How about five offensive linemen working together and responding to defensive changes and tactics with some maturity and resolve? How about watching an offensive line -- their offensive line -- dominate the line of scrimmage? Not a sight often seen around these parts recently.
"There were some double teams where the guys were coming off the ball and moving those guys seven yards deep," offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau said following Tuesday`s practice. "They were just displacing some of those guys and everyone says, 'Ah, they`re 1-3.` That was a good football team, cause they`ve got the size, the speed and the athleticism and they`ve got good coaches and scheme."
Safe to say the Colorado offensive line has rebounded from a miserable performance at Cal a month ago to produce two strong showings in back-to-back games against Hawaii and Georgia and it has led to consecutive 200-yard rushing days.
The same five offensive linemen have started the past two games and there is a feeling coaches finally assembled the right group after tinkering and playing seven or eight different players in the first two games.
"It`s good to know who is going to play next to you," guard Ryan Miller said. "Just in practice, you get that feeling of this is how (David Bakhtiari) plays or this is how Mike (Iltis) plays. You kind of play off each other`s strengths and you`re building cohesion with the guys playing next to you."
Even the Buffs came into the season believing they were going to bemore of a passing team relying on quarterback Tyler Hansen and a deep corps of wide receivers to move the ball. That appeared to the case through the first two games and it wasn`t working out particularly well.
Whether it was in the aftermath of the Cal loss or at halftime of the Hawaii game following another slow start, someone decided to start running the ball more and sticking with it, and it has paid off with an assist from the defense in the program`s first winning streak in two years.
"I think it just took a little time," Miller said. "We came out in the second half against Hawaii and things started clicking and I guess you see things start to go well and you don`t want to stray away from it."
Two solid games -- six strong quarters in reality -- hardly qualifies as a trend let alone a verdict, but it has given the team a totally different presence than the aura it brought home from the West Coast last month. The Buffs have some confidence in their ability to move the ball just when they need it most.
They must go on the road this week, which is a challenge in itself, but they also must play the Missouri Tigers, a team that has dominated Colorado the past four years. Winning this week will require continued success on the ground. The Tigers aren`t as formidable as years past. They are allowing 146 rushing yards a game and haven`t exactly played a strong schedule.
"The offensive line is coming along real well," tailback Rodney Stewart said. "We`re having more confidence in them. We`ve got a good variety of receivers that help spread the field a little bit and that is opening up the holes, too, and then we`re all just working hard. The backs are running hard and the yards are going to come."
Stewart is coming off his second consecutive 100-yard rushing effort and has 402 yards through the first four games this fall. He is on pace to become the first 1,000-yard rusher at Colorado since Bobby Purify ran for 1,017 yards in the 2004 season.
Colorado has a long history of strong running games, but some fans would be surprised to know there have been only five 1,000-yard rushers in Boulder in the past 20 years. There have been just as many 1,000-yard receivers.
Kiesau said he has been a little more patient with the run recently but there haven`t been any big changes made to what the Buffs have been practicing since spring ball. He explained the team`s resurgent running game this way.
"You just don`t give up on the things you`re teaching and the things you believe in," Kiesau said. "You`ve just got to continue to grind away and eventually they will click. I just think it`s starting to come together for the guys. I don`t think it`s any magic mystery. It`s not like I pulled something out of a hat or something like that. It`s just continually getting better and working on things and when you have a good game, improve on that and get even a little bit better."