While the Buffs had a confidence building blowout win against CSU last Friday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers sat in the locker room for two hours during a weather delay before their game again Akron was ultimately canceled.
Add in the fact that the Cornhuskers have both a new head coach in Scott Frost, and a true freshman quarterback in Adrian Martinez who hasn’t played a game of football in over a year (when he was a junior in high school) and game planning for them could be a challenge.
Of course the same debate from last week - whether it’s more beneficial to have a week’s worth of film or live game experience under their belt - will ensue, but nonetheless the Buffs have their hands full preparing for this team. Nebraska ran a very different system last season under Mike Riley. On the flip side, they’ve returned many players on both sides of the ball meaning that Colorado can gameplan based on their strengths and weaknesses from last year. Another thing working in CU’s favor is the fact that Frost ran a very prototypical quick paced, up-tempo, Chip Kelly esque option offense during his time at UCF.
Although it’s challenging to prepare for them without any game film, the coaching staff has made the best with what they’ve had in terms of getting ready for this matchup by preparing their team for a diverse number of situations.
“It’s definitely really tough without any game tape, but we’re going off the assumption that it’s going to be very similar to Central Florida,” MacIntyre said. “Defensively and offensively we prepare for everything, and they can put eleven guys out there and we can put eleven guys out there, so all of our schemes - offensively and defensively should handle everything. There’s something that’ll surprise us a little bit, but our kids ought to adjust to it.”
Colorado sure did a good job of adjusting to whatever the Rams did on Friday night, holding them to a mere 13 points. Although the Buffs can’t be expected to hold a explosive Nebraska team to such a low point total, judging by the level of young talent on the roster, they should be able to limit the damage and adapt their various formations and defensive gameplan on the fly so their lack of game planning material doesn’t come back to hurt them.
Renewing the Importance of this Rivalry
When the Buffs and Cornhuskers last faced off, most of the players on both sides were in 4th grade. However, the heated rivalry between the two sides that lasted six decades - from the 1960s-2000s - was one that energized both fan bases.
Someone who was entrenched in the heated rivalry for years was former Buffs head coach Bill McCartney, who was at the helm from 1982-1994 - including the school’s lone national championship victory in 1990. Although McCartney had a underwhelming 3-9-1 record against the Cornhuskers, he was a guy who was always fired up about the matchup.
“I’d rather be dead than red,” the former coach said with a renowned sense of enthusiasm and energy that reminded Buffs faithful of the good ‘ole days. In fact, he even went as far as comparing the CU-Nebraska matchup to his early days as a assistant at Michigan where they had a heated rivalry with Ohio State.
As for how he’d be involved in the team’s preparation for their Saturday matchup, Coach MacIntyre said he’d “love” for McCartney to be able to give them a pep talk and help this generation of CU football to understand the importance of the rivalry between the two sides.
McCartney was someone who seemed enthusiastic about these plans as well, after all he’s reminisced about looking forward to facing the Cornhuskers every year during his tenure in Boulder.
“Give me two minutes with them, because we’re all counting on them, depending on them.”
As the saying goes: “if only I could be a fly on the wall,” hearing McCartney’s encouraging and motivating words to the team would be a speech for the decade. However, being that we can’t, fans can only hope that they give a little of extra juice to an already motivated team.