Hey everybody! This feature is a brand new one, and we were very impressed with the response for the first edition. It's always a good and bad thing to get more questions than you have room to answer. These five caught our fancy, and we are sorry if we didn't get to yours, you should absolutely take it personally. Without further ado, the first rendition of the bi-weekly mailbag!
1. Aside from the efforts of Tad Boyle alone, how can the MBB team recruit a higher caliber of player? We've gotten several "blue-chip" players in the past such as Scott or Dinwiddie, but they've been the exception rather than the rule. - Jason Oliver
Jack: The two easy answers are to upgrade the recruiters on the staff (not gonna happen) or have more high profile success. Boyle has shown a lot of loyalty to his support staff, and frankly, he should because they have had unprecedented success at CU. Much has been made of Tom Abatemarco leaving two years ago, as he had the most connections of the group. That has probably affected it somewhat, but as long as Tad keeps winning with the guys he has, I’m not too worried. He keeps winning with his guys, the higher rated players will take notice. Now, that’s not to say they haven’t (Scott and Dinwiddie as you cited), but it seems like the past two years that the Buffs have been in the top two or three for some high level players, and they always fall just short. Tyler Dorsey is a prime example, Landry Shamet is another. Winning more games will help with that, because I think Boyle and his staff are more built to recruit with action than with promises.
Cam: I think Jack really hit the nail on the head, the Buffs need to show that they’re going to the tournament hunt every year, and that they are making efforts to reach the next level. Every program has years like 2014-15, but if it’s at the forefront of a recruit’s mind, they’re a lot less likely to come here. When you’re a school like Colorado that isn’t a traditional power, things like that can be harder to overcome.
2. What do you think about Grant Watanabe's transfer was he a major loss for the linebacking corp. and why did he leave? - Philip
Jack: Losing Grant definitely hurts the depth at the Mike position and in the linebacking corps as a whole. Watanabe was one of the few natural middle linebackers on the roster, and even more rare, he played downfield rather than laterally. He was in position to play a lot of snaps next fall if he stayed, and he was one of the few backers who looks the part of a Pac-12 linebacker. Buff Nation wishes him all the best going forward. As for why he left, he definitely didn’t leave to get more playing time, and I don’t think the coaching staff pushed him out. That still leaves a whole bunch of reasons. Maybe he didn’t like Boulder (impossible, I know), maybe it was grades, maybe he was homesick. All I know is we’ll miss him.
3. Could you give an update on recruiting. I don't get to spend as much time these days as I once did. What do we have coming in at O-line, and the front 7 on defense? Everyone wants to talk about the QBs that are or [might be] transferring but if we can't keep them upright it won't matter. I also think the defense can make that next step if they can get consistent pressure on the QB. - LakeBuff
Cam: Right now, there are three offensive lineman committed, Terriek Roberts, Chance Lytle and Hunter Vaughn, all of them are rated as three stars by 247Sports. Roberts and Vaughn are both Colorado kids, and Vaughn is a potential grayshirt, so it seems like Roberts will be the quickest contributor. Lytle is a really big kid at 6’6 and 290 pounds, and camped with Texas and Baylor. He’s another guy who could see a grayshirt. He earned his offer after a really impressive camp with the Buffs in October. Roberts is the seventh highest rated prospect in Colorado, and as it stands is 6’6 265. He played both ways at Denver South, and really liked playing on the defensive line, which could be something to watch, and of course it’s encouraging to see them grabbing some more of the in-state kids. He has been training at Six Zero Strength, has a big frame and huge upside. A redshirt could do really good things for Roberts to help him fill out his frame.
As for the defensive front seven, the only commit who is listed at one of those positions is Akil Jones, who will slot in at outside linebacker. He’s the 96th rated OLB in the country, and should be able to help quickly. Another name to watch is Keanu Saleapaga, who just decommitted from USC and has an offer from the Buffs. I absolutely agree with you about keeping the quarterback upright, no one can succeed if they are getting hit seven to ten times a game.
4. Jack, first off thank you for the mailbag on RR, excellent idea! Coach MacIntyre will be in his fourth year as head coach at Colorado. After the Embree firing I know there was a talk from the athletic director of giving the new head coach time to turn this around. Is this the year where we can expect some rumblings of a coach replacement if coach cannot get us in a bowl game? Or can we expect a fifth year from the coach? Personally I feel like coach Mac deserves the time considering the inherited team and first year recruiting challenges he faced. - Sean from Tucson
Jack: I think you can definitely expect some rumblings of a coaching replacement if a bowl game doesn’t happen. That’s the definite expectation this year, as it should be every year, but this is the first year where there will consequences if it doesn’t happen. I am more optimistic than most and probably more patient, so I think Coach Mac deserves some leeway, but what I think should happen and what will are different things. All the pieces are in place for Mac to succeed, and I think he will. It just needs to happen.
You can expect a lot more in depth previews on the upcoming season on Ralphie Report in the coming months, as we love to write this kind of stuff. Speculation is the best.
Also, glad that you like the idea, we do too and we’re glad that we can make it happen! Please keep sending in questions!
5. Prediction for how many wins the football team gets this year? - Andy E. (Facebook)
Cam: Well, if Coach Mac doesn’t want to worry about his job, they better win six and make a bowl game. Even something like the Cure Bowl would be massive for the program. I took a quick look at the schedule, and my prediction is 6-6, of course I’ve predicted a breakthrough year a lot recently, and I’ve been wrong every time. This is the year they need to put up or shut up, and I think they get it done. They should go 2-1 in non-conference, with wins over CSU and Idaho State and a loss to Michigan. In conference, I think they can get wins against Oregon State, Washington State, and Utah at home. I think they will be able to get number six on the road, most likely against Arizona.
Jack: Pretty much what Cam said. Those six are the most likely wins. UCLA at home on a Thursday should be interesting, and of course, all of this depends who is at quarterback. Davis Webb, Steven Montez, Sefo Liufau, whoever it is HAS to be able to finish games. That’s the key this year. As I said previously, we’ll go much more in depth in the coming months.