Thursday, April 20, 2006

Colorado Spring Football Outlook

In the Rearview Mirror
After winning 7 of their first nine games last year, Colorado went on a 4 game losing streak to end the season. Including being outscored 100-6 by Nebraska and Texas in the season finale and the Big 12 Championship game. The four game losing streak was one of the reasons Colorado has a new coach this year.

Looking to the Future
Dan Hawkins, 53-11 as a head coach, will have a number of issues to address to repeat as Big 12 North Champs this year. The defense was solid last year and returns eight starters from last years squad. On the other hand, the offense only returns 5 starters and must replace QB Joel Klatt.

Biggest Questions for 2006
Offense: Quarterback – The Buffs must replace Joel Klatt at Quarterback. Going into Spring ball the position was wide open with SR James Cox and JRs Brian White and Bernard Jackson battling it out for the top spot. White played with the First Team offense for three possessions and Jackson with the Second Team for another three possessions. Jackson led the Spring Game in Rushing with 60 yards on 10 attempts. They are both listed as starters but my money is on Jackson being the man at the beginning of the 2006 campaign.
Defense: Defensive Line – With the loss of James Garee and John Guydon, Vaka Manupuna from the front four, there are a lot of holes to fill up front for Colorado. SO George Hypolite and SO transfer from Notre Dame, Brandon Nicolas should be able to pick up the slack. Thaddaeus Washington could have an All-Big 12 type season, but that will depend on whether the front four can keep him freed up to get to the ball.
Special Teams: Punter – Ray Guy Award runner-up John Torp is gone as well as his back-up Matt Hammond. Replacing him will fall onto redshirt Freshman Matt DiLallo and Daniel Agostino. Long Snapper Greg Pace is gone as well. All these changes could lead to some early problems on the Punt team.

Team Strength in 2006
Offense: Wide Receivers
– SR Evan Judge is the only loss from a talented group of Receivers. Returning are JRs Dusty Sprague, Stephone Robinson, Alvin Barnett and Reggie Joseph as well as a few talented young players that will push for playing time. Dusty Sprague led the spring game in Receiving but the key may have been the play of Sophomore Patrick Williams who had 3 catches for 41 yards.
Defense: Linebacker – Returning starters Thaddaeus Washington and Jordon Dizon will be the anchors for the 2006 Colorado Defense. Sophomore Brad Jones is expected to be the third starter. Washington will be mentioned for the Butkus Award in the pre-season and should have another great year.
Special Teams: Place Kicker – Lou Grouza 2005 Runner-up, Mason Crosby returns this year and has his sites set on making a record breaking 70 yarder.

Sep 09 Colorado State at Denver
Sep 23 Georgia at Athens, Ga.
Sep 30 Missouri at Columbia, Mo.
Oct 21 Oklahoma at Norman, Okla.
Oct 28 Kansas at Lawrence, Kan.
Nov 24 Nebraska at Lincoln, Neb.

2006 is Successful if…
Someone steps up and Quarterback and is able to execute Hawkins Offense effectively. There is little time for learning once the season starts with games against Colorado St, Arizona St. and Georgia in the non-conference schedule.

2006 is a Failure if…
The Defensive line is unable to free up their linebackers to run the field and make plays.

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