The Colorado Buffaloes are beginning to show progress on the offensive side of the football with their quarterback and running back play. Will it be enough to save Jon Embree for another season?
Definite signs of life against Arizona. What encouraged you the most, and what do the Buffs still have to work on?
Jon Woods, Ralphie Report: While the Arizona defense is bad, and everything we can glean from this game has to be taken with a grain of salt, there were a good amount of positives from the offense. Both Connor Wood and especially Nick Hirschman showed that they should have been starting for this team a lot earlier in this season. Hirshman finished 12 for 13 for 123 yards and one killer interception on a screen pass. He moved well in the pocket and made some great throws. Wood finished 4 for 5 with 90 yards and seemed much more in control of the offense than he had in previous work. Both of them seemed to make the receiving core look like a much more competent group than Jordan Webb had and gave us some hope on that side of the ball for the foreseeable future.
Both running backs ran hard and fast as they recreated some of their Upland magic (albeit it usually without both of them on the field as the same time) against a soft Arizona defense. Powell finished with 31 carries for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns while Donta Abron racked up 83 yards on 13 carries while having a 75-yard screen pass called back. Both of these guys are true freshmen running behind an extremely inconsistent offensive line. The future at running back is bright.
What do they need to work on? Defense. So much defense.
How much more time are you willing to give Jon Embree? Has he just been dealt the worst hand or is he still underachieving?
Jon Woods, Ralphie Report: It's definitely a bit of both. I think he is going to be back next year and I think that he should. But next year has to show a big improvement. I think he needs 5 wins at a minimum and a bowl game to feel safe. The schedule certainly sets up well for that kind of improvement, but it did this year as well. He will have to find a capable quarterback and will most likely have to make an extremely important hire by bringing in a new defensive coordinator.
Washington comes to town. What are the keys to scoring a big upset?
Jon Woods, Ralphie Report: I think the offense played well enough against Arizona to do some damage against the Huskies at home, but we still don't know who will be starting at quarterback. Connor Wood did some things well, but Nick Hirschman definitely seemed to have a better handle on the offense and the position right now. But for the any possibility of an upset, we will have to see a major improvement on the defensive side of the ball. It's not something they are incapable of, we have seen this defense put together a few nice stretches, but they haven't been able to find any kind of consistency and lately the positives have been harder and harder to find.
What's your score prediction for the Colorado-Washington game?
Jon Woods, Ralphie Report: I guess I'll call for my CU upset against the Utes. This week, I'll go 38-24 Huskies.