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Buffs must counter FSU speed

Visiting Seminoles have plenty of big, fast players

Colorado students are encouraging every football fan who attends Saturday's home opener against Florida State to wear black to the game and help "blackout" the stadium.

Colorado players and coaches meanwhile are spending this week trying to find an answer for the electricity the Seminoles bring to Folsom Field.

Much was made last week in a loss at Arizona State about the Buffs' overall lack of speed compared with the Sun Devils. There is a grain of truth in there, but there were also plenty more reasons that led to the Buffs' giving up 33 unanswered points.

After all, Colorado wide receivers Patrick Williams and Kendrick Celestine weren't exactly plodding along when they beat coverage only to drop possible touchdown passes in the first half.

CU coach Dan Hawkins said the difference in overall team speed will be much bigger this week when Bobby Bowden, the winningest coach in major college football history, brings his program a mile high for the first time to the foot of the Flatirons.

"They can all run, particularly as you look at them on defense," Hawkins said. "Their front four can all motor. They've always had great skill guys with speed, and they still do have that. You look at all 11 guys on defense and they all can run."

The Buffs are expected to add a little speed this week with running back Hugh Charles and wide receiver Josh Smith returning to practice Tuesday. Both are expected to play in the nationally televised ESPN game. But those two players will only help level theplaying field a little when it comes to speed.

CU coaches will have to game plan against the Seminoles' athleticism as much as possible. Hawkins said the best way to counter speed is to execute all the small details of each play call.

Quarterback Cody Hawkins grew up rooting for the Seminoles because he liked their uniforms and they won all the time. This week he gets a chance to beat them.

Hawkins said the Seminoles have provided a lot of homework for him with the number of defensive looks they have offered up in their first two games this season — a loss to Clemson and a win last week against Alabama-Birmingham.

Going back to last year's film is only so much help because Bowden hired four new assistant coaches during the offseason. Those coaches have added entirely new approaches in some schemes and subtle wrinkles in others.

Cody Hawkins said the Seminoles' speed allows them a lot of freedom. He said on film he has seen them use six different defenses against one particular offensive formation already this fall.

"They're athletic enough to do pretty much anything they want," he said.

The Buffs need to be able to run the ball or beat teams deep when they load up to stop the run — "pound it and launch it" as coach Hawkins likes to say. That was the idea against Arizona State as well, but when Cody Hawkins launched it, his receivers didn't make the plays.

Cody Hawkins said he expects the Seminoles to gang up against the run just like the Sun Devils and make him beat them through the air.

"If I was a defense, I'd definitely want to come out and see what the freshman quarterback kid could do cause, I mean, I look like 95 percent of the guys on campus," Cody Hawkins said. "I, of all people, probably am Joe Schmo playing quarterback."

The CU defense is probably much better equipped to handle the Seminoles speed with players such as linebacker Jordon Dizon and cornerbacks Terrence Wheatley and Ben Burney.

But speed can still cause the Buffs problems if they allow the Seminoles into open space. That's a problem the Buffs have had this season. They stop teams two of three times or four of five times and then give up a big play.

"They're definitely a very fast team," linebacker Brad Jones said. "If you give them an opportunity, they're going to take it. Any mistakes you make, they're going to capitalize on your mistakes."

Comments

Posted by extreme_z71 on September 12, 2007 at 7:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

2ndbuff,
Have you been watching THIS YEARS FSU? I darn sure havn't seen anything about FSU that impresses me. In my opinion Tommy took his foot off the gas to prevent embaressing his dad infront of a national audience. Then AUB plays FSU to a stand still until the third quarter???? FSU in my opinion is way over hyped and if CU doesn't destroy them at high altitude then huge changes need to happen. Remember a couple of things here.
1. FSU has never played in high altitude like Boulder and you can't similate that in practice. Just like CU couldn't similate playing in 100 degree heat at night.
2. Speaking of playing at night.. Florida evenings are alot warmer than Boulder evenings. Don't be surprised if you see alot of Florida players pulling muscles and gasping for air in the second half.
3. CU hasn't put together a complete game yet and I think this is the game that they do it.
4.Speed kills but speed without oxygen kills the speed.
Now everyone that is going to the game... Turn the lights out in Boulder and Black OUT FOLSOM!

Posted by physicist on September 12, 2007 at 8:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, extreme_z71, I can vouch that the altitude can be a major factor. I lived in CO for 4 years and had to move to FL for a new engineering job in 2002. I've come back from Tallahassee to run the Bolder Boulder, and it is much harder to run at altitude when coming from sea level. The FSU cross country team would suffer badly. As for football, the FSU coach will probably try to rotate them a lot to make up for a low VO2 max. Coming from sea level is very difficult. I got my 1st MS at Arizona State and am working on a 2nd at FSU while working for the state. I used to live in Boulder. FSU has not been consistent, but they did beat UCLA last December. At the time UCLA had recently beaten USC. So FSU does have talent and depth. It will be intersting to see how the altitude plays out for them. I love Colorado and will try to move back to Denver next year. I like to run the Pikes Peak Ascent and miss my sub-3 hour hikes up Longs Peak from the ranger station. I was able to do that when I lived there. It is impossible for me to finish Longs Peak under 3 hours when coming from sea level. Florida does have harsh humidity though.

Posted by phatmack18 on September 12, 2007 at 8:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Kyle:
Thanks for the BlackOut reference in your article! It will be fantastic if everyone jumps on this. We need to get the word out. I hated blending in with those ASU fans in Tempe. This would be sick...

Posted by cubuff85 on September 12, 2007 at 9:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Black-out the Seminoles!!! Go Buffs!

Posted by buffalo_flyer on September 12, 2007 at 10:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

BLACKOUT

Posted by Saheeb on September 12, 2007 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Even though both teams are rebuilding this is a huge game for CU because even if we beat a struggling FSU team it's still a major win and signal to all of those top recruits on campus this weekend that Colorado is on the right path back. Plus, if they see a lot of freshman contribute they'll know Hawkins will play them if they come here and earn it. Pressure Weatherford all day, limit their running game and Cody don't get picked more than one time....I've never seen a QB hold the ball for as long as FSU's Weatherford does, even though he has a rather porous O-line. Moreover, he can make some really bad throws and decisions at times. If we can get any pressure on him at all he can't run much either and we could cause some trouble. Of course, that means we have to get to him. FSU looked awful against Clemson (but they have a very good team), but somehow managed to get back in the game, though. But even depleted, they're still FSU. Cody can't make too many throws to the sidelines or they're going to run a couple in. BIG GAME BUFFS! Deliver! At a minimum, at least show some spark and creativity on offense and move the ball.

Posted by trubuff on September 12, 2007 at 11:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Get the word out about the BLACKOUT! Tell everyone you know who's going to the game. Hopefully the home crowd adreneline will pump up the Buffs and we can pull this off. I was surprised to see FSU only favored by 4 pts, but if you're gonna play FSU this looks like the year to do it. Lets show the Noles how loud and crazy we can be! BLACKOUT IN BOULDER!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by extrapoint on September 12, 2007 at 1:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If the FSU atheletes have any kind of conditioning the altitude will not be a factor. Team sports where the players are always on the move....ie basketball and hockey.....dont seem to suffer much at all when they visit Colorado. One area where it might play in the Buff's favor is if they go to a no huddle offense late in the game.

Posted by MinnesotaBuff on September 12, 2007 at 1:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FSU is not the perennial national championship contenders that they once were. Going down to the wire against UAB in Tallahassee was a telling game. The Buffs will have a solid chance to upset the 'Noles on Saturday. The key to the game is the Buffs offensive line play against a large athletic group of d-linemen and backers. If lil hawk has time to throw and the d-backs hold up against WR's Fagg and Carr I see upset during the black out in Boulder.

PS - 2nd Buff its called optimism try it sometime.

Posted by Ldjbuff on September 12, 2007 at 2:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The altitude and proposed weather could be a factor but its about the "BUFFS " as a team and the game plan ,vs CSU it was Sperry and Bell that almost beat us vs,ASU dropped catches and not finishing .Going no huddle is a good thought but "WHEN " if FSU gets adjusted to the affor mentioned "ALTITUDE" and were possibly playing catchup not a smart idea , CU can win this game and having HUGH and Smith and DEF,Sp.Teams will be a factor FSU is allowing 24.5 on returns and we have been soso on 3rd downs they allow 30% and last Redzone they allow 83%to there 77% it will be a good game and im looking forward to the "Blackout". GO BUFFS

Posted by extrapoint on September 12, 2007 at 2:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was hired for a job once where a woman who already worked for the same company had applied for the position (would have been a promotion) as well. My diploma (from Boulder) and her lack of one put me in. This was seven years ago and this woman still hates my guts. She is smart enough not to display her bile towards her superiors. Neither of us work for said company anymore, but we are still both in the same industry and she never fails to make trouble for me whenever she can.

By comparison 2ndBuff is a study in improvement. When Barnett was fired 2ndBuff's attitude was much like my female nemisis. Maybe 2ndbuff finally realized Barnett wanted out as well, after what the Denver media witchhunt did to him. At any rate 2ndbuffs pure smack tirades against Hawkins have mellowed into basic doom amnd gloom. Give him some more time and he may come back completely into the fold.

Posted by extrapoint on September 12, 2007 at 2:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I like the no huddle. execution is paramount, of course. Keeping all the plays in your head as a player and continue crisp execution for each succeeding play is a challenge but when done right is hard to beat. Some players actually perform better in no huddle, prefering that rythm to the extended breaks of a conventional huddle. I also thinks it plays into the offenses hands if they have the more agressive attitude.
We have been hearing for some time now about how the Buff players are so much better conditioned than before. That being the case, lets use it.
Playing "cath up" is also premium use for this strategy.
I am also surprised you dont like it, ldjbuff, given your tendency to begin a sentence before you end the last one.

Posted by Ldjbuff on September 12, 2007 at 3 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A record of losing and being beat 70-3 and name calling plus "Extra" activites. Im thankful for the time and BIG 12 title we have but if not 2 years ago good ole" Gary Barnett might have gone ,maybe you should go look at the landscape of college sports "IT's A WHAT HAVE DONE FOR ME LATELY " attitude and the best thing was to cleanhouse who knows, but like Ive stated before who cares if male or female went to "Boulder if you talk more about the negative then the positive don't jump on the "WAGON" when HAWKINS and CO. do fine ,like most of us I'm a FAN good or bad NO! I did'nt go to CU but thats the team and school I and most of the "TRUE BUFF FAN" on here root 4. GO BUFFS!!

Posted by Ldjbuff on September 12, 2007 at 3:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That might be true Xtra! but its funny that a qoute "CU ALUM " who is more a fan of the CU opponent than of CU ,you try to and "I mean TRY" to find more things wrong with Hawk and CO then most big red haters? Getover it Gary is gone !!try to muster just alittllllllle !!positive for this team and Hawk. Oh yeah teams with speed on defense do adjust to No Huddle "ala prevent def, or we might miss a opportunity and turnover the ball !!

Posted by extrapoint on September 12, 2007 at 3:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ditto 2ndbuff
Improvement in performance is nice but improvement in the W column is a world of "nicer"
Even so, here is hoping a bunch more used car salesmen are discovered on the Sooner team in the next couple of weeks.

Posted by extrapoint on September 12, 2007 at 3:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Things are getting crazier by the minute. I guess I am now one of the multiple personalities.
On another note, ldj, we now have a coach, by his own words, that "lives on the edge." Maybe you better get used to that.

BTW I am also one of those armchair coaches that believes the "prevent" in "prevent defense" prevents you from winning.

Posted by Ldjbuff on September 12, 2007 at 4:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

xtra-plus maybe you should signup for football 101 with the Hawk and Co. living on the edge is fine I think many coaches are that way, but "littleplus " things will take time but the plus is {no pun intended}!!with the recruits coming this weekend and the buzz of this game which will showcase to a broader audience things are improving for CU.

Posted by extrapoint on September 12, 2007 at 7:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

you da man, ldj
and your "stream of consciousness" is just fabulous!
still, somehow, I pray the recruits are not reading this board.

Posted by rktman956 on September 12, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Men against boys...that is what it was with ASU...and that is what it will be against FSU...

Speed...speed...speed...all this talk before the game has even been played. The Buffs have good coaching and some great young players that will be good in the next few years...but Hawk still needs to continue recruiting big eaters for the front line and taller receivers. The size differential and intimidation factored in the Buffs loss against ASU. It will be the same in this game.

If the Buffs allow themselves to become afraid of going into the secondary or taking some cheap shots, then they will drop balls and they will not tackle well. The defense was out muscled a few times and that scared them toward the end of the game. There were no slants run against ASU and that was a big factor in the loss. Cody's arm strength and size became evident in the ASU loss. The Coaches have to fix this. STOP RUNNING QUICK OUTS AWAY FROM THE QB. DUH...

I still have hope...Buffs 27 FSU 20.

Posted by extreme_z71 on September 14, 2007 at 1:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I cannot believe the Bigger Faster Garbage that is being posted here. Has no one paid attention to the last few weeks in College Football? If it was a simple matter of bigger and faster, then Michigan would not have lost to either Oregon or Appalchain(sp) state. oklahoma wouldn't have lost to Boise St. CU's players are big and fast enough to win this game. If they weren't then they would never have made it to Division I. True they may not be as big or fast as some teams but they are far from the smallest or shortest. I've been meaning to get back to the weather thing for just a quick moment. I lived in Colorado for 18 years and have since been in warmer climates. Currently I live in Texas and needless to say 50 degrees in the evening sounds damn cold to me now. Florida has warmer evenings than I do in Texas. They are averaging 78 degrees in the evening. Believe me when I say, running around at high altitude in weather that is 20 degrees colder than you are accustom to, will make a huge differance. CU 34 FSU 14.

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