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Monday Buff Bites: Bryce Givens Gets Start at Tackle, Guard Spots Undecided

Colorado_mediumGivens to Start for CU - The Longmont Times-Call
A lot of good information in Patrick Ridgell's article this morning. Some surprising news to say the least regarding the offensive line. OT Bryce Givens will get the start back at right tackle after missing last week's game due to personal issues. One would initially think that Ryan Miller would move back this his guard spot but both guard positions are undecided according to the coaching staff. The only players slated to start against the Mountaineers right now are LT Nate Solder, RT Bryce Givens and C Mike Iltis:

Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau said redshirt freshman right tackle Bryce Givens will start Thursday when the Buffs visit West Virginia. Givens missed CU’s 24-0 defeat of Wyoming on Sept. 19 and some practices prior to the game due to "personal issues," according to offensive line coach Denver Johnson. Givens, who started the first two games of 2009, was not available for interviews following Sunday’s practice, according to CU’s sports information department. Kiesau said Givens shows no ill effects from the time he spent away. "He’s fine, doing good," Kiesau said. Kiesau said Mike Iltis will start at center and Nate Solder at left tackle, as usual. He said the guard positions remain undecided. "We’re going to move some guys around," Kiesau said. "Not necessarily because someone did bad, but just to get some guys in and get some fresh faces in there and create some competition, especially inside. It’s the same nucleus inside, we’re just moving them around." Ryan Miller started the first two games at right guard before moving to tackle in Givens’ absence. Johnson said last week Ethan Adkins, Matt Bahr and Blake Behrensare in the mix at guard, as well. Adkins started the season’s first three games at left guard. CU did not release a depth chart Sunday.

If you go to the percentage grades released on the Colorado Buffs website for offensive lineman, guards Ryan Miller and Ethan Adkins have been the worst performers of the five offensive linemen who started the year. Miller's high grade is 82% and Adkins high grade is 79%, both against an undersized Toledo defensive front.

This will be interesting to see who starts Thursday night. Nothing wrong with a little competition or a wake up call. It looks like Givens earned his spot back and now the guards will have to battle it out this week in practice. This is a good thing from my point of view. It increases practice intensity which results in a more focused unit. Hopefully, Adkins and Miller earn their spots back because their is familiarity between the group with those players.

Kiesau said "we will see" in regards to RB Darrell Scott being "sharp" for the West Virginia game but Scott is supposedly healthy and ready to play. Dan Hawkins said "we will see" about when freshman DE Nick Kasa will see action.

Colorado_mediumBrown brings balance to West Virginia offense - Boulder Daily Camera
You are going to hear a lot this week about how West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown brings a better passing game to the Mountaineers compared to Pat White. At the same time, though, Brown's decision making has been questionable in the early going of the season:

Entering this weekend's action, West Virginia ranked 116th nationally and last in the Big East in turnover margin (-7). Bill Stewart said after the loss in Auburn that his offense would continue to play aggressively with Brown breaking the huddle.

Colorado_mediumWest Virginia: Brown should be fine by Thursday
West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown suffered a shoulder bruise in the fourthquarter of last week's loss to Auburn. He would have been questionable to play against Colorado if the game was last Saturday but with five extra days off, Brown is expected to start. The injury is on his non-throwing shoulder but if they get to Brown, it may only take one hit to re-aggravate it. Just more incentive for the defense to get after it again this Thursday. Also:

The nationally televised game (ESPN) Thursday night has been declared a "Gold Rush" for which fans are being asked to wear gold shirts.

Colorado_mediumCU cornerback Brown to square off against hot WVU receiver - The Denver Post
As mentioned above, West Virginia's now has a passing attack and the leading receiver is Jock Sanders who is ranked third nationally in receptions per game at 9.67. If you remember correctly, Toledo WR Eric Page torched the Buffs in week two from the slot position. If Colorado is going to pull of a major upset, the Buffs will need to account for Sanders and the middle of the field.

Colorado_medium Brooks: Defense Up For Mountaineer Challenge - 

"If you ask him, he'll probably say, 'I don't want to be Pat White.' He's a whole different animal," Burton said of West Virginia QB Jarret Brown. "Pat White was athletic and they had a whole lot of plays designed for him to run. It's no different now, but (Brown) is definitely a passer. The guy can use his arm or his feet; he's a football savvy guy when you watch his film."

But there are times when Brown appears not-so-savvy. During spring drills in Morgantown, coach Bill Stewart told reporters, "One scrimmage . . . I went over to him and told him, 'Youmake one more throw like that and you will never quarterback this football team . . . "He wants to make every play, but sometimes you have to learn to retreat. There is nothing wrong with a punt. Whenever I was an offensive coordinator in high school, college and the pros, I said, 'You've got to protect this football.'

Colorado_mediumWoelk: Expectations, reality don't always mesh at Colorado - Buffzone
I responded to this article in yesterday's post in case anyone wants to know my take. In a nut shell, no one is expecting the University of Colorado to field a top 10 team but the Buffs should be respectable on the field, go to bowl games and have winning records. That isn't to much to ask. The article feeds into the current administration's propensity to look at the negatives and provide excuses for them. Certainly there are obstacles and no one said it was going to be easy, it isn't easy for any school and frankly, that is why you get paid $1.0 million+ a year. I am tired of the excuses and I am tired of seeing teams in our region like Missouri, Kansas, Houston, Boise State, Utah, BYU and even Colorado State the last few years, who have similar obstacles in recruiting and athletic budgets outperform the University of Colorado.  

Colorado_mediumBuffs wage battle with attrition - The Longmont Times-Call
Patrick Ridgell of the LongmontTimes has an interesting article on recruiting and the attrition that goes along with it. He takes a deep look at Hawkins' 2007 class and looks at what players are still on the team.

more links after the jump...

Colorado_mediumDouble-T nation Daily Diatribe :: 09.28.09 - Double-T Nation
Some interesting things are brewing in Lubbock after their loss to Houston. OL Brandon Carter has been suspended indefinitely and LB Marlon Williams had a nice message to Mike Leach via twitter that should make for some nice discussion over on Doube-T Nation today.

Colorado_mediumBig 12 power rankings: Week 5 - College Football Nation - ESPN

12. Colorado: The Buffaloes got the week off before a tough trip to West Virginia, which still remembers the Mountaineers'tough loss in Boulder last season. Rodney Stewart was the key in that triumph with a career-best 166 yards. He likely will be called on again against a tougher West Virginia run defense that ranks No. 14 nationally. Defensive improvement will be key this week for the Buffaloes as they gear up for a challenging West Virginia team led by multi-purpose quarterback Jarrett Brown and Jock Sanders, who ranks third nationally in receptions per game.

Colorado_mediumHawkins aims to get Buffs to scholarship limit - Boulder Daily Camera

The Colorado football program has been operating well under the maximum allowable scholarship limit for major college programs for years now. But it`s inching its way back to fully loaded status -- 85 scholarships in any one season -- and might actually reach it on signing day in February. Coach Dan Hawkins said he plans to sign 21 players during the 2010 recruiting cycle. He has seven known commitments now, which means the next four months should be a lively time for CU recruiting junkies and the Web sites that follow the game behind the game.

Colorado_mediumMBB - Aussie Harris-Tunks aims to fill CU Buffs' void at center - Boulder Daily Camera

"He`s got good size. He`s an excellent defender. He`s intelligent and he passes well," is how Bzdelik describes his freshman big man. "He can score a little bit, too."Harris-Tunks is a product of the Australian Institute of Sport and has international playing experience as a member of Australia`s under-19 squad. He also visited Gonzaga and Vanderbilt before committing to CU last year.

Colorado_mediumBuffs quick to imitate W. Va. stars - The Denver Post

On the scout team, the freshman tailback from Denver East imitates West Virginia's electrifying runner, Noel Devine, so the CU defense will have some idea of what to expect Thursday night at Morgantown. Colorado coaches say it's impossible to replicate the speed of West Virginia, led by Devine and quarterback Jarrett Brown. But the 5-foot-8, 190-pound Hildreth is doing his part by impersonating Devine. CU wide receiver Toney Clemons has the task of mimicking Brown. Hildreth, an invited walk-on, is redshirting this season. Clemons, a junior, must sit out this season under NCAA transfer rules after leaving Michigan.