Following a devastating and stunning loss to Oregon State, the leaders of the Colorado football team brought the group together.

"We had a talk earlier and I think that put everyone's heads on straight and today was good," senior safety Nick Fisher said Monday. "You could see it in everyone's eyes. We want to play ball and show that what we showed these last thee games, we can do better than that."

CU (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) is riding a three-game losing streak heading into Friday's matchup at Arizona (4-5, 3-3), but no loss was more crushing than Saturday's 41-34 overtime defeat against Oregon State.

Leading 31-3 with less than 24 minutes to go, the Buffs were outscored 38-3 the rest of the way. Oregon State was a 24-point underdog with a 22-game road losing streak that was the nation's longest.

With a short week ahead, the Buffs got back to work on Sunday, but priority No. 1 is getting right mentally.

"There's a lot more to that (loss) to get you mentally, because you second guess a million different things," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "You show it to them on film, you have to talk to them as players and coaches and everybody has to fess up on different things they made mistakes on."

There were plenty of mistakes, especially in the second half, but Fisher said the Buffs can't get too caught up in that performance.

"This team is better when we're playing Colorado football," he said. "When we get down to basics and we're doing what we're coached to do, and we're not focusing on whatever else is happening outside of us. I think that's when we're best."


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Talking as a team has helped, Fisher said, while acknowledging that this is a make-or-break week for the team.

"It's hard to let one go like that, but it's everything to let (the players) know that we still have more games to play and we can still be where we want to be," he said.

"It's easy to just think about three losses, 1-2-3, just as easy as it is to think the (5-0 start) means that you're going to go undefeated. When three losses happen, it gets in people's heads."

Talking as a team, he said, will hopefully produce the type of focus the Buffs need going forward.

"I think it was definitely a need," he said of bringing the group together. "You don't want anything unsaid, especially when you have captains, you have elected leaders, you have seniors on the team. You want something to be said. You want to get everyone's heads right."

MacIntyre said he was encouraged by the focus the players had for Sunday meetings and Monday's practice. Now, the Buffs hope it carries throughout the week and into Tucson on Friday.

"This is where you find out if you really do have that brother hood," Fisher said. "Everything is good when it's 5-0. This is really when you find out if we're really going to stick together or not."

George maintains confidence

Like the players and coaches, athletic director Rick George hasn't been happy with the results the past three weeks — especially Saturday — but remains confident with four games to play.

"I share the frustration and the disappointment that our fans have of certainly not accepting the outcome of that game and the way we played in the second half," he said. "Beyond that, we have a third of the season left, there's still a lot to be done. I'm confident in coach MacIntyre and his staff, that he'll get the guys ready to play and I'm very supportive of our student athletes. They go out there and fight their butt off every week. We have to go win a game Friday night."

While some fans have been calling for MacIntyre to be fired after the loss to Oregon State, George said he won't have a knee-jerk reaction to one game.

"As I always do, Mike and I will sit down at the end of the year and we'll talk about he good, bad and indifferent," he said. "I don't see that changing at this point."

Bounds taking leave

Junior Chris Bounds, who has been the Buffs' top tight end most of the year, did not play Saturday against Oregon State and is taking a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons, MacIntyre said.

"He's going through some personal things that he needs to take care of," MacIntyre said.

Notable

MacIntyre said receiver Laviska Shenault is still "day to day" with a toe injury. ... Safety Evan Worthington is going through concussion protocol after taking a hit to the head late in the first half Saturday. Running back Beau Bisharat left Saturday's game with a rib injury. ... The kickoff time for CU's game against Washington State on Nov. 10 will not be announced until Sunday. ... Pac-12 players of the week: Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton (offense), Cal linebacker Evan Weaver (defense) and Arizona State receiver N'Keal Harry (special teams).

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33