#95 Colorado Football 2014 Preview

Colorado Buffaloes

Overall Rank: #95
#12 Pac-12

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Colorado should have been quite happy to reach four wins during Coach Mike MacIntyre’s first year at the helm. The expectations were lower than that. Wins against Central Arkansas and Charleston Southern were not a surprise, but the Buffaloes beat rival Colorado State and managed to pick up one Pac-12 victory, against Cal, as well. Now it is time for the next step, although more wins seems unlikely.

2013 Record: (4-8, 1-8)
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Mike MacIntyre (4-8 at Colorado, 20-29 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Lindgren
Defensive Coordinator: Kent Baer

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Christian Powell, RB, 562 yards
Passing: Sefo Liufau, QB, 1,779 yards
Receiving: Nelson Spruce, WR, 650 yards
Tackles: Addison Gilliam, LB, 119
Sacks: Samson Kafovalu, DE, 3.0; Addison Gillam, LB, 3
Interceptions: Greg Henderson, CB, 4

Other Key Returnees: RB Michael Adkins, CB Jered Bell, LB Woodson Greer, DT Josh Tupou

Key Losses: WR Paul Richardson, S Parker Orms, DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe, LB Derrick Webb

The offense has potential, especially at the skill positions. Sefo Liufau will be the new full-time signal caller. He split starts last year with the now departed Connor Wood. Liufau had his moments and was quite poised for a true freshman. He threw 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions, which is not a horrible ratio for a true freshman who was asked to do a lot. Without superstar wide receiver Paul Richardson, who left early for the NFL, Liufau will have to find a new favorite target. Fortunately, there are options. Nelson Spruce caught 55 passes for 650 yards and incoming freshman Shay Fields will turn into the next Richardson sooner or later. At running back, both Christian Powell and Michael Adkins have potential. Powell, a big bruiser, may not pick up too many yards per carry, but he can pick up those tough yards. Adkins, a speedy sophomore, has the ability to break big plays and could quickly turn into the Buffaloes featured back.

The problem on offense will be the play of the line. The unit lost a couple key contributors and there will be a lot of reshuffling. The talent of the skill players will quickly be lost if the line does not come together quickly. The Colorado defense has even more issues to sort out. The team allowed over 38 points per game in 2013 and rarely stopped anybody on the ground. Linebacker Addison Gilliam is back after tallying 119 tackles and will continue to lead the defense, even though he is just a sophomore. The front four must move on without sack leader Chidera Uzo-Diribe. Tackle Josh Tupou is a decent piece to work around. The secondary returns Greg Henderson and Jered Bell, both of who are solid playmakers and combined for seven interceptions in 2013.

The Bottom Line:
While Colorado simply does not have the talent to match the rest of the Pac-12, Coach MacIntyre is building something here. It is going to take time. For now, the Buffaloes are a very young team and moving forward by playing more consistently is about all they can hope for. Getting to six wins is just not going to happen in 2014, but another four win year would raise expectations in 2015 with a bowl game as a reasonable goal.

Projected Bowl: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 120.8 (108th in nation, 10th in conference)
Passing Offense: 249.1 (47, 8)
Total Offense: 369.9 (87, 12)
Scoring Offense: 25.4 (86, 11)
Rushing Defense: 208.5 (101, 12)
Pass Defense: 259.5 (102, 9)
Total Defense: 468.0 (106, 11)
Scoring Defense: 38.3 (112, 11)
Turnover Margin: -0.3 (79, 9)
Sacks: 1.50 (99, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 1.67 (41, 4)


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