I know we don't want to keep rehashing the events of this past weekend, so I apologize in advance. There will be a little rehashing in the Sac State Key Matchups.
We all know the performance last week was unacceptable, and while Sac State isn't the toughest opponents, we do have a number of things we desperately need to improve on.
- The entire Colorado Offense vs. Running the Damn Ball - Everyone knows this is important. All of the coaches have stated that our performance last week was unacceptable. Coach Marshall took responsibility for his line's dismal performance, and I hope his players took that to heart. They spent most of the last game not on the same page and that cannot happen again. They need to sustain their blocks and get a push in the run game. The fullbacks weren't bad, but the tight ends also need to step up their game. They claim that this was the worst they looked in the past few months, and hopefully they are telling the truth and it was a terrible, depressing fluke.
- The CU Receivers vs. The Dropsies - We left a LOT of yards out there, including a likely 90 yard TD to Gerald Thomas very early in the game. No one was immune, and each of the receivers had at least one pass hit them in the hands and bounce out, with our top three guys (Nelson Spruce, Tyler McCulloch and Thomas) dropping multiple balls. Hopefully it was game one jitters and it doesn't happen again.
- The Young Running Backs vs. Earning Opportunities - Coach Bieniemy has said that he is going to give some carries to the freshmen, Donta Abron and Terrence Crowder. That is a good thing, and hopefully they make the most of their opportunities. Things they can learn from Tony Jones? Don't dance, take the yards that the defense (and your blocking) gives you, follow your blocking, and get ready to take some shots. Tony Jones had issues and Malcolm Creer definitely looked like a guy still coming back from a knee injury. Hopefully the new guys can show us something.
- Colorado DBs vs. Growing up Quickly - With Ray Polk out and Parker Orms taking his spot, that means we will have at least two true freshman DBs out there in the nickel package. And if Greg Henderson can't go, that means we'll have two true freshmen as our starting cornerbacks and 3 in there when we go nickel. Kenneth Crawley wasn't perfect, but he looks like he'll be okay out there. Marques Mosley also had a solid start, and while Yuri Wright wasn't in there for very long, he didn't make any mistakes out there. We need these three guys or whoever else gets out there to play big. They will get tested more this week than they did against CSU no matter how the game is going, and it will only get tougher as we move forward. This group has a lot of potential, but you can't ignore the fact that they're all so young.
- Colorado's Front Seven vs. The Run - While we weren't bad against the run, we did allow a few inopportune gains that impacted the momentum of the game. Hopefully Doug Rippy continues to adjust to game speed, because he didn't look sharp against CSU. Even the tackles he was in on, he looked tentative and didn't display the strength we saw out of him last year. Derrick Webb, Kyle Washington and Brady Daigh were good, but they also missed some reads. And up front, Will Pericak is going to continue to see double teams, so the other guys really need to be spot on with their recognition and drop those knees when they see a run. Our defensive line can't get pushed off the ball like they were against the Rams.
- CU Defense vs. Forcing Turnovers - Daigh and Pericak combined to get the ball back to our offense once, but that isn't enough. Especially against a team that is going to air the ball out more, everyone on defense needs to be ready to snag a tipped ball or to strip the QB or a wideout. That was supposed to be a priority for our defense this offseason, so I want to see us forcing some turnovers.
- Like I talked about in earlier pieces, some of our Special Teams units were vastly improved over last season. This week, I want to see continued progress from our Kick Coverage team. If they can work on wrapping up, we'll look a lot better there. We gave up a couple of longer returns after one of our guys made contact but couldn't wrap the returner up. Let's get that fixed.