Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: Getting closer...

If you haven't already, can I recommend you check out this video of BSNDenver's @RyanKoenigsberg interviewing new CU defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt from Boulder Creek:

I gotta say, I'm real damn impressed by Ryan's professionalism here.  Leavitt's dousing of the prolific coif did nothing to dissuade Koenigsberg, and he started firing questions right away with nary an 'ummm.'  Fine work.


Today in the bag, I'm talking the lead up to game week, Steve Sarkisian, and the start of the season for the CU Women's Soccer Team.

Click below for the bag...

Inching closer to game week - 

The countdown clock for the Colorado Football season opener - September 3rd @ 11pm MT, if you haven't heard - just last night ticked under 10 days remaining, and we're only a week away from the team's departure for the Islands. If that still leaves any doubt that it's frickin' GO TIME, note that the bowl flag (adorned with the seven Pac-12 bowl affiliates) has come down in favor of a Hawai'i flag.  As Coach Mac said today, "(We) want to remind (the players) what we're doing, what we're shooting for." Indeed, football season is back... with a vengeance.
Actual football will soon be played.  From: BSN Denver
As gen pop studentia started making their way to classrooms this week, the Buffs' fall camp officially came to a close on Sunday.  If I may, from a purely outsider prospective, things seemed to have gone relatively well. There were no major injuries announced (*knocking furiously on wood*), and, aside from the pre-camp loss of Josh Tupou, the roster enters the season as expected.  This continuity throughout the summer has resulted in one of the more streamlined and focused camps in quite some time.

Coach MacIntyre, for his part, agrees, saying that:
“Every day, this team has come. We haven’t had what I’d call a bad practice. We’ve had some that may have started slow, but we’ve never had a bad practice, where you go watch the film and go, ‘Oh gosh, they just weren’t in it today.’ That has not happened."
A lot of that is public-face fluff, but I just haven't heard any of the niggling bites of doubt that have accompanied camps from the recent past.  None of 'oh, sure, some of the guys are playing well, but there's no depth,' or 'wait till you see the defensive line against live fire...' or 'the youth will have to play catch up.' Refreshingly quiet.
Liufau and the Buffs wrapped up a quiet camp.  From:
It's surely the product of a confident coaching staff in their third year of control, along with the gradual maturation of the roster. The depth issues of the past five years - the result of lopsided class balance and a number of cases of attrition - may be finally fading away, and the two-deep is almost exclusively made up of seasoned Pac-12 vets and upperclassmen (albeit juniors), as a result. What position battles there have been at been at relatively inconspicuous positions like kicker and right guard.  All of this has resulted in a mature, composed camp.  It's almost like everyone involved with the program has been here before, or something...

Of course, trying to translate the the public results of fall camp into a practical expectation for the season is the realm of the foolish.  Still, at least it's hard to extrapolate any negative conclusions, which itself is a good sign.  By all appearances, it's condition normal in Buffland.  No reason, then, to change my expectations: another strong step forward, and a season of competent, competitive football.  Bring on game week!

Steve Sarkisian goes on alcohol-fueled rant - 

While all has been copacetic in Boulder, there was a dust-up over the weekend involving the inner-workings of one CU's divisional rivals.  Saturday night, in front of an estimated 2,500 people at a traditionally tame alumni event, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian made headlines for an alcohol-fueled tirade.  Dropping F-bombs amidst slurred speech, Sarkisian said the lot of Oregon, ASU and Notre Dame all suck, and generally behaved like a drunken college student, rather than a man in charge of some.  Not exactly the well-polished look of the modern head coach that we're all used to.
Not what you want from your head coach on the eve of the season.
Sarkisian, of course, apologized for his actions, and again this morning, saying his manner was the result of mixing booze (reportedly fireball, fwiw) with medicine.  He's vowed to seek treatment, and investigate whether or not he has an addiction problem.

For their part, his players are standing behind him.  Starting QB Cody Kessler said:
"Bottom line for us is that's our head coach. We're going to support him no matter what. Mistakes happen. Stuff happens. But at the end of the day, we've moved on. We've put it past us. He came to us as a man, apologized, looked us in the face, told us some things -- and that's hard to do. At the end of the day, he earned more respect from us as a team, and I think it brought us closer together."
The hope is that the worst of it is this night of embarrassment, rather than something far more terrible. Mixing pills with booze is never a good sign; with the support of his team, and with the understanding of his employer, I hope Sarkisian gets the help he may very well need.

Women's Soccer opens with uneven results - 

While football season still has a week left to materialize into reality, futbol season is already well underway. The CU women's team, fresh off a 2014-15 campaign that saw them through to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, kicked off their 2015-16 slate over the weekend with the first legs of the Colorado Cup.

The season opener was Friday up in Ft Collins against little sister.  Unfortunately, the Rams were able to secure a point against the Buffs for the first time ever (the series only dates back to last fall), riding an early score to a 1-1 draw up north.  CU struggled at the start, allowing a goal in the opening ten minutes, and really not settling until well into the first half.  Slowly but surely, however, they found some traction, and eventually raised the pressure, tripling up the Rams in shots, 24-8.  Still, it wasn't until very late that CU found the much sought-after equalizer, as junior Brie Hooks only found the back of the net in the 82nd minute.  Overtime wasn't any more productive, and the game settled into the final; a disappointing, but not disastrous start to the school's athletic calendar.
Paxton and the Buffs are off and rolling.  From:
The results were much better in the home opener over the weekend, as the ladies bull-rushed past Colorado College 3-0.  Freshman Erin Greening, senior Emily Paxton, and Brooks (again) featured on the score sheet, turning 15 total shots into the three scores. On defense, it was a complete white wash, with the Buffs holding CC to only one shot on net.  Possession stats aren't available to me, but I would imagine they were quite lopsided. Overall, a dominating performance in front of the Prentup faithful.

Taking a step back, the mixed pair of results against local competition can be viewed as a positive step forward into the season.  Certainly, a win up north would've been preferred, but, given that they gave up a quick goal in hostile territory, the ladies' resilience and ability to control the game the rest of the way absolves the early sin.  The win over CC proves that there was no hangover effect, and that the team is ready to get into the meat of their schedule.  No harm done, onward and upward.

Up next: a trip to Provo, UT for a rematch of last season's opening NCAA Tournament game with BYU. They'll next be home in Boulder on Sunday, when they play the UNM Lobos, starting at 1pm.

Happy Tuesday!

No comments: