After a frustrating loss to Arizona on Saturday night, reviewing the film over the weekend was a bit like rubbing salt on the wound for Colorado defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot.
“Yeah, it was,” he said. “It was tough.”
During Arizona’s 45-42 victory, Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate was like a magician at times, rushing for 327 yards and four touchdowns and completed 12-of-13 passes for 154 yards and another touchdown. Tate set a Football Bowl Subdivision record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
On several of Tate’s runs, one or two CU defenders were in position to make tackles, but the sophomore used his athleticism to get away from the defense and sprint downfield.
“I think we had the right plan at times to slow him down and we got him in position and didn’t make the play,” Eliot said.
Eliot and head coach Mike MacIntyre both said the main issue was simply not tackling Tate, but Eliot said it wasn’t all on the players.
“There’s things we can do different every game, not just that one, schematically that could put the players in better positions,” Eliot said. “Certainly there were things we could have coached better in that game, too. It’s just calling things at certain times that may put players in position on certain plays. That was just a few. Most of the time, it came down to one-on-one matchups and fundamentals.”
Those one-on-one matchups were usually won by Tate.
“He definitely is a freak athlete and he definitely did make some amazing plays and hats off to them for getting the ball in his hands,” Eliot said.
MacIntyre said there are things “we definitely have to fix,” but when asked if he’s worried about future opponents exploiting the same type of weaknesses that Tate did, he said, “Nobody has a guy like him.”