Right off the bat, let me just say, those uniforms are better than I expected them to be. However, they are still not good. In fact, they are one of the worst CU uniform combos I’ve seen.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s turn our Eye of Sauron to last Saturday’s game. The Colorado Buffaloes went toe-to-toe with the Pac-12’s elite, and almost pulled it off. The reason that the loss is so frustrating is because of the manner in which the Buffs shot themselves in the foot.
Straight to the GIFS!
The game started off well for the Buffs when they forced a quick three and out. D.J. Eliot has been great at dialing up pressure, especially on 3rd down, and this play is no exception. Eliot sends 6 but drops back enough players to force browning into a bad throw. The zone in the center of the field was a nice touch. Eliot has been extra confident on blitz calls this year and I love it. He has brought nickel backs all year, which almost always forces the back to slide over and block. That just means more free run up the middle.
This play is one of Travon McMillian’s first runs of the game, and given its success, it’s no wonder that Coach Chiv tried to run this play on 1st down over and over again (to less and less success). This is a fairly simply power run, with the tight end Chris Bounds filling the hole. Bounds and center Colby Pursell do a fantastic job at sealing the hole and McMillian makes one man miss early. The result is a long run that ends with a great open field tackle by the safety.
This play is beautiful from start to finish for the defense. Rick Gamboa guesses right pre-snap and shifts the line towards the short side of the field. When the ball is snapped the entire defensive line pushes the line of scrimmage backwards and disrupts the running back’s rhythm. Carson Wells sets the edge well as an OLB and forces the back to hesitate and cut back inside. By that point, Nate Landman and Davion Taylor are there to make the play. Fantastic.
A TIGHT END CATCH IN 2018 IT’S A MIRACLE. Yes, this is a play for Laviska Shenault normally, but never mind that, it’s beautiful. Coach Chiv uses the middle of the field well and Bounds runs a nice route to gain some separation from the MLB. I would love to see more of this from now on. A quick route over the middle to keep the linebackers honest.
This play is all about Mustafa Johnson. He is quicker off the snap than the offensive lineman and just runs by him. This forces the running back to make a flat-footed cut to the other side of the formation. where Davion Taylor happens to be waiting. Also, let’s take a brief moment to commend Javier Edwards on another great game. He manhandles the center here and stays free enough to get an arm on the RB.
I love Brady Russell. As I said during the game, he is one of the best pulling lineman in the conference. As a tight end. His success rate is Sean Irwin-esque. Watch him pull across, hit the hole hard, and seal a good OLB in Tevis Bartlett. McMillian makes the right cut and gains 20 yards. Russell has been great at this all year. For extra points, that is true freshman Frank Filip (#76) opening that hole. I would love to see more of him all year.
This play hurt. In a game that saw CU a few plays away from winning, this 4th and 2 was one of the most important plays. If the Buffs get this stop, that’s at least a 7 point swing. The worst part is, it was a perfect formation for the play and all 11 players were in the right position. CU sent the house at the middle of the formation, but kept two DBs on the outside edge. Dante Wigley recognizes the cut in the backfield and immediately shoots upfield. This is all good so far. Then, he takes his eyes of the RB and Pleasant makes him look silly. The Huskies get enough for a first down and score before halftime. So close.
Other than the UCLA game, the 2nd half saw the first time in conference play that the Buffs used Montez as a running threat. It was a great call. The Huskies were diving hard at the RB almost every play, and the Buffs set up that play enough where Montez could have kept it a few times straight and got similar gains. I would love to see more of this against similar fronts like Utah.
This is something I’ve noticed the past few weeks. This quick 10 yard comeback route has worked to perfection with Montez and KD Nixon. Nixon has great footwork and can stop on a dime, which lets him gain separation against almost any DB. It doesn’t hurt that Nixon’s arms are short enough where a push-off doesn’t really broadcast itself. As defenses start to key in on this route, expect a stop-and-go with Nixon and an easy touchdown.
Another play that might have flipped the game. This is a one read play and Montez is flushed out of the pocket early. He tries to force the ball to Nixon and almost fits it in that tiny window. The problem is that McMillian was WIDE OPEN in the middle of the field. Like, 20 yards untouched open. This drive ended in a punt, but if Montez looks a little more to the left, he gets the first down easy.