During tumultuous times, teams will often gather together to try to calm the storm a bit.

Following Saturday's stunning 41-34 overtime loss to Oregon State, the Colorado football team found the need for a bit of team therapy.

CU is hoping a players-only meeting held earlier this week will help the Buffaloes (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) get back on track as they prepare to visit Arizona (4-5, 3-3) on Friday night.

"I think that was good for us," sophomore linebacker Nate Landman said. "We had a lot of guys step up and talk, even younger guys stood up and talked. It was motivational and also it cleared a lot of things in the air. I think it brought us closer together as a group and as a unit."

After a 5-0 start to the season, the Buffs are on the brink of a total collapse if they don't stop their current three-game losing streak. The loss to Oregon State — which came to Boulder as a 24-point underdog — was the final straw for the players. CU led 31-3 and, as senior linebacker Rick Gamboa said, "got a little comfortable."

With a short week of preparation for the game at Arizona, the Buffs didn't have a lot of time to dwell on the loss to Oregon State, but the players-only meeting seems to have put their minds back in the right place. Several players have said they are encouraged by how the Buffs have practiced this week.

Receiver KD Nixon felt Tuesday was one of the Buffs' best practices of the season.


"We all understand where we messed up as a unit and as individuals and leaders and everything," Gamboa said. "Everybody is ready to prepare for Arizona at this point."

Although the Buffs didn't go into great detail about what was said during the meeting, a reminder of the team goals was certainly a topic. The Buffs came into the season aiming for a bowl game and a Pac-12 championship. Those goals are still possible to achieve.

"We needed to look ourselves in the mirror and get back to what our goals were at the beginning of the season," quarterback Steven Montez said. "It was a good meeting. Definitely productive, for sure.

"The attitude that's been circulating around the team (this week) has been a pretty good attitude to have; it's kind of been the same attitude we've had all year long. Oregon State, it's over now; what happened, happened. But, we have another game coming up and we have to focus on U of A now."

Viska still battling back

CU receiver Laviska Shenault is still day to day with a toe injury that has sidelined him the past two weeks.

Shenault still leads the country in receiving yards (130.0) and catches (10.0) per game, but is no longer being talked about a Heisman Trophy candidate. Missing two games and CU's three-game skid have taken him out of that conversation.

"Viska is not paying attention to that," said Nixon, who is Shenault's good friend and roommate. "He was honored to be in that position, but at the same time, he wants to play football. That's what he's working to get back to."

Homecoming of sorts

Tucson is a manageable drive — close to five hours — from El Paso, Texas, where Montez went to high school. He also has family in Arizona. So, the Buffs' quarterback is looking forward to a strong cheering section Friday.

"I should definitely have some family and friends that come out to the game and come support," he said. "I'll have a big support group there hopefully this Friday."

Prepping for Taylor

Arizona running back J.J. Taylor has been one of the most dynamic players in the Pac-12 this season. He is 11th in the country with 114.3 rushing yards per game and his 175.4 all-purpose yards per game ranks third nationally.

"I think he's one of the hardest running backs I've seen on tape," Landman said. "When he sees the hole, he hits it. He's full speed, he's a downhill guy. We have to look to keep him contained and not let him break out on those long runs."

MacIntyre said he's impressed with Taylor's quickness and explosiveness, but also with how Arizona uses him. They will get into wide splits with their linemen and pull guards, giving Taylor a few different holes from which to choose.

"They really allow him to use his vision," MacIntyre said.


Safety Evan Worthington is going through concussion protocol this week. With him possibly missing the game, sophomore Derrion Rakestraw is now listed atop the depth chart at strong safety. ... CU has won three consecutive Friday games and has gone 4-1 on Friday since the start of 2016 - the only loss coming to Washington in the 2016 Pac-12 title game.

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