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Colorado State – Preview

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 28, 2013.

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    By Stuart

    [h=3][/h] [h=2]T.I.P.S. for the Colorado/Colorado State game[/h] **** Note … For those of you new to CU at the Game, “T.I.P.S.” is my weekly preview for CU’s upcoming opponent. Divided into sections on “T – Talent”; “I – Intangibles”; “P – Preparation/Schedule”; and “S – Statistics”, “T.I.P.S.” will try and give you some good information, and perhaps a few insights, into CU’s opponent ****

    Well, here we go again.
    After breaking in three new head coaches over the span of 23 seasons, the Buff Nation now has a new head coach for the third time in only seven years.
    Former San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre will try and break the school-record drought of seven straight losing campaigns, with every prognosticator with a pulse not only predicting that CU will finish with a losing record for the eighth straight year, but that the Buffs are not even a good candidate to climb out of the basement of the Pac-12 South.
    One of the few games Colorado has a chance of winning – at least on paper – comes in the opener against Colorado State. In the 2012 Rocky Mountain Showdown, the Buffs held a 14-3 lead late in the second quarter against the Rams, before*a muffed punt led to a touchdown and a momentum swing from which the Buffs never recovered in a*22-17 CSU victory.
    How the 2013 Buffs will hold up against adversities – which they are bound to face this season – is one of the questions which will have to be answered this fall.
    The first litmus test comes on Sunday afternoon …
    [h=3]T – Talent[/h] Enjoy it while you can, Buff fans. For most of the season, Colorado will trail in this category …
    Colorado State, despite the bluster of its fans, remains very much a work in progress. Former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain enters his second season in Ft. Collins with a team which won four games last season. It was a step up from the three consecutive 3-9 records posted by his predecessor, but those four wins came against teams with a combined record of 10-40.
    The starter at quarterback for Colorado State remains a mystery. McElwain went so far as to suggest during fall camp that the Rams might play three quarterbacks against Colorado. While that was either bluster or sand-bagging, the fact remains that CSU does not have a clear cut starter at quarterback.
    Junior Garrett Grayson, who led the Rams to victory over the Buffs last season, returns. Grayson started the first five games last fall before breaking his collarbone. Sophomore Connor Smith started four of the last five games … earning CSU three of its four wins. Also in the mix is red-shirt freshman Craig Leonard. Fans may not know until gametime who McElwain has chosen for his starter.
    Whoever takes the snap from center, the primary goal for the CSU quarterback against the Buffs will be game management. Running the ball effectively will be the goal, as the Rams return all five starters along the offensive line, including senior center Weston Richburg, the only Ram to earn first-team All-Mountain West preseason honors.
    Donnell Alexander and Chris Nwoke are the backs CU defenders will look to contain. Alexander made a fine debut as a freshman against Colorado last September, going for 66 yards on only eight carries (an 8.3 yards per carry average), going on to lead the Rams with 587 rushing yards on the season. Nwoke, a 6’0″, 216-pound senior, had 11 carries for 47 yards against CU last fall. A strong 1-2 punch would be the ideal scenario for the Ram Nation.
    Colorado State does not return any starters at wide receiver, and that may not be an altogether bad thing, as the Ram wide receivers struggled in 2012. The best returning outside threat is junior Charles Lovett, who had*35 receptions going for 428 yards last fall.
    Where the Rams will seek to exploit the Buff*secondary*will be with their tight ends/H-backs. Senior Crockett Gillmore and junior Kivon Cartwright both return. Their size*advantage over CU defenders (Gillmore is 6’6″, 255-pounds; Cartwright is 6’4″, 245-pounds) will be pronounced. Colorado will be trying to cover these tight ends with*a defensive backfield where no Buff defender in the two-deep is over 6’1″, and none weigh as much as 200-pounds.
    If Colorado State is running the ball effectively, and keeping the chains moving with short passes to its tight ends, it could be a long day for the Buff defense.
    On the other side of the ball, the big question mark for Colorado State is along the defensive line.
    The Rams graduated their entire defensive line, and brought in several junior college players to try and shore up an already weak unit. The Rams were 103rd in the nation against the run last season, and the Buffs need to exploit this weakness if the Mike MacIntyre era is going to get off to a successful start.
    While the CSU front line is a liability, the back seven are good. Linebackers Shaq Barrett and Cory James are excellent, while defensive backs Shaq Bell and Trent Matthews provide experience in the secondary. The Rams gave up only*203 yards per game last season passing, good enough to rank*26th-best*in the nation.
    As for specialists, it’s a mixed bag for the Rams. Sophomore kicker Jared Roberts returns, after hitting on nine-of-ten field goal attempts last season (29-of-31 PATs), garnering second-team All-MWC honors. Colorado State must replace, however, one of the best punters in school history, Pete Kontodiakos.
    [h=3]I – Intangibles[/h] Last season, Jim McElwain became the first became the first Colorado State coach to win in his debut in 42 seasons.
    This season, Mike MacIntyre will try and become the first Colorado coach to win his debut in 18 seasons.
    Click here to view the full article

    Originally posted by CU At the Game
     

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