Ahhh, the thrill of victory. Especially after coming from behind. After playing poorly in the first half, the Buffs rebounded well. I was able to review the game film this week (unlike last week, when I couldn't bring myself to watch that abomination again) and here are my notes:
Paul Vigo got picked on a lot before he went down, and then Jonathan Hawkins was picked on just as much.
Jonathan Hawkins was the one victimized on that Hawaii TD in the first half. We went with six DBs, and he was playing pretty far off, and then got stuck in traffic.
David Bakhtiari may not be perfect out there, but he is getting better. He looked solid in pass protection, and while he is having trouble sustaining his blocks in the run game, he is getting out to the second level and doing some work.
Our Tight Ends seem to be better at lead blocking than in-line blocking. Hmmm. Both Ryan Deehan and Luke Walters had some trouble sealing off the edge on running plays.
Ethan Adkins looked much better in the second half against Hawaii than he did the previous five halves of football that the Buffs have played. He elevated his game there after halftime.
Brian Lockridge looked like a Running Back out there, and it makes me very happy. There was a huge shift in his game from the last two weeks (and the last few years, for that matter) to today, which led to his getting those carries and actually doing something with them. Not only did he run with more patience, opting to follow his blocks and find a crease before turning on the jets, but he also looked much improved in pass protection.
There haven't been any botched snaps yet on Special Teams, which is good, but Ryan Iverson's long-snaps are still getting to Zach Grossnickle too slowly. There was a punt in the second quarter that could easily have been blocked, if not for the second-level CU blockers doing a good job of slowing down the rush.
Anthony Perkins also got picked on a bit in coverage. He got beat a few times, including one play where Hawaii's Pilares double-juked him and ran around him.
Jon Major got nice penetration a few times, including on the play where Will Pericak tackled the Hawaii Running Back for a loss. Pericak might not have been able to make that tackle if Major hadn't effectively sealed his gap.
Since that missed sack against CSU, Jimmy Smith has been pretty impressive when it comes to wrapping guys up and bringing them down. Guys just don't get around or through him.
Jon Major nearly had a great pass deflection in coverage (he did deflect the ball slightly, but the Receiver did a great job of adjusting to the ball late) at the end of the first half. He also made a great deflection in coverage in the fourth quarter against Pilares. He picked him up coming across the middle and ran stride-for-stride with him. That's mighty impressive for a Linebacker
The "Buffalo" package, with Matt Bahr and Scott Fernandez in as Utility Backs worked well on Stewart's second Touchdown. Bahr did a great job of sealing off the edge, and Adkins and Fernandez were able to come across and keep the hole open for Speedy.
Ray Polk has great closing speed. His ability to get to guys quickly made up for some of our inabilities to stay with the Hawaii slot receivers. He is really coming into his own. He can hit and is getting more consistent. That is good news.
On Kasa's near sack: Bryant Moniz has great feet. If that had been just about any other QB, Kasa would've dropped him for a loss.
Will Pericak got great pressure on Moniz on third down to hold Hawaii to a Field Goal in the third quarter. He beat a double team and was able to hit the QB as he threw the ball.
The Defensive line had very good recognition, especially in the second half.
On Lockridge's long run in the fourth quarter, they sent him right through a hole opened up between our "weak links" on the Offensive Line, Left Guard (Adkins) and Center (Iltis). The play at those two spots is definitely improving. There is still plenty of room for them to get better, which needs to happen, but this was a step in the right direction.
Michael Sipili played much less this week, I believe because they needed speedier Linebackers in there to help cover Hawaii's 4-Receiver sets. Patrick Mahnke was the main guy spelling him, and they utilized him in zone coverages quite a bit.
Overall there is still quite a bit for the Buffaloes to work on. Being at home definitely helped, but we already knew that they play better at home. The fact that they played one of the worst teams at defending the run also helped. Hopefully that will give them confidence and they can build on the effort they gave on Saturday. The team we play next may only be 1-2, but they are talented. Lets hope they use these next two weeks wisely, and figure out how to sustain some of the momentum they gained against Hawaii.