NR (Coaches Poll)
September 1st, 2012
NR (Coaches Poll)
The Buffaloes kick off the 2012 season with a bevy of unknowns against a Colorado State with nearly as many (if not more) question marks. For Colorado to have any kind of success this season they HAVE to get off to a fast start against a non-conference slate that is built for it. A game like this, against an in-state conference rival on a neutral field is filled with intangibles and emotion, let's dive in and take a look at what will matter when the teams take the field this afternoon.
Dominate The Line Of Scrimmage
Every unit on the offensive side of the ball for the Buffaloes is a mix of inexperience, question marks and unknowns. Except for one, the offensive line. The Colorado offensive line has to come out and make a statement that they will lead this offense while it grows up. A smallish Rams defensive line running a new defensive system for the first time is the perfect opportunity to step up. Give Tony Jones some gaping holes to charge through. Allow Jordan Webb all day long to find his young wide receivers. Send a message to the entire Colorado State roster that strength and skill will rule the day and it all resides on the CU offensive line.
Don't Let The Secondary Be Tested
Whatever assumptions one may have about the talent discrepancies between these two teams matter not if Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson is allowed to sit back and take aim at sophomore cornerback Greg Henderson and freshman cornerback Kenneth Crawley. He IS good enough to exploit that inexperience if he remains untouched. This means pressure, pressure, pressure. Hopefully it can come from the defensive line instead of sending extra men, but whatever it takes, knock him down. Don't allow Chris Nwoke to get rolling so that extra guys have to stack the line. Allow the safety net for CU's young cornerbacks to stay in place and I have no doubt that they will shine.
This starts from the top down. Nearly half of the roster that will start on offense and defense today never experienced the Dan Hawkins era. Whatever fog surrounded the team throughout those years has never touched these freshmen and sophomores. It's up to Jon Embree and his coaching staff to continue to instill a sense of confidence, superiority, and most importantly, fun in these kids prior to taking the field. Find that right mix of motivation and let them go out and play.
In last year's Rocky Mountain Showdown, it was the Buffaloes that came out of the gate with a team that seemed to have a case of nerves while the Rams came out fired up and ready to play. Experience allowed that team to come back and win with a decent level of comfort. With the inexperience of the 2012 Buffaloes, taking an early lead is paramount in this first game. The Buffs will have plenty of opportunities to play from behind and learn how to come back, today's game should not be one of them.
What are your keys to today's game?