Football is back in Folsom and I couldn’t be happier. Colorado kicks off their first of three games at home against the Texas State Bobcats at noon. Texas State, coached by Everett Withers, is in the midst of a huge rebuild, and it shows. Their two deep is littered with sophomores and freshman. They have potential, and the trial by fire will certainly help them later in their careers, but right now, it’s not looking good for Texas State. Let’s look at the things CU needs to do to win this game (hint – they can’t just end the game with a higher score than the opponent)
Establish offensive rhythm
The win over Colorado State showed a very impressive defense and an offense that could move the ball. However, it was rare that the movement turned into points. Either a sack was taken that shouldn’t have been, or there was a penalty nullifying a big run, or turnovers killed the drive. It’s the first game, mistakes happen, but for a ballyhooed offense like CU’s, they need to show better than that. Expect the Buffs to take out a lot of anger against Texas State. Montez will loosen up the arm with some quick throws to the outside and Lindsay will have a lot of power plays. The coaches will emphasize the simple execution plays. Traps, power blocks, slants, all of these plays that the Buffs rely on to get guaranteed yards. CU has 120 minutes of live bullets before Washington, and they will use all of them to get the offense clicking at full speed.
Shore up the line
Diving more specifically into the offense’s issues, CU needs to get that O-line going. Captain, anchor, and badass Jeromey Irwin may be suspended for another contest, which certainly changes things, but it does not fully excuse the effort by the hogs up front on Friday. They moved the ball well on the ground, but Montez had a quite a few hits, sacks, and pressures. Costly penalties by Tim Lynott and Aaron Haigler stalled drives. This O-line has the talent to move people off the ball, and I expect them to do that against TSU. By using those simple plays referenced earlier, the offensive line can go back to basics. Communication and technique are sure to be two of the main focal points.
On defense, the line did just fine, but it could use some more refinement. I was very impressed by Leo Jackson’s performance last Friday, and Javier Edwards is obviously a huge talent. The depth seemed to do well too, with Jase Franke providing consistent interior push and Lyle Tuiloma performing better than expected at nose tackle. But a few members of this unit just need some more action before they really explode. Chris Mulumba is new to the game of football itself, let alone Power 5 football. This game is a good opportunity to put him out there and let him learn. The same goes for Frank Umu (if his suspension is lifted) and Javier Edwards. These men are physical monsters, and the more live reps they take, the more they develop mentally.
Earn reps for the young guns
Texas State will not just roll over and quit when they walk in. CU has to win the game first, and I would be lying if my battered CU mentality isn’t worrying about this game (overkill, I know). The Bobcats have some serious talent, with Mississippi State transfer Damian Williams at QB and Kentucky transfer TV Williams at WR. The Buffs cannot sleepwalk in this one. However, if the best case scenario does happen, CU will be up pretty big. This means a few things: one, CU scored some serious points, which was a question mark coming in, and two, the Buffs can give some reps to the young talent. Giving Sam Noyer a chance to toss the ball around to the younger receivers is exciting for the fans and important for the team. More importantly, allowing the younger talent on defense to develop before they are thrown into game action is necessary for the defense to maintain their high standards. A few names I would like to see out there are Ronnie Blackmon, Akil Jones, and Jacob Callier. Those guys are in line for some playing time rater soon, so giving them more action would be a very nice bonus to this game.