Colorado football: Can the Buffs prove they're for real in Corvallis?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Or is there still a lot of building to go? We chat with Phil Fraser of Ralphie Report.

1. Colorado has played very well out of the gate. Who are the players that have been the top performers aside from Paul Richardson?

Addison Gillam, the true freshman middle linebacker, has been something of a revelation early on, racking up 21 total tackles in 2 games, and corner back Greg Henderson has been his normal steady self. On offense, despite being completely wide open on most of his big plays, someone's got to get Richardson the ball, in this case Connor Wood. And wide receiver Nelson Spruce has been completely under the radar because of Richardson. He might've had the quietest hundred yard game in history in the opener.

2. What are the most immediate changes you've seen from the Buffs between this year and last?

It's sad to say, but really just competence in coaching. We're talking about a team that ran a QB sneak on first down last year, for god's sake. On the field, the tackling on defense has improved significantly despite fewer reps of live hitting, and even with a small sample size has really improved their turnover creation ability. And as much as I rolled my eyes whenever the term "culture change" came up over the summer, you can really see it on the field. CU has had to battle back from adversity in both games, which just didn't happen last year. Last year CU rolled over and showed its belly if you so much as gave them a stern finger wag. Coach MacIntyre likes to say, "they're gonna make some plays, and we're gonna make some plays. We've just got to make more of them," and the team seems to really have embraced that mentality.


3. Look up and down the schedule. Where is Colorado most likely to find its four wins to get to a bowl game?

Oh jeez, I hate this game. Look, we're a team that won a single game last year, and got boat raced by most of the rest of the schedule . I put my tongue firmly in cheek in the preseason and picked MacIntyre as coach of the year because I figured he'd be the only coach to a triple the previous win total- to three. That said, getting a 12th game against a beatable opponent is absolutely essential if we're going to have a chance at a bowl. In the Pac 12, I'd say some combination of Oregon State, Arizona, Cal, and Utah are winnable if everything breaks perfectly.

3. If Colorado were a dessert, they'd be ____________ because ______________.

I'm not very creative, so I'm tempted to choose Rocky Road ice cream. Instead I'll go an even dumber route and say that if Colorado were a dessert they'd be the world famous Casa Bonita sopapillas because like the route to the delicious sopapillas, Colorado fans have had to sit through some really unpleasant and stomach churning garbage recently (like Casa Bonita's disgusting cheese enchiladas- the world's most horrific attempt at food outside of cheeseburger in a can). But now that we've moved past that unpleasantness, we can enjoy the simple delight of a greasy fried dough pocket filled with honey. Or in CU's case, being undefeated four weeks into the season. And then we can all go play skee ball.

5. Oregon State has some significant weaknesses. What can the Buffs do right to spring an upset in Corvallis?

The Beavers are pretty beat up, with Storm Woods out and Brandin Cooks nicked up in particular. That's something we need to capitalize on, as distasteful as it sounds to say "thank god they're injured." I can't say that I've watched a lot of Oregon State, as most of their games have been on Pac 12 Net and I have DirecTV. I try to limit the use of my (COMPLETELY LEGAL) internet feed to CU games. They would appear to have a fairly weak ground game, particularly with Woods out of the lineup, and CU ranks 7th in the country in rushing defense, so we can definitely cause problems in that area. Their pass defense is also weak, and passing the ball has obviously been our strength. If we can get Richardson the ball in his spots and spread the ball around to the secondary receivers, the defensive backs could spend a lot of time with their backs facing the line of scrimmage. It would also help if the Buffs have managed to shore up their kick return defense, as long returns have hurt in both games. Overall I expect a lot of points to be scored, so I would definitely look to the over, if I were that way inclined.

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