By CL34 at Rivals. http://colorado.forums.rivals.com/threads/causes-of-offensive-drive-failure-q1.11597/#post-165122 This analysis series will focus on the last series of downs on all of the drives where CU had to punt. That means there will be no first downs reviewed here. The purpose here will be to see how and why the offense was unable to convert for first downs throughout the game. This analysis will start with the first quarter possessions however, it will cover all the possession where CU had to punt, so stay tuned. Instead of doing a full breakdown on each play, this analysis will recap the drive up to the final series and then on that series just try to isolate the root cause of the failure on each play to move the sticks. Quarter 1 Possession 1 Recap This was the first offensive series of the game for CU after Arizona put together a nice opening drive for a field goal. The first play of the game results in a first down for CU, Liufau passes to Fields on a slant off of a run/pass zone option for an 11 yard gain. The second play is a well blocked Power run to Lindsay to the left side for 4 yards. This play and the next play are both run out of the I-Form Big formation which features 2RBs and 2TEs. The third play is out of the same formation as the play before but is a 5 yard hitch to Spruce who picks up 6 yards for the second first down of the drive. This is a nice combination of plays to get offense into a rhythm to start the game. 1-10 Colo 25 Liufau, Sefo pass complete to Fields, Shay for 11 yards to the COLO36, 1ST DOWN COLO 1-10 Colo 36 Lindsay,Phillip rush for 4 yards to the COLO40 (Matthews, J.;Magloire Jr., P). 2-6 Colo 40 Liufau, Sefo pass complete to Spruce, Nelson for 8 yards to the COLO48, 1ST DOWN COLO Final Series On first down, the play is a run to Lindsay design to go through the B-gap between Kough and Nembot. The play fails because Kough misses his block on the LB. It appears that Kough might have thought Kelley was coming with him and the LB wasn't his responsibility or maybe he just whiffed pretty hard. Regardless the LB slips through to make the tackle at the LOS. Due to this slow down, the backside DE was able to also pursue the play from the backside, as Irwin did not get a good initial block on this player or perhaps was expecting combo block from Kronshage. Spoiler On second down, Lindgren tries to open up the playbook. He goes with an option reverse to Fields. As we see, the defense was caught totally off-guard by the initial option; the LBs are inside and the DBs are ten yards off of the LOS. If the play was just a regular option, this is probably a huge gain, especially if Liufau pitches to Ross. The only guy on the Arizona defense that really seemed to see what was happening was the DE to the field side of the play. He plays disciplined, assignment football and tackles Fields for a loss. This was actually a fairly creative play call, maybe too creative but clearly not conservative. Spoiler Third down is now a perilous situation because of the risk taken on second down. The play call here is a double screen. Version of this play have not worked all year, basically a quick screen to RB on the boundary side. Not sure if Liufau is suppose to make a read here or not, but the throw to the RB doesn't make much sense because there are two DBs and an LB to that side of the field with only one WR. To the other side, not only is there more space but the numbers situation is even as there are an equal amount of blockers to defenders. Had the ball been faked to the RB and then thrown to the WR Ross, the play actually looks like it could have a ton of potential, especially with how fast Ross is and how far the DBs are playing off of the LOS. With that said, based on how quickly Liufau gets rid of the ball and how he doesn't really sell the play as a screen, it would appear that maybe the play was predetermined to go to the RB. This is just really frustrating. Spoiler Quarter 1 Possession 3 Recap Coming off the long TD to Fields, CU starts the drive where they left off. The Buffs rack up three consecutive first downs and even over come a holding penalty. The buffs utilize the Power play early in the drive for a long gain and Liufau makes a great play stepping up in the pocket and hitting Fields on a deep out for a 23 yard gain. 1-10 Colo 24 Lindsay,Phillip rush for 12 yards to the COLO36, 1ST DOWN COLO 1-10 Colo 36 Liufau, Sefo pass complete to Spruce, Nelson for 12 yards to the COLO48, 1ST DOWN COLO 1-10 Colo 48 Lindsay,Phillip rush for 6 yards to the ARIZ46 ( PENALTY COLO holding (Callahan, Shane) 10 yards to the COLO38, NO PLAY. 1-20 Colo 38 Liufau, Sefo pass complete to Fields, Shay for 8 yards to the COLO46 2-12 Colo 46 Liufau, Sefo pass complete to Fields, Shay for 23 yards to the ARIZ31, 1ST DOWN COLO, (a great deep crossing pattern after Liufau steps up in the pocket. Final Series On first down, CU runs a trap play to the left side of the line behind a pulling Callahan and picks up 4 yards. This is not a bad play and puts CU ahead of the sticks. Spoiler Second down, CU runs the same play in the other direction. However, there is a catch, and CU does this a couple times per game. CU has swapped the position Sean Irwin and Stephane Nembot. Nembot is now outside Kronsage. In theory, this kind of makes sense, just ram it down their throats. However, this alignment totally tips of Zona who now expects run. Ultimately the issue here is not that Zona has seven in the box vs our six blockers. It appears that Nembot may have read his blocking assignments incorrectly. We see here, he blocks down and obviously devastates the pile in the middle. However the DE was already slant inside, so the decision to block down was a bit redundant. Maybe he really should have just combo'd instead of wholesale blocking down? Had he either gone upfield or kicked out the LB, chances are the play executes much better. Lindsay still displays some nice vision picking up two yards, squeezing between the pile and Huckins. Spoiler Third down and four, CU aligns in an 11 personnel shotgun formation. Both Irwin and Fields motion pre-snap indicating man to man. The key to this play is the field side OLB that has aligned on the LOS right outside of their DE. Kronshage / OL identifies him as a rusher but he is in fact in man to man on Lindsay. This throws off the protection for the whole play. At the snap, this miscalculation causes a rusher to come free up the middle. Zona only brought five rushers, so the protection should have been adequate based on numbers. This play ends up being a huge waste because the scheme was actually quite good. It's a standard rub/pick design where Ross's man gets caught up in the traffic from both Irwin and Fields running crossing patterns in the other direction. Liufau almost makes a great play to stiff arm a defender and make the throw. It looks like Ross may have underestimated the throw and couldn't quite make the adjustment to make the play. Spoiler Diego Gonzales misses a 43 yard field goal on fourth down.