Weekly TRR Discussion - Colorado Welcomes Cal To Boulder

BERKELEY CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Jimmy Smith #3 of the Colorado Buffaloes passes against of the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 11 2010 in Berkeley California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Welcome to our weekly discussion amongst The Ralphie Report's staff. Same format as last week, so dig right in.

Feel free to throw your answers to the same questions into the comments below.

Buffs Questions:

1) Enough talk about the negative's in the Hawaii game. Did you see any positives from Jon Embree's debut?

Bob: Two things stood out to me. First, from my perspective, I thought the Colorado defense played relatively well. If you would have told me beforehand that CU would hold Bryant Moniz to 178 yards passing, sack him five times, cause a turnover and hold the Hawaii running backs to 46 yards on 16 carries, less than three yards per touch, I would have said the Buffs win by two scores.

Colorado could have adjusted a little better to stop Moniz as well as made a few tackles that the quarterback ran through but it is apparent this defense needs some more speed to not allow a quarterback to run 57 yards for touchdowns, especially one not known for his running ability. Colorado was aggressive on defense and it paid off except for when Moniz tucked it and ran.

The inexperienced cornerbacks - Greg Henderson, Travis Sandersfeld, Parker Orms and Deji Olatoye - more than held their own against Hawaii, a positive that should be taken away from this game. Other players who impressed were DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe,who had 1.5 sacks as well as a forced fumble, DE Josh Hartigan, who had a sack and LB Doug Rippy, who looked like the fastest Buff on the defensive side of the ball.

I also thought special teams play was strong. First time punter Darragh O'Neill ranked fifth in the Pac 12 after week one averaging 44.9 yards per punt. Two of his seven punts were over 50 yards and four were inside the 20 yard line. PK Will Oliver also made all three PATs and his only field goal attempt. It was one of the better days for CU special teams in a long time.

Ash: How's this: since the bar I was at couldn't tell the difference between ESPN '2' and ESPN 'News' a positive is that I didn't have to see our repeated 3-and-outs?   Seriously though, P-Rich is fantastic.

David: Yes, there were definitely some positives. The first was the emotion that the coaching staff displayed on the sidelines. Really, that they displayed anything on the sidelines was a nice departure from what we saw the last five years. After that, the whole punting and kicking situation seems to have worked itself out well (minus the Justin Castor kickoff out of bounds), which was one of the big things that Embree & Co set out to fix. Otherwise, in-game stuff can change from week-to-week. The one positive I want/need to see? Tangible improvements from each game to the next. Even if it's only in one or two areas. A team that improves each week is a well coached team.

Jon: The biggest thing for me was the strong performance from the freshmen special teams guys, Darragh O'Neill and Will Oliver. O'Neill averaged 44.9 yards on 7 punts and Oliver drilled his only field goal attempt. Assuming that we can play better than we did in Hawaii, these guys are going to need to keep that up in order for the Buffs to be successful. 

2) What one player would you hope to see the biggest improvement from on Saturday against California?

Bob: One is tough, can I pick the entire offensive line? If I had to go with one, I think it would be RT Jack Harris with the assumption that LT David Bakhtiari is back and healthy next week. The Buffs need Harris to play better, bottom line, but that could be said for the entire offensive line.

Ash: David Bakhtiari needs to work on not hurting his MCL. Daniel Munyer needs to work on, uh, playing center.

David: Nobody was perfect, but truly it has to be Tyler Hansen. He didn't look like an experienced 5th-year Senior out there all game. He needs to play like one from here on out.

Jon: Assuming that David Bakhtiari will indeed miss Saturday's game (we haven't heard anything definitively either way), Ryan Dannewitz is going to have to step up his play BIG TIME. We can't have a liability like that at a position as important as left tackle against any team, but especially not against a pass rush as strong as Cal's. I hope he has it in him or he is helped as much as possible, otherwise it could be a long day. 

3) What did you think of Eric Bieniemy's first game calling plays for the Buffaloes?

Bob: I thought he did fine calling plays. Player execution is a different story. It's always hard to judge an offensive coordinator when the quarterback has limited time to throw and holes aren't open. The Buffs had 12 first down runs where they averaged just 1.1 per carry. That sort of inability to run the ball on first down impacts what an offensive coordinator can do on second and third down. The Buffs struggled to get to third down and manageable yards. Of their 12 third down down attempts, 10 were over six yards. The Buffs finished 0 for 10 on those third down situations. Until the offensive line comes around, it will be hard to evaluate Bieniemy.

Ash: I liked that the offensive playcalling reacted to our lack of pass protection.  Noticeable adjustments are appreciated. Still though, it felt very predictable. I know we say we want to be able to run even when they know the run's coming, but I guess we're just not there yet.

David: It was hard to tell at times, because our execution was bad so often, but I liked what he wanted to do for the most part. I like where on the field he targeted Ryan Deehan, his dedication to the screen game and a few other things. But I do want to see him move Hansen around more on bootlegs and such early in the game to get him feeling more comfortable behind his offensive line.

Jon: You can't talk all you want about a commitment to the run, but your offense won't go anywhere fast with offensive line play like we saw last weekend. I do like that he seemed to change some things up at halftime, but I would like to see a stronger effort to get Tyler on the move and outside the pocket this week. 

CFB Questions:

1) Now that we have seen Oregon lose to LSU and the rest of the week one games, have your expectations for the Pac-12 changed?

Bob: After week one, I agree even more with Jon's feelings that the Pac 12 is wide open after Stanford and Oregon. Oregon will recover, LSU has a freakishly good defense. 

Many teams struggled including USC and Washington. Oregon State, Colorado, UCLA and Oregon already have a loss. 

I thought Cal stood out as a team that impressed most after week one especially breaking in a new quarterback. 

Ash: Even if Oregon had won, my expectation would've changed; that game was sloppier than a junior high football game.  I'm no longer convinced that our conference is going to supply a BCS contender this year. Maybe? But who...Stanford? No.

David: No they have not. Oregon will be good this year, and I believe they finish second to Stanford this year. The North will produce the champion, but I don't know if whoever it is (I'm saying Stanford) will be playing for Nat'l Championship. I still think teams will produce some good records and that there are a number of teams that will be better (or worse) than their opening game performances will suggest.

Jon: I didn't see the Stanford game, but a lot of what I have read states that they weren't that overwhelming either. USC struggled and we won't know about Arizona State until Missouri comes to town this Friday. I'm pretty confident that Oregon State isn't quite as bad as they looked and I sure hope that the same can be said for the Buffs. Basically I think this conference is going to be a mess in the middle and the champion will have at least two losses.

2) We've only seen one week of action, but is there a team ranked in this week's top 25 that you see finishing near or below .500?

Bob: USA Today poll still has Auburn listed so yeah, them.

Ash: Reference my comment last week about Auburn, it still stands. Auburn, I am officially delivering my vote of 'no confidence'.  I have no confidence in you.

David: There are two teams that I think might do that. Florida and Missouri. Missouri no longer gets protected in the North division of the Big 12 and lightning has already struck twice there at the QB position. Can they find a third very talented guy? And Florida is rebuilding and has to play a tough schedule and I don't think Brantley will lead them much of anywhere.

Jon: Thankfully the coaches kept Auburn in the Top 25, giving this question the easiest answer of all.

3) Give me the final scores:

- Arizona @ Oklahoma State 
- Missouri @ Arizona State
- Alabama @ Penn State 
- TCU @ Air Force
- Utah @ USC

Bob: 
- Arizona @ Oklahoma State 28 - 35 OSU
- Missouri @ Arizona State 21-24 Arizona State
- Alabama @ Penn State 33 - 20 Alabama
- TCU @ Air Force 27 - 24 TCU
- Utah @ USC 23-27 USC    

Ash: I was awful last week.  Uh...

- Arizona 31 @ Oklahoma State 48
- Missoouri 15 @ Arizona State 24
- Alabama 35 @ Penn State 10
- TCU 24 @ Air Force 17
- Utah 20 @ USC 18

David:

- Arizona 44 @ Oklahoma State 35
- Missoouri 17 @ Arizona State 29
- Alabama 41 @ Penn State 21
- TCU 27 @ Air Force 24
- Utah 31 @ USC 28

Jon:
- Arizona @ Oklahoma State - 31-38
- Missoouri @ Arizona State - 27-24
- Alabama @ Penn State  - 24-20
- TCU @ Air Force - 28-31
- Utah @ USC - 20-31

Awesome Question:

1) Last night I watched the Karate Kid remake and yea, let's just say it made me miss the original. What's your favorite movie from the 80's?

Bob: Ghostbusters

Ash: Gotta be Spaceballs. "We're in 'now' now. Whatever's happening 'now', is happening now."  

David: Really? I have to choose only one? Between Empire Strikes Back, The Princess Bride, The Thing, The Shining, Raiders & The Last Crucade, Back to the Future, Terminator? You kill me, Jon. But if I had to pick one, just one. It's got to be This is Spinal Tap.

Jon: Oh man, there's so many I love. Caddyshack, Rad, Goonies, Willow, Labyrinth... but for sheer rewatchibility (note: not a real word) I'll go with Die Hard.  

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