#58 Colorado Football Preview

Colorado Buffaloes

Overall Rank: #58
#10 Pac-12

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2010 Record: (5-7, 2-6)
2010 Bowl: none
Coach: Jon Embree (First year at Colorado, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Eric Bieniemy
Defensive Coordinator: Greg Brown

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Rodney Stewart, RB, 1,318 yards
Passing: Tyler Hansen, QB, 1,102 yards
Receiving: Paul Richardson, WR, 482 yards
Tackles: Ray Polk, S, 72
Sacks: Josh Hartigan, DE, 7.0
Interceptions: Travis Sandersfeld, S, 2

Other Key Returnees: G Ethan Adkins, OT David Bakhtiari, WR Toney Clemsons, DT Curtis Cunningham, TE Ryan Deehan, C Mike Iltis, LB Jon Major, G Ryan Miller, DT Will Pericak, S Anthony Perkins, S Terrel Smith

Key Losses: CB Jalil Brown, LB B.J. Beatty, K Aric Goodman, WR Scotty McKnight, LB Michael Sipili, CB Jimmy Smith, OT Nate Solder

Colorado is looking to rebuild their once proud program. They will pretty much start from scratch with a new coach and a new conference in 2011. Coach Jon Embree will be the one who leads the Buffaloes into the Pac-12. In the long run, it should be a good move for Colorado as getting back to recruiting Southern California is now a very feasible option. Back in the Big 12 days, the SoCal pipeline dried up and Colorado never had much success in Texas.

The offense will have to win some games for the Buffs. Running back Rodney Stewart is a star senior who rushed for 1,272 yards and ten touchdowns last year. The line has to replace tackle Note Solder, but sophomore David Bakhtiari is ready for the big time. Fellow sophomore Jack Harris is poised to step in at the other tackle spot. The interior of the line returns intact, but that is not necessarily a good thing. There are a bunch of upperclassmen, but they have not performed particularly well over the years. For the first time in his career Tyler Hansen does not have to look over his shoulder at the coach’s son. The 6-1 senior was an efficient quarterback last season, completing 68.3 percent of his passes. He got sacked way too much, which was just as often his fault as much as the line’s, and threw too many interceptions, but Hansen is looking like a quarterback who can do some damage. Even without Scott McKnight, Hansen has some quality receivers to work with. Paul Richardson had a superb freshman campaign and should emerge as the Buffs go-to-receiver. With some more experienced options around him, most notably Logan Gray, Toney Clemons and tight end Ryan Deehan, Hansen will find plenty of help from his receivers.

The defense that allowed over 30 points per game last season is full of holes. The front four is probably the strongest unit, sporting Will Pericak in the middle and Josh Hartigan on the end. Finding another pass rusher will be key and sophomore Chidera Uzo-Diribe is pretty much the only option. The linebackers have one returning starter in Jon Major. He has not been the most productive linebacker over the last couple of years at Colorado, but he is full of potential. The 6-1 junior’s time is now and he has to lead a young and inexperienced group of linebackers. The secondary was hit hard by graduation too. Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown were two of the best in the Big 12 and will be greatly missed. Their replacements will likely be unproven underclassmen. While the corners work their way into good form, safety Ray Polk will have to hold down the secondary. If the pass rush can improve, the secondary’s deficiencies will be masked for a while, but the Buffaloes still have to find a couple new corners if they have any hope of their first season in the Pac-12 being a memorable one…at least for the right reasons.

The Bottom Line:
The defense is going to struggle with some of the more potent offenses in the Pac-12. Game planning for Stanford and Oregon is never easy, but it will be even more difficult for a Colorado team that has not been playing those teams every year. On the flip side, the Buffaloes offense could surprise a few teams in the Pac-12. The ground game is solid and Hansen has the potential to be a decent quarterback. He will not have to push things too much as Colorado plans to run, run and then run some more. As long as Hansen can avoid making mistakes and stay ahead of the chains, the Buffaloes offense will be much, much better than they were a year ago.

Projected Bowl: none

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 137.00 (85th in nation, 11th in conference)
Passing Offense: 222.67 (59, 8)
Total Offense: 359.67 (79, 10)
Scoring Offense: 24.17 (84, 9)
Rushing Defense: 140.25 (48, 4)
Pass Defense: 259.75 (110, 9)
Total Defense: 400.00 (83, 6)
Scoring Defense: 30.75 (91, 10)
Turnover Margin: .00 (55, 6)
Sacks: 2.50 (24, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.75 (51, 7)

Madness 2012 NFL Draft Rankings

#48 Ryan Miller

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