Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Grab Bag: Hansen and Richardson come up Bear-ly short of victory

Saturday was just short of a perfect day.  Records fell, not a cloud was in the sky, and Folsom rocked for a solid 3 1/2 hours.  All that was missing was that whole "victory" thing.

Today in the bag I'll take a look back at what could've been Saturday, the epic afternoon produced by Tyler and P-Rich, the emergence of Will Oliver an eventful football weekend, and some disappointing news out of the basketball programing.

Click below for the bag...

Just not there yet - Well, Coach Embree is right about one thing: I'm proud of the way this team plays.

Mistakes abounded Saturday afternoon (especially the nearly 100 yards of penalties), but I enjoyed the way that team took the field.  They played hard, with passion and energy, and never gave up.  It was especially nice to show off for our new Cal brothers.

There were plenty of positive signs from Saturday afternoon.  The O-line looked much better than it had against Hawai'i, in spite of a new round of injuries, and didn't allow a sack of workhorse QB Tyler Hansen.  Overall the offense churned out nearly 600 yards of offense without turning the ball over.  On defense, the Buffs got to the Cal QB 3 times, and also boasted a Jon Major interception.  Additionally, the special teams unit, despite yet another kick-out-of-bounds and two blown roughing-the kicker calls, looked competent, blocking an extra point and executing all afternoon.
CU just couldn't make the plays when needed to walk away winners.  From: the BDC
 The problem is, the game still has a big fucking 'L' next to it on the schedule.  Positive steps aside, that's a win you have to have.  No sacks, no turnovers, and 582 yards of offense should get you a win at home; no exceptions.  That CU wantched the opponent celebrate victory is a testament of how far the program has to go in order to become a winning squad again.  To be sure, it was a great game and a great crowd to be a part of, but a loss is still a loss, and I can't help thinking that it was a lost opportunity.

I continue to be concerned with the O-line; sure, they didn't allow a sack, but in the run game they looked incapable of getting any push, and Speedy was continually stymied at the line.  Additionally, the defensive backfield was exposed Saturday as Cal knew exactly what to do down the stretch to victimize CU (that's the best way I can put it without naming names).  Finally, those penalties were back-breaking; the Buffs either need to finally crack down on the flags (it's been an issue for 8 years now), or start bribing the refs.
The defensive backfield couldn't contain Cal when it needed to.  From: the BDC
The '11 Buffs have proven to be competitive, mounting come-back efforts in both games so far and playing an exciting brand of football, but they're just not 'there' yet.
They played their guts out, but victory still eluded CU and the dejected Tyler Hansen.  From: the BDC

Smashing records - While the Buffs ended up on the losing side of the scoreboard on Saturday, two Buffs had record breaking days.  Both QB Tyler Hansen and WR Paul Richardson set school records for production in the loss.
P-Rich spent most of the day running away from Cal defenders.  From: the BDC
Tyler dropped 474 yards and 3 TD's on the Golden Bears, and surpassed the 465 yards put up by Mike Moschetti in 1999 to claim the top spot in the record book.  Nearly 60% of those yards, and two of the touchdowns, came from the super wide-out Paul Richardson.  P-Rich hauled in 11 passes for 282 yards and 2 TDs (66 yards, and 78 yards) to pass the 222 yards put up by Walter Stanley and Rae Carruth on the all time list.  The big play combo kept CU in the game, and gave the Folsom faithful plenty to shout about.

Congrats to both on their stellar day.  In honor of their achievements, I offer them this virtual beer:
Mmmm.... beer.

The curse of Mason Crosby appears to be over - I had become convinced that former coach Gary Barnett had made a pact with the devil when he brought the great Mason Crosby to Boulder.  The blight of Aric Goodman had soured my view of kickers in general, and I despaired of ever again seeing a Buff put it through the uprights with any consistency.
Will has kicked as advertised.  From: the BDC.
Evidently, we've finally moved on.  Freshman Will Oliver has put his stamp on CU special teams, and has set about erasing all memories of kicking disaster.  Not only did he go 4-4 against Cal, including a 52 yard bomb that was close to perfect, but he has yet to miss a kick on the year, and looks to be the vision of quality kicking that Buff Nation had been looking for.  Kid wasn't even fazed by a bad snap.  He's the real deal.

Notes from around the nation - 

College Football

Notre Dame @ Michigan - The first night game in the history of the Big House came down to a flurry of scoring.  The Wolverines prevailed, shocking the Irish with a last second touchdown heave from Michigan QB Denard Robinson.

Fresno St @ Nebraska/BYU @ Texas - Couldn't help but root for the road 'dogs against old rivals.  Nebraska and Texas prevailed, but both were given a good scare at home.

Northern Colorado @ CSU - The Rams beat the feisty UNC bears despite a rash of injuries that included an injury to defensive star Mychal Sisson.  The series of injuries, combined with the rash of suspensions and demotions from the offseason, make for one banged-up and undermanned CSU squad.


Carolina @ Arizona - To all of the Cam Newton doubters (including myself) who thought he'd struggle in the NFL, pay attention to the 422 yards he put up against Arizona. 

Cowboys @ Jets - Tony Romo did his best Brett Favre impression Sunday night, and gave the game to Jets with two 4th-quarter turnovers.

Cain wasn't to be -  The seemingly unending stream of good news out of the CU men's basketball program has come to an end with the word that highly regarded power forward Damiene Cain won't be donning the black and gold afterall.  The 6-7 freshman to be has decided to focus on academics, and has left the team.  While I'm glad academics was the reason, and not some off-court disciplinary bullshit, I'm still disappointed that Buff Nation won't get the chance to see him grow in the CEC.
If you're going to leave a program, it might as well be to focus on academics.
One silver lining to take out of Cain's departure is the freeing up of another scholarship to offer in a promising recruiting year.  Still, life without Cain will probably force Andre Roberson to stick in the 4-slot, as the front-court is undermanned without the expected services of big Damiene.  I don't think Cain would've been a factor immediately, but he was a large part of future plans in the paint.

Best of luck to Damiene, and I hope he kicks some serious ass in the classroom.

Happy Monday!

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