All the good vibes that came from CU's 2-0 start were replaced with a heavy dose of reality on Saturday. Yes, the Buffs are good enough to beat a bad Mountain West team and slip past a solid FCS team -- two things they failed to do last year -- but they aren't ready to compete against the better teams in the Pac-12.
In his season debut, Adkins tore off his redshirt on Colorado's second series of the game and rushed for 98 yards on 14 carries. It was the second most in a Colorado freshman's debut behind Marcus Houston's 100 against Colorado State 13 years ago. "He's good and fast," first-year coach Mike MacIntyre said. "He can run the ball. He's a good running back, and he'll play a lot for us."
"We try not to be one-dimensional with (No.) 6 and getting the ball to 6," Colorado quarterback Connor Wood said of Richardson, who entered the game leading the country in receiving yards per game at 208.5. "They did a good job of guarding him. I give the credit to Oregon State." Asked what exactly the Beavers did, Wood said, "They didn’t do anything special where it eliminated 6 out of the game."
"Those weren't coaching mistakes," he said. "Those were kids not doing what they're supposed to do, holding on to the ball correctly and recovering it correctly. Those are things we work on all the time. So we'll just have to keep working at it."
Richardson now has 487 yards receiving through three games which is more than CU's leading receiver managed all of last season (Nelson Spruce, 446 yards). Richardson is also one catch short of becoming the 12th player in Buffs' history to catch 100 passes in his career.
MacIntyre knows quality secondary play and recognizes fundamentally sound DB work. And with a few exceptions, what he saw from CU’s secondary in Saturday’s 44-17 slap-around by Oregon State did not qualify as a quality or fundamentally sound day at the office. The secondary wasn’t the primary culprit in CU’s first Pac-12 Conference loss under MacIntyre, but it’s as good a place as any to begin the repair job, as well as MacIntyre's assessment of what went amok.
True freshman CU linebacker Addison Gillam came into the game leading the Pac-12 in tackles per game and was the only player in the conference averaging more than 10 per game. Gillam didn't do anything to hurt that ranking with 13 total tackles against the Beavers. On one first-half series, he notched a tackle for loss on first down, chased down a screen play from behind on second down and made the tackle on third down forcing a punt.
Are these numbers where they should be for Colorado to compete for bowl bids and conference titles? Not even close. But what is required at this time is a time out, a step back. Looking back a month, is there anyone who would have not taken, under the circumstances, a 2-1 record? A month ago, Oregon State was a ranked team, Colorado a complete unknown. A month ago, there were very few fans, if any, who had marked the Oregon State game down as a victory (or Oregon, or Arizona State, for that matter).
MacIntyre said he never considered letting true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau get into the game. Liufau is No. 2 on the depth chart behind Wood, who had his first down game, going 14-for-34 for 146 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. ... Guard Daniel Munyer, who was benched after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second quarter, will have a chance to get back into the starting lineup this week, MacIntyre said.
10. Colorado: The Buffaloes looked rusty at Oregon State, but they also looked overmatched. While the 2-0 start was encouraging, the start of conference play reminded folks that this is still a major rebuilding job.
I'm fighting the urge to go back to dismissing the football team after this weekend's result. They're still exceeding expectations on the season, even though they missed a good opportunity to make a statement. Next weekend isn't going to be much better, but I remain hopeful that CU can creep up on a team or two once the calendar slips past the first weekend of October. Apropos, the first basketball practice of the season started at 7am this morning. Tad and the boys are back in business... #IsItNovemberYet?
"I trust (offensive coordinator Brian) Lindgren and I trust (head coach Mike) MacIntyre with what they do on offense," Richardson said. "I think everything is going to come full circle eventually, so I can't say that we should have forced me the ball. "I'm saying the route that Lindgren is going is good. We had to try different things. We had to try to run the ball, we had to try to get other players the ball on third downs, we had to try read plays. I think we tested the waters this past game and I think we're going to test other options as the season goes on."
Mike MacIntyre said all the right things during the Buffaloes' unexpected three-week layoff, but his team was not ready for the step up in competition that came with their conference opener. In the first half, CU didn't have a drive longer than six plays with four three-and-outs. Before posting a pair of 80-yard touchdowns in the fourth quarter, CU's best drive covered only 28 yards. And with OSU determined to contain junior wide receiver Paul Richardson at all costs, CU didn't have anyone else capable of making things happen. MacIntyre has brought a great attitude to Boulder and can get the program turned around, but it will take a while before CU can really compete and win in the resurgent Pac-12.
"He came to me after spring and we talked," MacIntyre said. "He said, ‘Coach, if I can red-shirt, I’d like to get bigger and stronger and get used to playing. I said, ‘If you can, I will but if people get hurt …’ He does need to get bigger and stronger."
The good news is that basketball practice officially started this morning!