The Big 12 as the League of the Running Back? CU's new WR's combined for 54 yards? Week 1 wasn't always by the numbers, but it got the job done.
Statistically, the University of Colorado’s trio of new receivers didn’t do a whole lot in Saturday’s 24-3 win over Colorado State. Toney Clemons, Travon Patterson and Paul Richardson combined for just five catches for 54 yards. But, the impact of the three speedsters can’t be measured in those numbers.
These numbers are more telling: six for 78 and 4.4. The speed of the new receivers opened up the field on Saturday, helping senior slot receiver Scotty McKnight catch six passes for 78 yards. That speed also spread the field and helped the Buffs’ running game average 4.4 yards per rushing attempt.
Hawkins said that one of the numbers that jumped out at him from Saturday’s game was that the Buffs ran just 60 offensive plays. "Typically, when you have 60 plays, you don’t win usually," he said. "Normally, when we win you’re probably going to have in the mid-70s. I was kind of shocked about that when I looked at it." Saturday was the 12th time in the Hawkins era that CU ran 60 plays or less. They are now 3-9 in those games. The other wins came against CSU in 2007 (60 plays) and against Iowa State in 2006 (57 plays).
Quotes from Yesterday's Dan Hawkins Press Conference - CUBuffs.com - The link goes to the video, and I've jotted down some quotes here:
On Cal's statistically suspect Pass Defense in 2009: They're different defensively than they were last year, they've got some talent back there... [exploit] isn't the right word at all, there's things we've got to fix on our end
Cal team speed vs. Cal team speed: Their D-Line is very explosive, they've got great team speed. All their skill guys can run, that'll definitely be a big step up.
On rotating 8 D-linemen: You'd always like to have five, but having the competition pushes some guys and it means that you can't slack off.
"What do you need to clean up with the Run game?": It might be a shade here or a hat inside or outside here, or the guy putting eyes on the backer sooner, or picking up on your combination block here, just the nuances of running the ball
On the Rugby punt: The intent there is that when you move the pocket like that, you're giving their punt return team something else to think about... and I think that kick is a more natural stroke for him, I think he kicks it better like that... Though I've been telling him; "you have 53 yards of open field to kick it to, if you don't kick it very far, even mobile Dan Hawkins can get to it," i told him "you've got to spread it around more..." But he'll get better.
On Pericak: You might think that, "Oh, he didn't get as many sacks as I though he would," but he takes on a tremendous number of double teams. He and Cunningham fit those plays perfectly. Not a lot of flash, but... the kind of guy who's there every play
On the 7,000 CU Fans going to the Cal game in Berkeley: That definitely helps us, having that voice in the crowd, that helps our guys.
"He [Justin Torres] might be our smoothest zone-runner, I mean he sees every cut; he hits every cut almost perfect every time, he has really nice vision and he can do it without changing a lot of direction"
After the first weekend of college football, the numbers are always skewed.
Of course, this makes them all the more interesting … Hawaii, which lost to USC, 49-36, in the opener, leads the nation with a total of 459 yards passing (the 588 total yards offense is almost double what Colorado put up on Colorado State). That number should come down this week, as the Warriors travel across the continent to face Army, which just happens to be second in the nation (after week one, anyway) in pass defense (having surrendered only 31 yards passing in a 31-27 win over Eastern Michigan). We’ll check in on the Buffs’ third opponent again in a week or so …
The Buffs’ opponent this weekend, Cal, leads the nation in total defense, having given up only 31 yards of offense to Cal-Davis. The Golden Bears are 3rd in rushing defense, and 6th in pass defense, but it was just the Cal-Davis Aggies, after all. Cal also is tied for the nation’s lead in sacks allowed, having given up zero to the Aggies in the 52-3 thumping.
The Buffs are first in the Big 12 in scoring defense, and tied for 11th nationally, after giving up only a field goal to Colorado State; Colorado is also tied for the Big 12 lead in sacks, with three (good enough for a tie for 16th nationally); and The Buffs are 2nd in the conference in rush defense (49 yards surrendered), behind only Texas A&M (31 yards). (At the end of the third quarter, the Buffs had given up only 20 yards of rushing to the Rams) …
"It is a lot tougher challenge," CU junior quarterback Tyler Hansen said. Although unranked, Cal is used to winning. The Bears have been to a bowl game in seven straight seasons and have never finished with a losing record in coach Jeff Tedford’s eight years at the school. That’s quite a difference from facing a CSU team that has now lost 10 straight games.
CUatthegame Blogger makes a deal with the football gods, and the Big 12 is off and running: after the jump.
"Wake me when it’s over" " CU At the Game - A CU Football blog by Stuart Whitehair - Some nice writing and a vote for cautious optimism going into Berkeley this weekend.
Let’s say the football gods had stopped by your place last Friday night, and offered you a 21-point Colorado victory over Colorado State. The only condition which came with the guarantee - that you not know the circumstances behind the win. Would you have jumped at the chance for a three touchdown win?
Yeah. Me, too.
Three Big 12 running backs topped the 200-yard mark in Week 1 — Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter (257 yards), Kansas State’s Daniel Thomas (234) and Oklahoma’s Demarco Murray (218). Those also happened to be the top three rushing performances in the entire country in Week 1. It’s difficult to tell after one week whether conference teams are shifting their philosophy. But several teams are breaking in new quarterbacks this season, and there is a talented crop of runners. That combination could lead to more yards on the ground.
Travis Sandersfeld is the anti-Allen Iverson. He loves practice and makes the most of it. The junior defensive back from Limon came on as a replacement in the season opener for Colorado against Colorado State after starting nickel back Parker Orms suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The Colorado Buffaloes say they`re "sick and tired" of the road losing streak that`s hanging around their collective necks. "We have a lot of guys who are leaders," said cornerback Jalil Brown. "We realize this is not a vacation. It`s a business trip. We`re going there to win ... not to see California."