What are the biggest weaknesses you've seen in the Buffs so far?
There have been three glaring weaknesses in the first two games: First, the running game, until the last 10 minutes against UCA the Buffs had not generated any running game at all and even then they still only rushed for 84 yards as a team. That is pretty bad against an FCS school. While they have talent at the runningback position it seems that the offensive line just cant get them any push at all. They are going to need to change that quickly if they are going to win games in the Pac-12.
Second has been special teams coverage, this week marked the second week in a row that the kickoff team relinquished a massive return to the opponent and there was also a punt return for a touchdown against CSU. They fact that they are giving that up to teams like CSU and Central Arkansas is a scary thought when you think about going up against teams with speed like Oregon, or even Fresno State who comes in this weekend with return specialist Issiah Burse who scored two touchdowns last week in the return game.
Third has been pass rush, the Buffs have definitely had trouble creating a pass rush when only bringing four. Chidera Uzo-Diribe is really good on the edge but he has been getting consistently doubles and the other pass rushers havent been able to capitalize on that. This is the weakness that I believe has the best chance to improve quickly, I think you will see a lot more blitz packages coming from this defense this week when going up against a less mobile quarterback like Derek Carr.
Which players have come forward and been the pleasant surprises this season?
Man, there has been a lot, there are the ones I have already mentioned like Connor Wood and D.D. Goodson, then there is a slew of younger guys that have stepped up early for the defense. True Freshman MLB Addison Gillam has looked like an absolute steal for MacIntyre. He has shown everything you would ask for out of a middle linebacker so far, size, speed, vision and a nose for the ball, he is currently leading the team in tackles. Kenneth Crawley (who got absolutely got eaten alive last year at cornerback) has shown new life and is starting to live up to the 4 star rating he was given out of high school, he looks much more comfortable out there.
Chidobe Awuzie has really held his own as a true freshman in the nickel role, and caused a huge turnover with a strip and a recovery late in the game last week. Finally Jered Bell has really blossomed in the safety role, not letting anything get over the top, he also had a key turnover later in the game with a pick six right as it seemed UCA was about to take a 2 score lead. Again, I think all of this is a testament to the coaching staff.
What is your projection for Colorado this season? Are they still a last place team? Are they a last place team that will do better than before? Or what?
They are probably still a last place team in the Pac-12 South, my prediction before the season was four wins (CSU, UCA, Cal, Utah) so they are still on track for that projection and until they win another I will stick with that. I think they have showed to me thus far that they are going to be competitive in a lot of games this year and I think that's the most important thing that people want to see from MacIntyre in his first year. But if they can somehow find a way to win this weekend against Fresno, things could get interesting here and you could definitely start thinking about a possible bowl game, that would be huge for the fans in Boulder to have that kind of excitement again.