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CU@Game CU At The Game: Experience Counts – Doesn’t It?

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    Experience Counts … Doesn’t It?

    “You dance with the one that brung ya”.

    When it comes to Fall Camp spin, coaches and fans have to make due with promoting what they have.

    Up in Ft. Fun, where Colorado State has to replace eight defensive starters, including all of the defensive line, the party line is about fresh faces:

    “It’s also an opportunity to rebuild the unit, from the ground up, in a positive way” was the way the Coloradoan put it this week.

    In Boulder, this fall is all about how mature the team is, and how having plenty of game day experience will pay dividends come September.

    “As a defense we’re coming together really well, especially because we have a really old group,” said senior linebacker Kenneth Olugbode. “A lot of us have been playing together since we were freshmen, so everything is seamless out there. We communicate really well and play really well together.”

    “We have the most juniors and seniors since 2001 and most ever returning starts [412],” said head coach Mike MacIntyre. “We’ve built a team and that’s how you develop a program from the ashes. You get people to stay here to believe and compete and keep going. Hopefully they’ll rise out of the ashes this year.”

    For the first time in the past decade, Colorado has more upperclassmen on the roster than underclassmen. On the Buffs’ Fall Camp roster of 112 players on the roster, 58 are either juniors (34) or seniors (24).

    Sounds good … but does added experience translate into better play?

    Let’s look at the starting experience of the 2016 team (projected roster) against some former CU teams:

    2016 CU starting lineup – offense (projected):

    QB – Sefo Liufau – 29 career starts

    RB – Phillip Lindsay – 6

    WR – Shay Fields – 20

    WR – Juwann Winfree – 0

    WR – Devin Ross – 6

    LT – Jeromy Irwin – 13

    LG – Gerrad Kough – 12

    C – Alex Kelley – 25

    RG – Tim Lynott – 0

    RT – Sam Kronshage – 6

    FB/WR/Other – Sean Irwin (TE) – 15

    Total career starts: 132

    2016 CU starting lineup – defense (projected):

    DE – Jordan Carrell – 12 career starts

    NT – Josh Tupou – 31

    DE – Leo Jackson III – 10

    OLB – Derek McCartney – 22

    ILB – Kenneth Olugbode – 23

    ILB – Addison Gillam – 24

    OLB – Jimmie Gilbert – 13

    CB – Chidobe Awuzie – 28

    FS – Ryan Moeller – 9

    SS – Tedric Thompson – 24

    CB – Isaiah Oliver – 3

    Total career starts: 199

    Now, let’s compare that to CU’s starting lineup for the 2015 opener against Hawai’i …


    QB – Sefo Liufau – 18 career starts

    TB – Christian Powell – 24

    WR – Nelson Spruce – 33

    WR – Shay Fields – 10

    TE – Sean Irwin – 4

    LT – Jeromy Irwin – 11

    LG – Gerrad Kough – 2

    C – Alex Kelley – 12

    RG – Jonathan Huckins – 0

    RT – Stephane Nembot – 31

    FB/WR/Other – Devin Ross (WR) – 0

    Total career starts: 145


    DT – Jordan Carrell – 0

    DT – Leo Jackson III – 0

    DE – Jimmie Gilbert – 10

    SLB – Derek McCartney – 12

    MLB – Addison Gillam – 22

    JLB – Kenneth Olugbode – 12

    NB – Chidobe Awuzie – 16

    CB – Ahkello Witherspoon – 1

    SS – Tedric Thompson – 11

    FS – Ryan Moeller – 2

    CB – Kenneth Crawley – 31

    Total career starts: 117

    … And the starting lineup in Mike MacIntyre’s first season, 2013


    QB – Connor Wood – 1

    TB – Christian Powell – 9

    WR – Nelson Spruce – 9

    WR – Paul Richardson – 13

    TE – Scott Fernandez – 1

    LT – Jack Harris – 13

    LG – Kaiwi Crabb -0

    C – Gus Handler – 15

    RG – Daniel Munyer – 15

    RT – Stephane Nembot – 7

    FB/WR/Other – D.D. Goodson (WR) – 2

    Total career starts: 85


    LDE – Juda Parker – 1

    DT – Josh Tupou – 7

    NT – Nate Bonsu – 5

    RDE – Chidobe Uzo-Diribe – 17

    MLB – Addison Gillam – 0

    WLB – Derrick Webb – 16

    OLB – Woodson Greer – 0

    LCB – Kenneth Crawley – 10

    SS – Parker Orms – 16

    FS – Jered Bell – 3

    RCB – Greg Henderson – 21

    Total career starts: 76

    A recap:

    In 2013, Mike MacIntyre’s first season, the Buffs finished 4-8, with 85 career starts from the offense heading into the opener; 76 career starts from the defense.

    In 2015, Mike MacIntyre’s third season, the Buffs finished 4-9, with 145 career starts from the offense heading into the opener; 117 career starts from the defense.

    In 2016, Mike MacIntyre’s fourth season, the Buffs are hoping for a winning record from a lineup with 132 career starts on offense; 199 career starts from the defense.


    – The first conclusion which can be drawn is that when you have a new coach and a new system, as was the case with the Buffs in 2013, there will be a host of new starters. In Mike MacIntyre’s first season, the 85 career starts on offense and 76 career starts pale in comparison to the total career starts for last season and this fall.

    That 2013 team, however, won as many games as the 2015 team did, posting four wins overall (both teams won one game in Pac-12 play).

    – It is also noteworthy that the projected offensive lineup for this season actually has fewer career starts than did the offense from last season. True enough, the combination of Nelson Spruce (33 career starts) and Stephane Nembot (31) make up a big chunk of the 145 career starts. (It is also true that while Juwann Winfree has no career starts with the Buffs, he does have starting experience at the junior college level).

    But what jumps off the page is the reality that the projected offensive line for the 2016 Buffs does not have a great deal of experience. Much is expected of left tackle Jeromy Irwin, but he has actually only has 13 career starts. Tim Lynott may be the next great CU offensive lineman, but he’ll be making his first career start against Colorado State.

    – The projected lineup for the CU defense, though, is what should have the Buff Nation excited about the upcoming season. The 117 starts for the opening lineup in 2015 is almost doubled, with the 2016 projected lineup carrying with it into the season opener a total of 199 career starts. Only two projected starters – cornerback Isaiah Oliver (3 career starts) and safety Ryan Moeller (9) – have fewer than ten career starts, and both are being touted as future stars. Meanwhile, over half of the defense has over 20 starts under their belts. If this lineup can stay healthy, it could be a special season for the Buffs, with the defense leading the team for the first time in recent memory.

    When Alex Kelley (25 career starts) snaps the ball to Sefo Liufau (29) in the first quarter of the Rocky Mountain Showdown against a Colorado State, their 54 combined career starts will exceed the combined career starts of the entire Ram defense.

    Will experience alone be enough to carry the day? No.

    Should experience help to carry the day?

    Buff fans certainly hope so …

    Teaser … Over the next few days, I will be compiling a listing of the recruiting rankings of the players who comprised the starting lineups in the openers in 2013 and 2015, and comparing those rankings to the projected lineup of the 2016 squad … to see if that gives us any additional insights …

    Continue reading...

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