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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Colorado Preview

Enrollment: 30,000
Conference: Big 12
Stadium: Folsom Field (Capacity: 53,750)
First Year of Football: 1894
All Time Record: 644-396-36 (.615)

Head Coach: Dan Hawkins
1st year as head coach at Colorado
Career record at Colorado: 2-9

Team Overview

Last Season: A year ago the Buffaloes started 6-2 before a late season collapse led to four straight losses. With a 6-6 record, and endless PR nightmares, head coach Gary Barnett was scapegoated out of Boulder in the off-season.

This Season: The Dan Hawkins era began with a shocking loss to Div. IAA Montana State. This was followed up with five straight losses before the Buffs got of the snide with an unexpected win over Texas Tech. After a second victory over Iowa State, CU enters the game with a 2-9 record.

On Offense: Colorado currently averages 290.91 yards/game, which ranks the Buffs 102nd in total offense. They are also 117th in passing offense, and 27th in rushing offense. The Colorado offense is keyed by quarterback Bernard Jackson. Jackson is a talented runner, but is limited in the passing game. As a result, the Buffaloes have attempted to structure the offense around his athleticism. On the year Jackson is 97/196 with 1167 passing yards and 6 TDs. He has also rushed for 661 yards and 7 touchdowns.

At running back, CU is led by junior Hugh Charles. The 5-8, Charles is extremely explosive and has rushed for 718 yards and 1 TD on the year. Charles’ backup is Mel Holliday, who has ties with Nebraska. Holliday is a more physical back, who has produced 445 yards rushing and 1 touchdown this season.

The Colorado receivers are fairly experienced and Jackson has a done a nice job of spreading the ball around the group. The leading receiver is tight end Riar Geer, who is trying his best to replace NFLer Joel Klopfenstein. Geer has 23 receptions for 247 yards and 2 TDs on the year. The Buffs’ top wideout is former JUCO transfer Alvin Barnett, who has nice hands and good concentration. Other key WRs are junior Dusty Sprague (11 receptions, 179 yards), and sophomore Patrick Williams (17 receptions, 229 yards, 1 TD).

After an extremely disappointing 2005 campaign, the CU offensive line continues to improve. The Buffaloes were counting on center Mark Fenton to anchor the line. Unfortunately, Fenton who might be the best center in the league when healthy, missed six games with a fractured fibia. Fenton returned against Iowa State and split snaps with senior Bryce MacMartin. The CU tackles are juniors Edwin Harrison and Tyler Polumbus. Harrison looks to have all the tools to be a great LT. He weighs in at 6-4, 300-pounds, and is a steady pass blocker. Polumbus has also been solid in pass protection and has taken more snaps than any other Buffalo lineman in 2006. The guards are Brian Daniels and Daniel Sanders. Daniels has a been a consistent performer over the last three years and probably demonstrates the best technique of anyone along the O-line. Sanders is just a sophomore, but already has the size and strength to be a force in the running game.

On Defense: The Colorado defense currently ranks 60th in total defense (329.3 ypg.) and 49th in scoring defense (20.9 ppg). The strength of the Buff defense is its linebackers, where they are led by the duo of Jordon Dizon and Thaddaeous Washington. Dizon, a junior, can cover a lot of ground and is having a monster year. He leads the team with 118 tackles, and also has 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries. Washington is a strong 240-pound, MLB who can also make plays all over the field. He is second on the team in tackles with 96. Joining Dizon at OLB is sophomore Brad Jones. Jones is rangy at 6-4, 220-pounds and continues to improve against the run.

The leader of the CU defensive front four is DE Abraham Wright. Wright has become a destructive force for the Buffs and leads the team with 11.5 sacks and 16 quarterback pressures. The other DE is senior Walter Boye-Doe. Boye-Doe moved over from LB a year ago, but has become a decent pass rusher. He has 2.5 sacks and 7 QB pressures in 2006. The defensive tackles are George Hypolite and Brandon Nicholas. Hypolite is an undersized sophomore who has shown the ability to get into the opponents backfield. He has 2.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss this year. Nicholas transferred from Notre Dame and is a strong 270-pounds. He needs to continue to improve against strong running teams.

The star of the Buffalo secondary is All-Big 12 candidate Terrence Wheatley at cornerback. Wheatley has 4.4 speed and tackles well in the open field. His strongest attribute, however, is his ability to cover one-on-one. He leads the Buffs with 5 interceptions in 2006. The other CB is senior Lorenzo Simms, who was named honorable mention All-Big 12 in 2004. The CU safeties are J.J. Billingsly and Ryan Walters. Billingsly the FS, is extremely quick and always seems to find the ball. He has one interception on the year. Walters is a big hitter who leads the secondary in tackles with 56. He also had a 95-yard fumble return for a TD against Kansas.

Special Teams: Colorado is led in scoring by all-world kicker Mason Crosby. Crosby is 19/27 on FGs on the year including 2/5 from beyond 50-yards. The Buff punter is Matt DiLallo who averages 43.6 yards/punt. DiLallo has also placed 13/42 punts inside the opponents 20-yard line. CU’s top kickoff returner is Stephone Robinson who averages 17.4 yards/return. Robinson also averages 5.1 yards per punt return on the year.

Random Notes

Series History: This marks the 65th meeting between these two schools. Nebraska leads the all-time series 45-17-2.

I Can’t Believe I Looked It Up Either: In an atrocious offensive display, the Buffaloes mustered just 113 yards of total offense and 5 first downs against Oklahoma.

I Can’t Believe I Looked It Up Either – Redux: Colorado scores a touchdown once every 38.9 snaps. Their opponents average a TD every 25 snaps.

Pretty Good Company: Through the end of the 2005 season, Dan Hawkins had compiled a 53-11 record with Boise State. Only Walter Camp, George Woodruff and Bob Pruett had more total wins in their first five years of head coaching.

Six Degrees of Beano Cook: Even at 2-9. Colorado beat Texas Tech. Texas Tech beat Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State beat…Nebraska.