It's been a long week since Colorado kicked off the college football season in rotten fashion with a loss to Colorado State.
Some chalked it up to a bad day, grit their teeth and moved on. Others needed to be talked back from the ledge but eventually got over it by midweek. A few flat out lost their minds and began discussing whether a coaching staff 14 games into its tenure should be sent packing.
One of those groups will grow considerably Saturday based on what the scoreboard looks like at Folsom Field following the home opener (1 p.m. Pac-12 Network) against Sacramento State.
"Things don't always go how you want it to go," CU coach Jon Embree said this week. "It's still just one game. If you let those kind of things affect how you prepare, if you let it affect how you see things or make you start changing your goals or your standards then you're not going to be successful in anything you do."
Sacramento State, a Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) team, was assumed to be a sure victory when the schedule was released. Its ugly loss to perennial Western Athletic Conference doormat New Mexico State last week did nothing to change that perception among Buffs fans despite their team's loss to CSU.
Embree and his assistants could engender more patience in their rebuilding project by meeting expectations with a dominating victory. After all, one of the biggest knocks against former CU coach Dan Hawkins was a 2006 loss to Montana State and a 2008 close call against Eastern Washington, the only other lower division teams CU has played in the modern era. That's not company this staff wants to keep.
To put the opener behind them and earn their first victory this fall the Buffs must live up to their preseason billing in two areas perceived as strengths. The offensive line and a linebacker corps were thought to be the most reliable areas of the team, but last week members of both groups had tough days.
Senior linebackers Jon Major and Doug Rippy missed assignments on two different plays that resulted in CSU touchdowns and the offensive line allowed five sacks and produced an anemic running game. Taking a step forward in controlling the line of scrimmage is at the top of Embree's list Saturday.
"I'm very frustrated, I am," Embree said this week. "Because it doesn't matter what conference you're in or what level, if you can't run the ball it's going to be hard to win. I think we've run the ball effectively two times now in 14 games. That's not good enough. We've got to get it fixed."
Colorado quarterback Jordan Webb had a so-so debut in black and gold last week. He threw for two first-half touchdowns but suffered a hip injury in the second half and he and his teammates, like some of his throws, fell short down the stretch.
The Buffs also unveiled a no-huddle offense that caused CSU few problems because it didn't move very quickly. Sustaining a faster pace and wearing down the visitors is another objective Saturday afternoon in the old stadium on the hill.
"Obviously there is a different comfort level when you're at home," Embree said. "Getting a team from outside the state at this altitude, doing what we do in our no-huddle offense and getting that pace going. It will be good for a lot of things for us playing here at Folsom."
The Colorado defense will play without senior safety Ray Polk and will likely be without starting cornerback Greg Henderson against a Sacramento State offense that threw for more than 300 yards in its opener.
For the first time in history, CU could have a pair of true freshmen -- Kenneth Crawley and Yuri Wright -- starting a game at the two cornerback spots and at times there could be three true freshmen playing in the secondary when Marques Mosley comes in to play nickel back.
CU coaches believe that trio is up to the task. In fact, unlike a portion of the fan base, CU coaches and players seemed to put their disappointment aside quickly and were very businesslike in their approach this week.
"The tempo has been much faster and nobody is holding their head down," Rippy said. "It's one loss and we got over it and we're moving on to Sacramento State."