1. Colorado continues to be patient. Colorado's depth chart in its season-ending 24-17 loss to Utah featured a true freshman quarterback and only six seniors, facts that speak to the cupboard left in place for first-year coach Mike MacIntyre and the new staff's willingness to trade a painful present for a more successful future. But another round of speed bumps await: Colorado has found an identity, which is a start, but still needs time – at least another full season – to develop the talent and depth needed to challenge in the brawny South.
"I was pleased with our turnovers last year," Baer said. "We were in the 20s. I'd like to get in the 40s. It's something we emphasize every day. We do the turnover circuit every day. We make a big deal about tipped balls. To me, when you get a tipped ball, that's half a turnover as far as we're concerned.
With the help of some ADs, he pencils out a guesstimate of what the average Pac-12 athletic department took in the first year of the new deals. He comes up with $4.3 million. Not bad, but no one is $21 million flush.
5. Colorado QB Sefo Liufau, RB Michael Adkins, WR Nelson Spruce
The skinny: Liufau was solid as a true freshman starter last year. He should be much better this fall. Adkins combined with Christian Powell to essentially split 1,000 yards rushing in 2013, with Powell offering the power option. Spruce was a solid No. 2 behind Paul Richardson last year, but it remains to be seen how he will perform as option No. 1.
Liufau, gearing up for his sophomore season, did his part to be permanently gold for the spring by throwing four touchdown passes in Friday's practice. He was 9-for-17 for 145 yards without an interception.
"Sefo has been very good," MacIntyre said. "The first couple of days, I noticed a zip on the ball. He was stronger. I think he was completely healthy, his body was fresh. He’s throwing off his back foot better and rotating his hips better, so he has more zip on the ball. He’ll be more accurate. He was good before, but he’s gone out and done the things that Coach (Brian) Lindgren told him to do in the offseason on his own, and he’s improved in that area."
Kicking gurus have called him among the most talented they had ever seen. Football camp directors have lauded his ‘5-Star’ leg. And coaches and scouts have raved about his potential. Neinas was one of those in attendance on one of many nondescript days on the fields of Monterrey Tech and it didn’t take long before he relayed his amazement back to the desk of CU head coach Mike MacIntyre.
"One of the reasons at the age of 19 I decided to sue the NCAA was out of principle," Bloom says. "I couldn't comprehend why an organization in Indianapolis could tell a kid like me, who had worked my ass off to get where I was in skiing and football, that I couldn't do it. It wasn't a coach saying you're not good for the team or you're a distraction. It was a no-faced, unknown organization saying no, you can't do that."
In 33 games, the Buffs are shooting just .298 behind the 3-point line, but in four postseason games, they are shooting .368 from long distance. Senior Brittany Wilson has made 10 of 25 3-pointers in the postseason. Freshmen Lauren Huggins is 5-for-8. Kresl is closer to the team's season average making five of 17 3-pointers, but several of her shots have come in big moments to cool an opponents' run or start one for the Buffs.
The University of Colorado will travel to face UTEP in a Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) third round game on Friday, March 28, at 7 p.m. at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
Returning to CU would give Dinwiddie time to recover from his knee surgery and get back into form without the pressure of trying to stay in the NBA. He led the Buffs in scoring as a sophomore, averaging 15.3 points. This season as a junior, he averaged a team-high 14.7 points in 17 games.
There were certainly some positive aspects to this season, but throughout the 35-game schedule, Hardy, head coach Tad Boyle and the assistant coaches all noticed little things that each player can improve upon — whether it's someone needing better lateral movement, or someone else needing more strength to pull down and secure a rebound.