After a dreadful loss to Stanford and unimpressive performances in weeks prior, the Colorado Buffaloes have been struggling to put together a full game. However, the players cannot be entirely to blame.
Between the coaches, there have been some major issues in communication. This has caused an excess number of penalties, most of which could be easily avoided. Colorado is on pace to break the record for the number of penalties in a season with an inexcusable 9.9 penalties per game. Mistakes such as 12 men on the field are simple and avoidable, but against Stanford the Buffs were flagged four times.
Time management has also caused a painful amount of mix-ups. Offensive Coordinator Sean Lewis has struggled to call time-outs at appropriate times and has called plays that run the clock when there isn’t time to waste. Against USC in September, Lewis (and Shedeur Sanders) ran down the despite being down by multiple scores with no timeouts left. The Buffs ended up losing by 7 as there just wasn’t enough time to complete the comeback.
Emotions have been running high in Boulder throughout the team’s struggles. Coaches are responsible for helping keep the peace, but they have struggled with that as well. Defensive coordinator Charles Kelly in particular has lost his head during intense moments. He’s supposed to be there to lead his players, but his anger has led to even more mistakes from his undisciplined defensive united.
Coach Prime, to his credit, has been stoic in his leadership role, but it’s still his responsibility to ensure everyone is on the same page. He’s not the offensive playcaller, but he needs to step in if he sees Lewis mismanaging the clock. It’s even more important that he steps in to deescalate, like Kelly’s episode during the Stanford collapse. This team cannot function unless the coaches are able to communicate clearly and efficiently, rather than screaming in anger.
Cleaning up the communication between coaches would help keep this team from getting too high or too low. Better communication would also improve clock management and decrease penalties, certainly in the sense that this team often looks disorganized with substitutions and pre-snap positioning.
Thankfully, the bye week is the perfect time for changes to be made within a program. Head coach Deion Sanders has undoubtedly taken time to address these problems and face them head on before a tough game at No. 25 UCLA on Saturday.