Although the Buffs season is off to a solid 3-0 start, they still have a long way to go. If they’re looking to carryover their success into conference play, then the collective effort of the team must be better than it was this time around last year.
Luckily with a younger, rejuvenated, more motivated team that doesn’t seem to be a big issue. However, despite what the perfect record may indicate there’s always room for improvement.
One of the things coach MacIntyre has done to keep them hungry is renew and simulate the preseason atmosphere that had the team practicing on the lower practice fields this week rather than at Franklin Field. He’s also had everyone on the team come up with both collective and individual goals for the week off.
“Every player has a specific goal has a specific goal he wants to accomplish that he wrote down, every position group has a specific goal that they wrote down, and each side of the ball has a specific goal. On special teams each unit has something they want to work on.”
With the luxury of having more time to review and reflect on the first three games rather than exclusively looking and game planning for the future, he’s also tried to work on their glaring weaknesses.
“We’ve watched our film from other games, we’ve shown them the corrections they need to make - how we’re being attacked in certain areas, and trying to make sure we sure that up.”
With the new redshirt rule in place - that allows guys to play in up to four games - in addition to using them in live action, CU must do everything to prepare some of their backups for potential game action. And with the week off, they’ve also had the opportunity to give players who’ll likely be redshirting more time mixed in with and against the ones rather than just with the scout team.
“It is more important to [give them more snaps in practice, and have them ready for games with the new redshirt rule]. Having all the coaches coaching them with them - because a lot of them play with show team, and now getting them over, coaching them, seeing them work at it, and pushing them - we’ve got some good young players we’re excited about.”
“We need to have anybody ready because anyone can get pulled up at anytime which is why these practices are important.”
With UCLA also coming off a bye week, all of their game tape is completely up-to-date and readily available to the Buffs. Because of this the coaching staff has already taken a hard look at the film and started their preparation.
Although the Bruins season is off to a disappointing winless start - with two losses coming against G5 teams, Colorado is doing everything to ensure they don’t underestimate their ability. Coach MacIntyre was complimentary calling them the “best 0-3 team,” talking about how they’ll also have time to make gameplan and schematic adjustments.
“They’ll be a much better football team when they come and play us just because of the three games under their belt, and the opportunity to look at everything and coach them up.”
The probable return of graduate transfer quarterback Wilton Speight, means that CU will be facing a guy who’s had some success and a win against the team under his belt (Speight threw for 229 yards and a touchdown in the game in Ann Arbor two years ago). Throughout his career, Speight’s running ability has been underestimated, and he’s a guy who can make key throws from outside the pocket. Earlier in the season, Colorado’s defense struggled for most of three quarters against a quarterback with similar attributes in Adrian Martinez.
UCLA also has some weapons on the offensive side of the football that could provide a challenge with wideout Theo Howard, match nightmare tight end Caleb Wilson and running back Kazmeir Allen. Howard and Wilson will look to capitalize on a younger, inexperienced, cornerback group, while Allen will test an unproven Buffs defensive line that gave up over 200 yards on the ground in the first half against the Cornhuskers.
Regardless of their presumed weaknesses, the week off gave Colorado a chance to fix and put their mistakes behind them while doing everything to continue UCLA’s slump in primetime a week from Friday.
While sweeping a non-conference schedule that featured a former heated rival is a fulfilling start to the season, with a weak South division, the Buffs rightfully have their long term sights and ambitions set much higher.