This may be jumping the gun a bit (it totally is), as the 2014 season hasn't even started yet, but with the groundbreaking ceremony for the new facilities around the corner, the best season Colorado football will have since the Pac-12 (and a few years before that) is fresh on my mind, and it is worth talking about. 2015 is the year of reclamation for Colorado football. Off we go!
We lost a giant of CU football in Paul Richardson last year, and he will be forever remembered in the annals of Folsom. 2014 should help us take a step towards replacing him, but we will definitely notice his absence. 2015, however, will show us a skill position group better than any with P-Rich. The problem with this upcoming season is experience, as many expected contributors have not played college football before, or have played very little. All of the future contributors are contributing now. In 2015, Bryce "Mojo" Bobo will be a redshirt sophmore, Nelson Spruce will be an impact senior, and savior Shay Fields will be a sophmore. Michael Adkins will transition into an upperclassman, bigger and stronger, as well Devin Ross. All of that adds up to a strong foundation for the offense. Physically and mentally, we rushed this wine to the market, and then gave it time to age. It should be getting expensive in two years. This is where the good part starts.
QB play at CU recently has been, to put it nicely, a dumpster-fire. Between Hawkins, Wood, and Hansen on his bad days, we frankly looked like we just put an equipment out there and let him try his best (wink wink). Sefo Liufao showed a glimmer of hope last season, and should continue to improve this year. His mechanics have improved, as have his confidence and his beard. This sets up 2015 nicely, with a junior QB with 2 years of starting experience, a great work ethic, and workable parts around him. He could be a top signal caller in the PAC, with Hundley gone as well as Mariota. The only thing that could hold this back would be O-line play, a problem in recent years. Stephane Nembot will be a senior, so maybe that helps, and the depth Coach Mac has built the past two classes should shine through. We lose two seniors after 2014, which never helps, but another year in this new and improved S & C program should help make up for that loss. I still expect the offense to struggle. But the other side of the ball should have more success...
This where Colorado could be, dare I say, top half of the Pac-12 in 2015. The stars are aligning. This season, Josh Tupou is still a junior and should be All- Pac caliber. Crawley is a junior, and as disappointing as he has been, he's almost there. Same with Solis and Kafovalu. Simply put, this is the marinating year. We get the ingredients seasoning, some spices, maybe herbs (I don't know how to marinate), and then let them sit and gain flavor. This sets them up for a great meal in a while. That metaphor probably went on a little too long, but bear with me. The only thing not going 2015's way is the departure of Greg Henderson, a CU all-star.
The secondary will be two-deep at every position, with great depth at the hands of Yuri Wright, among others. Tedric Thompson should be a player, as will be Evan White. The secondary instantly got faster and more athletic this year, and will do the same next year, while only graduating one player, albeit one of the best ever. Linebackers are a real strength. Addison Gillam, the golden boy from California, the Sunshine mixed with Superman of the team (Remember the Titans reference, yes), will be a leader and an upperclassman. I shudder to think how dominant he could be. Kenneth Olugbode, Deaysean Rippy, Rick Gamboa, Grant Watanabe, all of them are starting caliber and young at that, and only one is starting now. This will be fun to watch. D-line is where it gets exciting. Derek McCartney will a 4th year sophomore, Tupuo will still be there. as are Solis and Kafovalu, and my boy Michael Mathewes will be starting on the other edge. Terran Hasselbach will be a great option on passing downs, and they have dynamite freshman and hair extraordinaire T.J. Fehoko coming and competing, as well as hair sidekick N.J. Falo. Hopefully those two red-shirt, but it never hurts to have competition. The hogs in the trenches can become one of this team's specialties.
I believe CU football fans are tempering expectations out of pure self-preservation, in order to protect their sanity. But this portion of the Year of Reclamation really could vault Colorado back to where it belongs. These facilities put them into national recognition as far as impressiveness goes, and we already seeing some of the fruits of Rick George's labor. They are reaching for higher and higher prospects, and it's pure statistics that if they offer enough high level juniors, one of them will "fall" to us. I predict either Tim Lynott or Sheriron Jones, or dare I say both, will make the right choice. As for under the radar prospects, this is really under the radar, but Frank Umu from Heritage High School is an interesting prospect. He has the frame and the tape and would be a great late-cycle offer. CU can always use big, Colorado bodies.
I believe that 2015 is the year Colorado will jump from being a semi-bowl team in 2014 to a true competitor in the Pac-12. They might not win more games, they might not make a bowl (their schedule is ridiculously hard), but dammit, I believe in Coach Mac and I believe in this team.
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