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Game 4 Report Card - Colorado Buffaloes vs. Florida State Seminoles

The Ralphie Report ranks the good and the bad (majority) from this Saturday's Colorado Buffaloes vs. Florida State Seminoles game.

QUARTERBACK
 

D-

I commend Cody for taking the blame for this game and being open and upfront about it. That being said, he needs to be better...a lot better and he knows it. He completed less than 50% of his passes (17 - 36, 154 3TDs 1 INT), had a costly fumble and interception. The fumble was an incorrect call on the field but Hawkins' turnovers this year have been in big spots. Hawkins needs to improve on is overall play making. Missing two "no doubt about it" touchdown passes, badly, and another that would have put the Buffs first and goal, left 21 points on the field. Couple that with a missed field goal and a dropped kickoff at the 2 yard line that led to 5 FSU points, the Buffs left at least 29 points on the field. This team, good or bad, will go the way Cody goes. I would be shocked if he didn't come out and answer the call with a good game against Texas. He will have to outplay Colt McCoy for the Buffs to win. Easier said than done as McCoy has probably earned himself some conversation as a potential Heisman candidate if he continues to play the way he has been.
RUNNING BACK
 

B+

Rodney "Speedy" Stewart continues to impress with his versatility and his ability to find get to the outside even against a fast FSU defense. The Buffs running back's averaged 5 yards a carry Saturday with a makeshift offensive line. The running backs did a relatively solid job on picking up the blitzes especially Darrell when he was in the game. The backs made two big blocks on the plays the Cody overthrew the receivers for a touchdown. CU tried to get mismatches on the outside with the running backs on wheel routes that FSU really defended well. I personally would have liked to see the Buffs get more screen passes going with Stewart like Oregon State did with their smaller running back. It would've slowed the rush as well as put Speedy on the outside where he could make a play. I am hoping that we hear a definitive word on what is wrong with Darrell Scott. We keep hearing that the knee is dinged up but if that is the case, why are we risking his health by playing him sparingly? Stewart is giving us the best chance to win right now, though, so I can't complain with him getting the majority of the carries.

WIDE RECEIVER
 

D

Paging Patrick Williams and Scotty McKnight! Your attendance is needed for the Buffs to be successful. I wasn't expecting much from Williams but McKnight was Hawkins favorite target last year and by far the Buffs most consistent wide receiver. McKnight caught just one ball against the 'Noles for no yards and over the last two games, he has caught 5 balls for 21 yards. That will not get it done. I expected McKnight to have 60 - 70 catches this year, right now he is on pace for 48, a one catch improvement on last year's freshman season. Josh Smith had a good game at the wide receiver position, not at the kick returner position, with 7 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. He abused the secondary and always seemed open. All I have to say is Texas is going to look at Josh Smith and make sure he doesn't beat them. McKnight needs to step up and work the middle of the field like he did last year. Of course it doesn't help when Cody Hawkins was under 50%. The Buffs need a two touchdown game from McKnight next week for the bid at the upset.
TIGHT END
 

C+

What is one of the big differences between last year's team and this year's team? The use of the tight end. Only three catches between Geer and Devenney which came late in the game. With the lack of production in McKnight and the tight ends, teams are not having to respect the middle of the field with any consistency. The opposing team's safeties are going start leaning towards Josh Smith on the outside. The middle of the field should be open against Texas but we have not seen the Buffs make a concerted effort to work that area of the field. I wonder if Hawkins height has anything to do with finding the appropriate passing lanes to hit the tight end and McKnight. Either way, the Buffs need to make opposing defenses cover the whole field.
OFFENSIVE LINE
 

B-

For being a makeshift line, I thought they didn't do too bad. FSU DE Everette Brown beat OT Nate Solder on the third play of the game to cause a horrible miss called fumble that led to the first touchdown of the game. Losing Tuioti-Mariner the week before and Miller during the game could have made this game a complete blood bath but the Buffs were able to run the ball upfront, averaging 5 yards a carry and if Hawkins makes the three mis-throws, today Buffs' nation is talking about how good this line did picking up the all out blitzes on those plays.
DEFENSIVE LINE
 

D

A lot of blame going to the quarterback in this game but when we previewed the game last week, everyone and their mother knew that if the Buffs could stop the run and make the sub par quarterbacks of Florida State throw the ball 30+ times, the Buffs had a great chance of winning. CU failed miserably. Whether it was the gameplan or the players, the Buffs should have had one mission: to make Christian Ponder beat them. The Seminoles ran 46 times for 259 yards. The week before, FSU averaged 3.8 yards a carry against Wake Forest. CU's best unit according to Dan Hawkins didn't register one sack while the Hypolite, Herrod and Nicholas totaled 6 tackles on 46 rushing attempts. Maurice Lucas and Curtis Cunningham played decent but against a team who ran for 259 yards, the Buffs should expect more than 3 TFL. If the performance on Saturday needed to be any more embarrassing for the defensive line, the Seminoles didn't have one Junior or Senior on the offensive line. I know George Hypolite is a fan favorite but we need more production from him and if he is getting double teamed, the three guys surrounding him need to get pulled for guys like Curtis Cunningham and Conrad Obi. They wouldn't do any worse at this point as the Buffs have given up 570 yards rushing that past two games, ranking them 88th in the country against the run. Luckily for the Buffs they played a team in Eastern Washington that didn't run the ball or they would be out of the top 100. It won't get any easier this week as Texas rolls in with the #22 rushing attack in the nation. Colt McCoy is the Longhorns leading rusher averaging 8.2 ypc for a total of 287 yards.
LINEBACKER
 

C

Worst ranking of the year for the best unit on the team so far. Statistically, Shaun Mohler and Jeff Smart were solid. Mohler led the team with 7 tackles and 1 TFL but part of the blame for the 259 yards rushing falls on the linebackers, even though I don't think the defensive scheme was strong. The Buffs didn't use Brad Jones' speed enough to put pressure in the backfield. The refs missed a horrible holding penalty on Michael Sipili at the point of attack on Antone Smith's 60 yard touchdown run that changed the momentum of the game.
DEFENSIVE BACKS
 

B

Not a hard day for the defensive backfield trying to stop the pass as Christian Ponder is not very good at all and the front seven didn't make Ponder throw enough. The defensive backs were the run stoppers after FSU sealed off the our underachieving defensive line. You know your in trouble when 4 of the 5 leading tacklers are safeties and corner backs. Safties Ryan Walters, Daniel Dykes and Anthony Perkins combined for 19 tackles. This group better be ready because McCoy, Reesing, Freeman and Daniel are coming. No one has exposed this group yet and if the Buffs don't starting getting penetration in the backfield, I don't care if you have Champ Bailey in the secondary, good quarterbacks like the ones I have listed above will eat you alive. The defense better play out of their minds next week if the Buffs have any chance.
SPECIAL TEAMS
 

F

Short kickoffs, a kickoff returned for a touchdown, a missed chip shot field goal, a dropped kickoff at the two yard line that led to a safety and a field goal, 10.4 y/kickoff return, 7.5 y/punt return...need I say more. Coach Riddle better get his boys playing ball.
COACHING
 

C-

B+ for the offense, F for the defense giving the coaches a net grade of C-. I thought the offensive game plan was fine. I would like to see the tight ends get involved in the game plan but if Hawkins makes those three plays, we are sitting here today going crazy about how open this offense is and the creativity behind it. The running game was solid. I firmly believe with this one that the coaches coached but the players didn't make the plays. Woody Paige was completly wrong in his critique of the spread offense. It hasn't been polished yet but I go back to the point that the Buffs did establish a running game against a solid defense and were three throws away from exploding on the 'Noles. Defense is a different story. They made the FSU offense look functional which is hard to do with zero passing threat. The Buffs had one job to do and that was stop the run. Make the damn team who threw 5 interceptions last week throw the ball. Seems logical right? The Buffs didn't load the box at all, playing a base defense and letting FSU pick where they wanted to run. Against an offense so bad don't you throw everyone on the line of scrimmage and make Ponder beat you? Don't you be the aggressor? They made an inexperienced FSU line look like world beaters. Bad scheme.