounding K Pat McAfee after an extra point rather than worrying about clock management. The play calling that Jeff Mullen pulled out on third and short was absolutely dumbfounding. How many third and shorts was West Virginia going to run up the middle with the diminutive Noel Devine right into the strength of our defense? Why not run outside like they had been all day against the weakness of the Buffs defense and the strength of WVU offensive line? You think somewhere along the way of going 3 for 13 on the third downs that the Mountaineers would have learned. But that would be putting a lot of faith in Bill Stewart. Here is how I know Bill Stewart is a bad coach. At the end of the first half, Stewart went timeout happy, trying to get clever and exuberantly calling timeouts for no reason other than to be a complete thorn in the side of all the Buffs fans whom needed to use the facilities. There was no way that he was going to get the ball back. Then as the Mountaineers are driving at the end of the game, Bill Stewart had no desire to use his timeouts to give the offense a chance to win the game even when they were at mid field with 40 seconds left. He choked on his whistle, he showed no faith in his offense showing he has no idea what he is doing.

The best part was that Bill Stewart received so much heat two weeks before for throwing the ball too much and not using Pat White's legs that he made it a point to show the Mountaineer nation that he wouldn't throw. He made his point so well that even Buffs fans were completely confused at the negative 5 passing yards that showed on the scoreboard most of the game. Stewart never loosened up the slower Colorado Buffaloes defense, he never challenged our smaller cornerbacks, he never thought to use a tight end or give Pat White a run/pass option. He has no idea how to use the tools that are in the toolbox. I was with a Sooner fan last night who will go unnamed that said he was now even more embarrassed that OU lost to a Bill Stewart coached team. Bill Stewart was that bad.

But let's go positive. "A win is a win" and West Virginia is a team with talent, misguided as it may be. Without looking at the defensive statistics I was surprised how strong the Buffs played at key moments in the game. If the Buffs get an identity on offense, this will be a dangerous team. I am a little worried about the psyche of Darrell Scott. What is he thinking right now after he has seemingly taken a back seat the last two weeks to Rodney Stewart? What is the game plan for Cody Hawkins? Do the Buffs have confidence in him to make plays consistently throughout the game? The play calling doesn't support it. But the Buffs did enough on both offense and defense to win this game and that is worth something. "3-0 is 3-0."

 

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