The Toledo Rockets continued to send the Colorado Buffaloes football program into a tailspin, beating the team from Boulder 54 - 38 in a game that wasn't even that close. Toledo quarterback Aaron Opelt amassed 428 total yards and six touchdowns. There were a few plays that could be labeled as embarrassing last night for the Buffs but none more shocking than Opelt, who would probably tell you he is not the world's greatest athlete, ran 61 yards, right through the middle of the Buffs defense for six points. Untouched.
After the Colorado State game, anger ran rampant across the news publications, message boards and blogs. After the Toledo game it has turned into sadness and a harsh realization that a quick fix is out of the question. The Buffaloes are a long way away from being relevant. That is a tough thing to swallow only two games into the college football season for fans of the team they support. Making it even more difficult is the fact that Colorado had expectations this year, labeled as a "Big 12 North contender," a sleeper, even the Buffs head coach said 10 wins. In 2006, the Buffs had no expectations and rightfully so as they went on to win two games. The next two years in what should have been considered rebuilding seasons, a 4 - 2 and 3 - 0 start was in order. Now we come to year four, labeled in the college football world as a time for a coach to show considerable progress.
Six days into the college football season and we know there isn't any progress, in fact, the question now is would the 2006 team beat the 2009 team? The Buffs have certainly had their fair share of horrific losses the past half decade but no way in year four, in all due respect to the Mid American Conference, should a team from the MAC steam roll you. Toledo, won three games a year ago and many publications, like the Washington Times, having the Rockets pegged to finish outside the top 100 in college football.
Yes, it's no longer an angry feeling. It's sadness, embarrassment and disbelief. The light at the end of the tunnel looks to be years away...again.
There was also one other expectation attached to that 10 wins statement back in December by coach Hawkins that seems to be out the window as well: no excuses. There is one reason Dan Hawkins stated those two words in December. He realized that any excuse he made about his team would be a direct reflection of the poor job he was doing. It was smart in a way because he knew if he was making the same excuses in 2009, he was now responsible for them.
But Dan Hawkins continues to use the same excuses and the same criticisms of the team are being mentioned on re-run in every article in every quote. Dan Hawkins before he says anything should ask this question in his head: "I have been at the University of Colorado for four years, is this a valid excuse or is this something that me and my coaching staff should have been able to fix since I was hired in December 16th, 2005 for $1,000,000 a year through the avenues of recruiting, through better coaching or better game preparation?" That should be the credo.
read the rest after the jump...
First multi-statement excuse:
"We gave up too many big plays, that's for sure. It's a little bit of a 'getting adjusted in the game' issue," CU coach Dan Hawkins said. "We've got so many young guys up front on both sides of the ball, that's part of it."
The infamous, "we have too many young guys up front on both sides of the ball" comment. Who's fault? Refer to the credo above.
Oh, the infamous "getting adjusted in the game" excuse. Who's fault? Refer to the credo above.
A re-use excuse:
"The biggest thing for us is some of the youth . . . you've got a few older guys who've been around," Dan Hawkins said of his team's pair of slow starts.
"They (older guys) tend to be a little more grizzled, the younger guys tend to be a little more shocked. For a kid playing high school ball, you get down by three touchdowns in a half, I mean that's hard to overcome. In college it's not. Part of it is learning that."
Refer to the part of credo that states the year of arrival, subtract 2009 from it and then realize that for almost four years now, this excuse has been mentioned in every single losing news column for the past four years.
Not an excuse but worth noting:
"I know this: Inside our program we're doing things right", said Dan Hawkins.
54 points to Toledo isn't right. Making Aaron Opelt look like a Heisman candidate isn't right. Losing to a first year head coach isn't right. Giving up 624 yards of total offense to the 85th ranked offense from a year ago isn't right. Giving up 11 plays over 20 yards isn't right. Allowing any college football team to score seven touchdowns, isn't right. Blowing coverages, missing third down tackles on quarterbacks, starting walk-on wide receivers, not having a pass rush isn't right. The fact that Toledo was able to run the spread better than the Buffs did all of last year with Big 12 talent isn't right.
Losing to Getting blown out by a MAC school for the first time in school history isn't right. Being embarrassed on national television isn't right in any shape or form.
Dan Hawkins, this isn't right. In reality, nothing is right.
I can just imagine how donors and long-time season ticket holders will react to that lone comment. Is their really that much of a gap between expectations that this is considered right?
Another case of a disconnect between reality and who knows:
"There were too many big plays, that`s for sure," Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins said. "We got close, but we weren`t able to stop them."
"We got close?" Really. What is the definition of the words right and close? I honestly woke up this morning with the intent of not focusing entirely on Dan Hawkins but how can he honestly with a straight face say these things? Close would have been giving up 28 points but instead the 85th ranked offense from a year ago scored 54. Close? Never has this program been so far away from relevant.
And my favorite quote:
Dan Hawkins said Scott "did a nice job. Unfortunately we weren't able to stick in there with him . . . he's a rhythm runner; he started getting a little confidence going. But the score got away from us."
So you just admitted that Scott needs carries to get going? So that totally explains why Scott has only been given a few carries a game in his college career. It's all making sense now.
The Buffs continue to make the same mistakes they made last year and the year before and the year before that. Take the Florida State game in 2008, once again on the road, where Dan Hawkins has won only two games in his career at Colorado. See if you can remember all the similar things that happened last night compared to that game: big plays on runs and in the special teams game given up, overthrown touchdown passes, dropped balls, missed field goals, sacks, turnovers.
No coach, this isn't right. And it isn't close. The program is not right and the program is not close.
Moving off that soap box.
I don't know where the Buffs go from here. I hope Cody Hawkins is alright, he suffered a huge hit and regardless of Cody Hawkins level of success in the eyes of Buff fans, the kid doesn't give up. I feel for Darrell Scott who had 12 carries for 85 yards and broke the Buffs' single game all purpose yards record. I feel for a lot of the Buffalo players.
I don't know where we go from here. But it has been a long four years. I remember where I was when the Buffs lost to Montana State and that feels like a long, long time ago.
But I do know one thing, if Coach Hawkins thinks this is right, things won't be right in Boulder for a long, long time.