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Buffs say heartbreak will be motivation

Players say no bowl will be plenty of impetus to improve

LINCOLN, Neb. --- A youthful Colorado football team learned a lot of tough lessons this season, but the most difficult might still be coming.

After falling in heartbreaking fashion 40-31 at Nebraska on Friday, the Buffs wake up today to the reality they will be sitting home watching the bowl season on television and enduring plenty of extra work with strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman.

Some of the older players on this year's team endured this scenario in 2006, and it wasn't pleasant, but it helped them find a way to a bowl game in 2007. They're hoping it has a similar effect this time around, albeit a longer-lasting one.

"It's going to be hard to sit there and watch that," tailback Demetrius Sumler said. "But it's going to give us some motivation to work harder and make sure it don't ever happen again."

The Buffs started fast Friday but weren't able to hold a double-digit first-quarter lead, established through good game planning by coaches, who saw holes in the Nebraska defense and exploited them.

That got tougher to do as the game wore on and Nebraska coaches responded with answers.

Only 18 members of the Buffs' 70-man travel roster had played a game at Nebraska prior to Friday, and only nine of them had been involved in plays from scrimmage. The other nine had special teams playing time in the 2006 game here.

Players expect the experience gained in Friday's game in front of 85,000 roaring fans in red, and other games like it this season, will pay dividends in future years. It's small consolation at this point, but something to hang a hat on as offseason workouts, bowl watching and soul searching begin.

"You know it's going to be tough, but I think a lot of young guys saw how important it is to go into a hostile environment and fight heart and soul to try to get that win," Hawkins said.

The Buffs finished with a losing record and failed to make a bowl game a year after playing in the Independence Bowl. By some standards, it was a step backward for the program. But players weren't ready to call it a failure Friday, a challenging and often frustrating learning experience, sure, but not a failure.

"We played some of the best football teams in the country week in and week out," defensive tackle George Hypolite said. "We didn't have too many cupcakes, as sports writers call them, on our schedule. Obviously we were a younger team this year than we were last year, a lot less veterans. We hit some rough patches and some rough times, but I think that our (record) is not indicative of how well we played. Anybody who watched us, realizes we played a lot better this year."

Comments

Posted by fraser_rs on November 29, 2008 at 12:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A good showing by the buffs. It just wasn't meant to be this year. Enjoy the winter, get healthy and let's get both Colorado and Nebraska back to where they should be (like the old days).

Next year after Thanksgiving, how about playing this game for a Big 12 title game berth?

Posted by vegasbufffan on November 29, 2008 at 12:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Remember our best players who were injured will be back next year with vengence.

Posted by ChicagoBuffsFan on November 29, 2008 at 6:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Its mercifully over; the end of a very frustrating season. Get healthy, and study, and let's give it a run next year.

I was glad that yesterday wasn't a blowout and that the boys gave them everything they had.

GO BUFFS!!!!!!!!

Posted by bloozman on November 29, 2008 at 7:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Your team showed a lot of grit. They played hard. They are to be commended. If your fans showed the same kind of class, maybe we COULD call this a rivalry. Ask your players. They get applauded running off the field in Lincoln, not spit on and cursed at! And Nebraska fans don't get kicked out of games by the section!

Posted by shoulder2shoulder on November 29, 2008 at 8:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

lot of truth to what your saying bloozman

Posted by NCHusker on November 29, 2008 at 8:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well...call it what you will, it sure seems like a rivalry game to me. This buff team was in it until the end. Played with heart...HEART! I know that I will get castigated by buff fans with comments like "who gives a Sh*t what you think cream corn", but...I tend to call em as I see em, and that was a great game. I just hope NU will be ready next year.

Posted by BuffSteve on November 29, 2008 at 8:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

NCHusker - I; for one; appreciate Husker fans who come on here and give intelligent remarks and discuss football. Buff fans can have a rivalry and pull for our team to win without being losers. Congrats to the Huskers; we'll see you in Boulder next year. And, finally, that kid NAILED that kick. You have to tip your hat to him. It split the uprights and there was no doubt about that one.

Go Buffs!

Posted by stt60 on November 29, 2008 at 8:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Can coach Hawkins end this stupid "lets make a father/son memory and have some bonding"It isn't working. Cody isn't made for D-1. He should transfer to small college where he could make a impact on a team. Coach Hawkins needs to start building for the future NOW and Cody isn't it.

Posted by bloozman on November 29, 2008 at 9:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Say what you will about Cody Hawkins, but if you watch a replay of that game, you'll see he made some beautiful throws to his receivers. Right on the money and in stride. I'm a Husker fan, and he was making me nervous as hell! That was the only game I've seen him play this year, but he didn't have a bad game.

Posted by wtspoor on November 29, 2008 at 9:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's very hard to close the book on 2008 CU football this way, and it hurts. They lost on a world class kick and shouldn't feel bad about that. Sad part is our inability to drive down and kick our own storybook ending. That falls on our QB who does not have the athletic ability to make it rain. That need's to change next year but somebody has to step up and earn it. OC doesn't "get it". Where was the tight end in 3rd and 4th quarter? Anything less than 8-4 next year w/ new QB would be a coaching issue. Dan- your the CEO, get a new OC and special teams coach or you'll be let go. Ouch, I can't believe its over.....

Posted by HuskerG on November 29, 2008 at 9:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Agree with bloozman that Cody played well - Hawk jr was playing lights out - especially in the first half. He hit his TE in stride nicely for the 1st TD and he made a great toss to #1 which set up their 2nd TD. As a Husker fan, after we kicked the 57-yarder, there was around 1:43 left in the game and I was worried. I was getting an ulcer as the Buffs were driving down the field, notching 1st downs.

However, I said it yesterday and I'll say it again today - Hawk jr should not start next year. Let the QB with the physical "gifts" lead the team. Cody is a helluva backup if he's ever needed and is probably a strong leader in the locker room, but I don't see him leading this team to the promised land.

Posted by cu_1982 on November 29, 2008 at 9:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ALL CU WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS:

1. NEW OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
2. NEW STARTING QB
3. NEW FIELD GOAL KICKER
4. NEW SPECIAL TEAMS COACH (ALMOST FORGOT)

IF CU GETS THIS, THEY WILL BE AN EXCELLENT FOOTBALL TEAM IN 2009. IF NOT, BRACE YOURSELF BUFF-FANS FOR ANOTHER SEASON OF FUTILITY.

Posted by mgmtgrad on November 29, 2008 at 10:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There have been some good comments above from some Husker fans, thank you.

And there have been some really stupid comments from impatient CU fans. If CU played in any other conference they would be bowling. CU plays in a conference with half of the teams in the top 12 ranking which is the most in the nation.

There will be no excuses next year because of youth and bad (injury) luck. That when we will see the improvement we all wanted and expected this year.

Posted by HorizonBuff99 on November 29, 2008 at 10:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You husker fans that have posted here show that you do have lots of class instead of talking trash you give us respect that is earned by playing well so thank you! I wish the buffs and huskers (players & fans)a happy holidays Buffs get well study hard and get ready for spring ball (only 4 months away) GO BUFFS!!!

Posted by futbol13 on November 29, 2008 at 10:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Missing the bowl game hurts next year's team too. You lose 3 weeks of practice, prepping for a big game, recruits (not going to a bowl game?), and the might mo. Momentum of a Bowl game win, strong feelings, fan spirit.

Posted by oz_in_cali on November 29, 2008 at 11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

With the exception of the final score, that was one of the most entertaining football games I have ever seen.

I had seen the bugeaters play a few times this year and knew they were pretty good, so I was a little less than optimistic going in. In spite of all of the trash talk I have to tip my cap to Pellini, the Huskers and that kicker in particular (reminded me of a guy we had in Boulder a couple of years ago).

As for the comments being directed at Cody, I tend to agree with the idea that he would be an ideal back-up. This year, he was our best option for better or for worse, but moving forward the coaching staff needs to work on developing Hansen and getting him ready for prime-time (nothing against Ballenger, but I'm not buying the "he didn't get a fair shake because of nepotism" drivel. In any case, that ship has sailed).

Regardless of the 5-7 record and being home for the holidays, I honestly believe that there was significant growth in the team this year. They may have gotten less favorable results this season, but they were an improved team (especially when you factor in all the missed time by players because of injuries and other stuff).

The foundation has been set for continued growth and improvement, we just need to be patient. Given the traditionally strong scheduling and the fact that we are a Big 12 team, the overall record may not always be indicative of the fact that the program is headed in the right direction.

GO BUFFS!!!

PS: Get out there and support Coach B and Buffs Basketball.

Posted by LBCBuff on November 29, 2008 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Great game. Proud to be a Buffalo. I'm a huge buff fan but glad to see NU getting back to where they should be. It's good for the Big 12 and good for college football. Now let's get the Buffs there next year. I think they will. What a kick! And those NU fans are really a class bunch. I would love to see CU's gameday fans get there. I'm sorry, but I believe Hawk Jr. will be fine as CU's QB if that's how it works out. Open it up for competition, and if Ballenger or Hansen win it, great, but if Hawkins has time to throw, he's very accurate and has a knack for knowing where to go with it. Freakin' Helfrich and those QB draws yesterday with absolutely no blocking were driving me crazy. It was clear which team was better yesterday, but what an unbelievable job by the Defense of stepping up whenever they had to, giving the Buffs and chance right up to the end. And I got reminded how happy I am that Shawn Watson is not a Buff any longer - he gunked it up with play calls everytime they got down inside the 10-just like when he was at Colorado. CU in Boulder next year. Scott, Polk, Stewart, Simas (hopefully), Miller, Tuiti-Mariner, Katoa (hopefully), Moeller, Deahen - we're building up some playmakers.

Posted by FlatironsBuff on November 29, 2008 at 11:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hearty congratulations to the Buffs players for their efforts yesterday. They played well and came really close to winning. If we think about who could be on the field next year who wasn't this year (Miller, Major, Givens, Katoa, Simas, D-Scott and others) it could be pretty exciting. Still a young team though. Go Buffs.

Posted by thesurfrider on November 29, 2008 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

cu1982

time for change.

We did it in the govt (kinda)

now we need it in cu football

new OC
new special teams coach
find a kicker
get a qb

The last one pains me. Cody would be real good on a real good team. The problem is we are not a good team. We need a great qb to take us to the next level

In two years cody is 11 and 14
Okay he shared some time so make it 11 and 12

It's just what he is. What a great kid. We need him even more now.

But what we really need is a big time qb now and forever. Makes up for a lot of sins by other players and especially sins of the coaching staff. (J Elway comes to mind)

Anyway great game. Nice year boys real nice.

Spring ball is right around the corner

Posted by NQ on November 29, 2008 at 1:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That was a great game yesterday BUFFS! Sorry you couldn't squeak out the Win, but the team showed what I believe has been there all season. Now pull it all together and you can get the Win in many more games next year including against NU. Off season conditioning will be so important and you can use this game as motivation if you feel the urge to slack off a little between January and September.
Go BUFFS!!!!

Posted by buffalotom on November 29, 2008 at 2:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

good posts from the husker fans - that stuff is always welcome here, in my view.
remember, buff fans, our preseason expectations, generally: the record may stay the same or even deteriorate, but the team would be improved. the team improved despite key injuries, ineligibilities, missed opportunities in key situations in important games ... but the team was in many ways. as these young players mature, this season's experience will pay dividends.
this will be hawk's 3rd recruiting class ('06 doesn't really count). give him time because the program had sunk so far under the previous regime. patience fellow buff fans, better days ahead.

Posted by buffalotom on November 29, 2008 at 2:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

sorry, correction "...but the team was better in many .." oops

Posted by mewag28 on November 29, 2008 at 2:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cody is a good backup but does not have the tools to take the Buffs to the next level.

I hope D. Scott is not a bust but he did not show much. Speedy and Polk (maybe Gates) next year though.

Need better play calling.

Hope Hawk can talk some good recruits, especially a receiver, into coming.

Still pissed that Hawk did not take 3 against Missou to at least keep the shutout streak going.

Posted by Ralphie2 on November 30, 2008 at 7:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

GO BUFFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by lance71 on November 30, 2008 at 7:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

bloozeman,i agree,somehow there are alot of neb.idiots that get on cu posts during the season,that are just as unclassy as any in the league.Appreciate the ones that talk good football,and are savvy,husker G,bloozeman,others,and i know we have absolute idiot buff fans as well,lets just keep on lovin college football,talking it,and respecting it and the fans,sure we need spirited talk,even biased talk,but not punk talk.thanx all for contributing,its the greatest game in the world.

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