Greg Brown has been around long enough to know that when things don't go well on the football field, the critics get loud.

Following Colorado's stunning 69-14 loss at Fresno State on Saturday, the critics have spit a lot of venom in the direction of Brown, CU's second-year defensive coordinator.

Goes with the territory, he said, and he doesn't blame them.

"Oh yeah. Any time you play poorly and we get our hat handed to us like we did, absolutely everybody has a right to criticize," Brown said.

Colorado (0-3) is off to a disastrous start to the season, and the defense has been especially porous.

Fresno State racked up 665 yards (9.9 per play). The Bulldogs had 288 rushing yards and 377 through the air and scored eight offensive touchdowns on 67 plays.

"You always remember all the tough losses but this one has to rank up there," Brown said. "Giving up 69 points to Fresno, and hats off to them -- they have talent, they do a great job. They're well coached and they're a good team. But, they got us in every way, shape and form possible."

Why was Fresno State able to dominate the Buff defense?

"A lot of it comes down to, when you don't get off blocks, when you miss tackles, bad things are going to happen to you," Brown said. "That was a lot of it Saturday night."

Asked whether the struggles can be pinpointed to the players, the scheme or the lack of experience, Brown didn't point fingers. He said everyone -- players and coaches -- need to get better.


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"You win and lose together, in all facets, as players and coaches," he said. "We, as coaches, have to come up with plans that give us our best shot and put our players in position and them, as players, have to execute those."

As a group, CU didn't come close to achieving its goal against Fresno State. That led to a lot of frustration on the sideline and the locker room, some of which was evident during the television broadcast.

"There's always going to be a high level of frustration when we as a defense don't perform like we are capable and like we should perform," Brown said. "That was the epitome of a poor performance Saturday night. Fresno State went out there and took it to us and we didn't do anything to deter them."

Perhaps more concerning is that the CU defense hasn't done much to deter any of the offenses it has faced to this point.

In the opener, Colorado State finished with just 298 yards, but the Rams made key plays when they needed them most in a 22-17 win over the Buffs.

On Sept. 8, Sacramento State, a middle-of-the-pack Football Championship Subdivision team, came into Boulder and racked up 466 yards and 28 first downs in a 30-28 win at Folsom Field.

Then came the disaster of Saturday in Fresno.

"Right now, we've put together three weeks in a row of being humbled," Brown said. "It's hard and there's only one way to work your way out of it and that is just that, work."

The question is whether the Buffs have the ability to work through their issues this season. Brown said he still believes in his defensive coaching staff and the players they are putting on the field -- even the plethora of true freshmen that are being forced into action.

"We have guys, we just have to get aligned better, get off blocks, make tackles and grow up," he said. "It's still a long season to go. We've got to start by taking positive strides and getting in position and making plays.

"It all starts with fundamentals. We have to do a better job getting alignment, assignment, technique and execution. It starts with that. If you do those things right, it gives you a chance. If you don't, it's hard to have a chance to play well."

So far, the Buffs have not played well on defense. Fans are unhappy, but so is Brown. He said his frustration level is "off the charts."

Unfortunately for Brown, his defense doesn't get a break this week. CU visits Washington State, which is guided by Mike Leach. This is Leach's first season with the Cougars, but he built quite a reputation as an offensive mastermind at Texas Tech.

"Sure, there's a lot of stuff that you recognize (from Leach's Texas Tech days), but there's also stuff that you don't," Brown said. "This guy, he's a trendsetter. He's going to explore and move into new areas and do different things than what he's done."

Brown has had success against Leach in the past. In 2006, he was CU's secondary coach when the Buffs shut down Texas Tech, 30-6. The next year, Brown and the Buffs went to Lubbock, Texas, and knocked off Leach the Red Raiders, 31-26.

Those results give Brown no comfort this week, however.

"We are so humbled right now as a defense," he said. "We're in a hole looking up. We have no choice but to work our way out of it.

"The only thing you can do to try to get over the sting of a humiliating loss is, let's get up and go work the next weekend. Let's see if we can improve."

Notable

Head coach Jon Embree said Jordan Webb will likely start at quarterback on Saturday, but that the competition is ongoing. ... Asked if there would be personnel changes this week, Embree said, "I'll know more after dialogue with certain people." He added that he is discussing certain things about the scheme with coaches. ... Asked if he was pleased with CU's effort against Fresno State, Embree said, "Yes, I am." ... Cornerback Greg Henderson (ankle) could be back this week after missing two games. Center Gus Handler and defensive back Marques Mosley are day-to-day as they nurse injuries. ... Senior safety Ray Polk, who has missed two games, was out of his walking boot for the first time Monday, but is still not close to returning to the field.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.