Neill Woelk
Neill Woelk
They`re not dead yet. There`s no white flag waving from the steps of Dal Ward.

Not yet.

That was the message Tuesday from Colorado players and coaches, who are doing their best to make sure one game doesn`t destroy their season.

Yes, they know what happened last weekend at Cal. They didn`t have to read the newspapers, watch television or check the Internet message boards to know exactly how bad it was.

They needed no reminders. They were there. They experienced firsthand the 52-7 beatdown administered by the Golden Bears. They lived through it, suffered through it and endured yet another long, long plane trip home.

But unlike most of us who saw it on Saturday and wouldn`t think of watching it again, the Buffs got to relive it. Painstaking minute by painstaking minute, they watched the whole thing again in the meeting rooms.

It didn`t get any better the second time around.

Yet if there`s any silver lining -- and believe me, the Buffs will grasp at any straw they can -- it`s that a 52-7 loss still counts as just one loss.

Thus, with 10 games left on the schedule and a record that says 1-1, the Buffs say they aren`t finished.

"Our confidence isn`t down," said Buff wide receiver Scotty McKnight on Tuesday. "There`s a little fire. We`re upset that we went out and performed the way we did. Getting blown out like that is embarrassing."

McKnight and his teammates know there aren`t many folks out there who believe the Buffs can bounce back. The general consensus seems to be that this will be a replay of 2009.

McKnight, though, says noone in a Buff uniform is ready to surrender the season.

"We got stomped on," McKnight said. "We know that. But when that happens, and everybody is down on you, that`s when you huddle up and say let`s get it together. Let`s go out there and show something."

They`ll have their chance to do just that Saturday, when they play Hawaii at Folsom Field.

But while the Buffs insist their season is far from over, they also know this weekend`s matchup has the dreaded "make-or-break" designation stamped all over it.

"I think we have to come out and win," McKnight said. "We need to get the fans and everybody back on our side. This is one of those things we can use as a positive moment."

One thing McKnight does expect to see this weekend -- and something Buff fans have been waiting to see -- is the Buffs` heralded group of wide receivers go up top for a big play or two.

Headed into the season, CU`s speed at wideout was supposed to be a major strength. But thus far, Colorado`s longest pass play has been a mere 27 yards.

"I think it`s one of those things that can pop at any minute," McKnight said. "It`s going to happen this Saturday. I really feel it."

To be honest, the Buffs could use more than a little pop in their offense. After two weeks of the season, the Buffs are at or near the bottom of virtually every offensive category in the Big 12 -- including the only one that really counts, scoring.

It`s why this weekend`s game has the air of a crossroads. Play well and get a win, and the Buffs will have two weeks to prepare for a visit from Georgia. They can -- despite dire predictions from a frustrated fan base -- get this season at least headed back in the right direction.

"We need it," McKnight said. "We need to go out and play a good game. We need to go out and win."

No doubt, a solid performance this weekend would heal some of the wounds inflicted last weekend.

"It`s like this -- when you have a bad day at work, do you quit?" McKnight asked. "We don`t. One bad day doesn`t make a season."

And one good day would definitely put some spark back in this one.