Barnett wanted a Return To Dominance, MacIntyre first must settle for a Return To Relevance – and his upwardly mobile first-year CU program can take a step in that direction Saturday at Folsom Field against Arizona (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
Defeating the Wildcats would give the Buffs their initial Pac-12 Conference win of the MacIntyre Era and send them into November one game above .500 (4-3) this late in a season for the first time since 2008. CU lost its first three conference games to Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State by a combined score of 155-46.
"We don't really talk about bowls, but they're at the first time where maybe they could utter it," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "We're three away. To me that's good motivation for them to go out and practice. And to understand what's at stake and keep focusing, and keep getting better and remembering every little thing matters."
A part-time player during the first two years of his career, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior linebacker was on the field for a career-high 56 plays against Charleston Southern last Saturday. Known for his speed and hard hits, he recorded a career-high eight tackles in CU's 43-10 win, including one tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
"He's got great speed," CU defensive coordinator Kent Baer said. "He can cover the field and he's pretty tough. He deserves to get a little bit more playing time as we move on and he has, and he will as long as he continues to do those things. He's very talented."
AG: Not at all. I thought I would be sitting out or switching off reps with Brady Daigh. I thought I’d be used more as a situational guy if anything. I was pretty surprised to get as much time as I did.
As a true freshman, he leads the Buffaloes with 67 tackles, 13 of those coming at or behind the line of scrimmage. Gillam is having the type of success that freshmen don't normally have. But, what Gillam is doing is not just impressive for a freshman. He's putting up numbers that a lot of seniors haven't put up.
With junior quarterback Connor Wood struggling, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre called upon freshman Sefo Liufau to beat Charleston Southern last week. In his first career start, Liufau successfully led the Buffaloes (3-3, 0-3 Pac-12 Conference) to a decisive 43-10 victory. The true freshman threw for 198 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions in his debut. Liufau received a lot of help from freshman running back Michael Adkins II, who also made his first career start last Saturday and set the school’s freshman touchdown record with four rushing touchdowns.
When tape of CU’s coverage issues in games one-two began filtering out to upcoming opponents, Neinas expected to see replays of what CSU and Central Arkansas had attempted in their return games. His expectations were met. CU’s last two opponents – Arizona State and Charleston Southern – borrowed the strategy.
"They went to school on that . . . they both got away from what they normally do," said Neinas. But his coverage teams held fast. Both ASU and CSU (the out-of-state version) picked up on the middle return concept that gashed CU early in September.
Colorado football's 14th commit for 2014, running back Jomon Dotson, is reportedly receiving interest from one of the Buffaloes' Pac-12 rivals. According to 247Sports.com's Justin Hopkins and NorCalPreps.com, the speedy back from American Canyon, Calif., is being pursued by the Washington Huskies and they want him to play on the defensive side of the ball at the next level. This news comes after a reported offer being extended from Boise State to Dotson.
First-year football coach Mike MacIntyre, trying to squeeze every last drop of ability from an outmanned team, is nurturing and patient. Boyle, in his fourth year as basketball coach, with a team picked third in the Pac-12, has a squad on the verge of national prominence. "It's my job," Boyle said during Wednesday's media day, "to keep them on edge." With four starters back off a 21-12 team, here are three areas of concern as the season opener against Baylor approaches Nov. 8.