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Buffs finish with respectable performance against Utah, smart moves needed to win the off-season

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Buffs finish with respectable performance against Utah, smart moves needed to win the off-season
By TrevMon • Issue #16 • View online
The Buffs were short-handed and overmatched in the trenches against Utah. Buffs kept hope alive throughout, impressive performance considering the injuries. Within days, offensive coordinator, #foreverbuff Darrin Chiaverini was quickly relieved of duties and Buffs are in search of OC and OL coaches. Below we’ll reflect on the game, the season, grade the returning prospects, and cover some potential off-season moves.

Takeaways Buffs vs Utah
  • Buffs did not have perfect game they needed to overcome Utah (ranked #6 PowerRank) but despite being shorthanded, they made it competitive well into second half by turnover, special teams, key defensive stops, and gritty play. Buffs were without starters at WR, RB, and ILB/CB.
  • Utah is a physical and dominate in the trenches,
  • Worst pass blocking performance of the season. Pass protection was no match for powerful Utah pass rush Filip (7.4), Wiley (27.9) and Roddick (23) had dreadful pass block performance.
  • Utah QB Cameron Rising made a few mistakes, but as expected he was a dynamic playmaker, getting out of trouble, extending drives with his legs, and put on a clinic to his Tight Ends in the red-zone.
  • Decent showing defensive front 7 Na'im Rodman had one of his better efforts, Jalen Sami, Devin Grant, Mustafa Johnson.
  • Buffs rush defense was hit or miss, schemes worked for 26 stops behind, at or near line of scrimmage, but also sliced by Thomas/Pledger for big running gains.
  • Likewise, inside linebackers were not in great position and got caught in the wash, allowing several chunky runs (Perry, Barnes)
  • Utah’s approach to development is a model for Buffs to follow, outstanding in the trenches on both sides, continuity in coaching and system, strong ties with Polynesian community, excellent in talent evaluation.
Season Takeaways
  • Early season predictions were not wrong, but not right, spot on in that Buffs weaknesses were QB, Tackle and S, but did not realize how low the performance floor could go.
  • Offensive Line performance as a whole was mystifying, off-season was really poor, and it carried over, so bad that the OL coach was released mid-season.
  • 2021 Buffs regressed in many areas: PBLK (43.5|68.6), PASS (63.7 | 68.6); DEF (56.3 | 70.4), PRSH (64.0 | 72.1); COV (57.9|60.4)
  • 2021 Buffs improved in several areas: RECV (63.5 | 59.4); RBLK (61.7 | 54.6) , TACK (60.9 | 53.9), SPEC (88.5 | 65.5)
Trends:
  • Buff had historically poor offensive performance, 1960 was the last time the offense averaged as few yards per game. Finished 129th out of 130 FBS programs in total offense at 257.4 yards per game; ranked 121st nationally in scoring; ranked 101 in yards per play; 97 in yards per pass, 87 in yards per rush, 114 in success rate.
  • Buff Defense was promising early, but their performance dropped and seemed to be hung out, they ranked 75 in yards per play allowed, ranked 90 in yards per rush allowed, and ranked 82 success rate on defense.
  • Best P-5 team in nation in turnovers, the low of 7 turnovers set CU record for fewest, and broke record for games (7) without a turnover
  • Top 5 in special teams nationally
  • Buffs set the school mark for scoring percentage inside-the-20 (Red Zone), scoring 31-of-33 times (20 TD/11FG); 93.9 percent. (old record 1985)
  • Refusal to quit showed out in the later half of the season, playing hard to the end despite being out of bowl contention
  • Recruiting is showing modest improvement, good chance they finish with best class since joining the PAC12 (.8563 247 rating, low 40 rank)
Solid Buffs finished great careers, including Nate Landman who finished 5th in all-time tackles, 2nd unassisted tackles (OVR:66); Carson Wells finished eight all time in tackles for loss, still could return (OVR:76); Mustafa Johnson worked off some rust but played well (OVR:66); Kary Kutch had an excellent season (OVR:74); Colby Purcell was also a consistent performer (OVR:71)*return TBD; and Matt Lynch (OVR:61);
Position Group Grades (Projected Returners)
QB: [Grade C-, BLew grew and showed impressive resilience, he stayed healthy, Buffs need 4 more like 5 scholarship QBs] Returners: Brendan Lewis (PASS:64, RUN:69); Drew Carter (PASS:50, RUN:54); IR JT Shrout
Running Backs: [Grade B+, three backs are battle tested and approved] Jarek Broussard (RUN:76); Alex Fontenot (RUN:69.4); Deon Smith (RUN:75); RS Joe Davis; RS Jayle Stacks; Notable Transfer: Ashaad Clayton
Wide Receivers: [Grade B+, deep room] Brenden Rice (RECV:67.4); Montana Lemonious-Craig (RECV:59.9); Dimitry Stanley (RECV:58.2); Daniel Arias (RECV:63.5); Chase Penry (RECV:55.1); Chris Carpenter (RECV:57.1); Ty Robinson (RECV:61.9); Notable xfer: Shenault; IR Matt Bell; Jaylin Jackson
Tight Ends: [Grade C+, could use more athleticism] Brady Russell (RECV:69.3, PBLK:59.2); Alex Pell (RECV:64.1, PBLK:75.1); RS Caleb Fauria; Austin Smith; Eric Olson; CJ Schmanski; Luis Passarello
Offense Interior Line: [Grade: B, big shoes to fill with Kutch possibly Colby, but returners are battle tested] Kannan Ray (RBLK:58, PBLK 57); Casey Roddick (RBLK:57, PBLK:53); Chance Lytle (RBLK:63, PBLK:43); Other RS: Austin Johnson; Noah Fenske; Josh Jynes; Carson Lee (TBD); Corey Purcell return decision TBD (RBLK:71, PBLK:72); RS: Jackson Anderson; Edgar Amaya
Offense Tackles: [Grade: D-, starters return, but need significant performance improvement and greater depth] Jake Wiley (RBLK:44, PBLK:41); Frank Fillip (RBLK:40, PBLK:29); Max Wray (RBLK:47. PBLK:50) return TBD; Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan (RBLK:50, PBLK:53)
Defense Interior: [Grade C+, help transfer] Jalen Sami (62), Na'im Rodman (56); Janaz Jordon (DEF:39, PRSH:52); Jadon Simon (DEF:59, PRSH:53); RS: Tyas Martin; Ryan Williams; Allan Baugh
Defense Edge: [Grade B+, returning good production and potential] Terence Lang (DEF:47, PRSH:56); Guy Thomas (DEF:63, PRSH:62); Joshka Gustav (DEF:66 PRSH:72); Devin Grant (DEF:69, PRSH:55); Jamar Montgomery (DEF:59, PRSH:70); Alvin Williams (DEF:53, PRSH:55); (DEF: PRSH: Justin Jackson (DEF:41, PRSH:50); RS Zion Magali
Defense ILB: [Grade C-, big shoes to fill with Nate’s departure, but the pump at least was primed last 4 games] Quinn Perry DEF:36.0, RDEF:40.8, TACK:55.4, PRSH:53.9, COV:37.1); Jack Lamb (DEF:60, RDEF:57,TACK: 70, PRSH:63, COV:62.0); Robert Barnes (DEF:48.2,RDEF: 49.4, TACK:73, PRSH:59.6, COV:45.7); Marvin Ham (DEF:42,RDEF: 27.7, TACK:78.8, PRSH:55.7, COV:56.8); RS Mister Williams
Defense Corners: [Grade A, proven next level corners, with depth] Christian Gonzales (COV:74); Mekhi Blackman (COV:72); Nigel Bethel (COV:65); Nikko Reed (COV:53); Kalyn Moore (COV:69); Torrance Pittman; moved from S, IR Jaylen Stryker
Defense Safeties: [Grade C, depth and competition needed] Mark Perry (DEF:60, RDEF:50); Isiah Lewis (DEF:58, RDEF:65); Trevor Woods (DEF:58.4, RDEF:59.8); Tyrin Taylor (DEF:48.3, RDEF:52); Ray Robinson (DEF 67, RDEF 67)
Kickers: [Grade A+, return top five] Josh Watts (P) will be contender for Ray Guy award; Cole Becker (PK) should get stronger and more consistent. Grey shirt: Ashton Logan (P)
Post season begins
This will be a critical off-season to accelerate the development process and make a leap on the road toward the Rose Bowl.
  • Make a few smart moves amidst disruption and ripple effect from coaching carousel in PAC12
  • Hire a proven offensive coordinator who runs a reputable, intriguing brand of offense that is aligned with KD’s vision. This means the OC would have experience (Coach Kap would be great to have back, but not as the sole OC)
  • Intrigued by possible candidates Brennan Marion, Pitt (Go-go) co-coordinator with Danny Langsdorf, Justin Frye UCLA who also coaches OL, Graham Ferrell, USC, especially considering run emphasis late in season), Tony Walters; Matt Mumm (Nevada); Billy Gonzales (co-coordinator with Langsdorf);
  • Prefer an adjacent offensive system, each new system brings 250+ playbook, each play has different formations, movements, contingencies. Time is a binding constraint to install any offense. Might be a case for new OC to bring a QB along, or for Danny Langsdorf as coordinator or co-coordinator. Will also need a receivers coach.
  • Hire Offensive Line Coach - William Vlachos could be a good bet, he showed promise and will have more time. Other candidates, Matt McChesney, prefer to keep him unchained, but not necessary chained, not worth the risk in personality fit nor experience. McChesney mentioned Chris Cooper as good candidate for O-line.
  • Several Buffs have entered portal recently (Shenault, Trustin Oliver (S), Ashaad Clayton (RB), Zeph Maia (ILB), Keith Miller (WR)…some in press speculate 10-15 off-season transfers
  • Portal priorities in order of preference T and QB, followed by S, DL, ILB, TE
  • Strengthen recruiting ties with Polynesian, and emerging Nigerian, German networks
  • Double down on continuity of program, strengthen the foundation through off-season conditioning program (Turley), football school, and leadership development. CU cannot outspend top tier programs, but we have one of the best settings in college football, great location to attract coaches, and we can outperform others in talent evaluation and talent development.
Podcast
Buffs 2021
Buffs 2021
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TrevMon
By TrevMon

Notes on the University of Colorado Football Program

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