Every year, there’s a lot of complaining about the late games and Friday night games in the Pac-12.
Colorado can’t wait to get on the field Friday.
“I wish we played today so you can get that sour taste out of your mouth,” secondary coach ShaDon Brown said on Monday.
That sour taste, of course, came from the 41-34 overtime loss to Oregon State on Saturday.
CU (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) will look to wash that taste away with a visit to Arizona (4-5, 3-3).
“We want to get back out there as soon as possible,” senior linebacker Rick Gamboa said. “There’s a lot of guys on the team that feel like we messed up and there’s one or two things that we could have done as a team that would have helped us win. Everybody has that energy we just want to get out there and fix what we messed up.”
The second half collapse, when CU got outscored 38-3 after holding a 31-3 lead, has changed the outlook on the season for many. A week ago, there were high hopes for a South title and possible eight or nine-win season. Now, there are fans and pundits who believe the Buffs won’t win another game.
Certainly recovering from that collapse might be tough mentally. But, the ability is there for CU to finish well.
This is, after all, the same team that started the season 5-0; the same team that had chances to win at USC and Washington; the same team that built that 31-3 lead against Oregon State.
“Every game, you have to put off the last game,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “You can’t be too happy about the last game … and you can’t be too down about a game that didn’t go the way you wanted it to and let that get the next game. Somehow you have to find a way to be able to do that.
“Your preparation determines your best chance of having success.”
If the Buffs were able to have a great week of preparation and get past the mental hurdle of the loss, they can change the course of their season once again.
“Football, you’re never out of it,” linebacker Nate Landman said. “We learned that on Saturday. I think we played a good first half of football and we kind of let our foot off the gas second half. The way we’ve been practicing this week has me confident and should have our defense confident because we’ve been preparing hard. Everybody’s been focused; it’s been a new attitude.
“What happened last week was tough, but I think we’re willing to forget that and move on. And I think this week we’re going to have a great game.”
Misery loves company
I bumped into former CU head coach – and current KOA radio color analyst – Gary Barnett this week and asked him about the loss to Oregon State. He said he told MacIntyre, “If you haven’t experienced a game like that, you haven’t coached long enough.”
In 1995, Barnett was the head coach at Northwestern and his Wildcats had upset No. 8 Notre Dame on the road in Week 1. In Week 2, the 25th-ranked Wildcats were a 17-point favorite against visiting Miami of Ohio.
Northwestern led 28-7 in the fourth quarter, but several bad snaps by a backup snapper let Miami back in the game. Miami pulled within 28-27. Yet another bad snap on a punt in the final minute set up Miami for a game-winning field goal as time expired.
Barnett’s team didn’t lose again in the regular season. They finished 10-2 and Barnett was national coach of the year.
More on corners
I had an article that posted Thursday on the importance of Colorado’s secondary getting better.
MacIntyre is a long-time defensive backs coach, and there’s no question it hurts him to see that position struggling. He also sees it as a vital position if the Buffs are going to rally down the stretch.
Here’s MacIntyre talking a bit more about the cornerbacks.
“They’ve got to keep working on their fundamentals,” he said. “You show them the fundamentals, you keep working on that. You do certain drills for that, things they’re having issues with and you keep trying to instill confidence at the same time you’re trying to instill the fundamental aspects of the position. That’s a tough position to play and we haven’t played as well there as we have in the past – at least the last three games.
“For you to win games, you have to play well at corner. That’s the bottom line in major college football now. If you don’t play good at corner, you’re going to have a hard time winning.”
A few other notables before Friday’s game:
— The Buffs dominated in their last trip to Tucson, 49-24, on Nov. 12, 2016. Since then, however, CU is 1-6 in conference road games. The only win came last year at Oregon State. The Buffs needed a late rally and OSU missed field goal at the buzzer to survive, 36-33, against a team that was 0-9 in conference.
–Defensive end Terrance Lang is coming on of late. Here’s what he said about his blocked extra point near the end of regulation last week: “I knew that we needed the field goal blocked and when the play went, I jumped and put my hands up as high as I could and I got a piece of it.”
–The longest starting streaks for the Buffs coming into this week: LB Rick Gamboa (45 consecutive starts), QB Steven Montez (20), S Evan Worthington (19) and NT Javier Edwards(12). One of those streaks could end, as Worthington has been in concussion protocol this week.
–Nobody is super close to a big milestone this week, but Montez could a couple with a monster game. He needs 437 passing yards to pass Kordell Stewart for fourth on CU’s all-time list. He also needs four touchdown passes to pass Joel Klatt for third place.