Sports Chat replay: CU Buffs beat writer Brian Howell discusses CU sports (April 29, 2019) Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)By BuffZone.com | PUBLISHED: April 29, 2019 at 11:37 a.m. | UPDATED: April 30, 2019 at 2:21 p.m.Buffzone.com beat writer Brian Howell takes your questions and leads discussion about CU sports today at Noon. That'll do it for this week, everybody. Great comments and questions, as always! We'll do this again next Monday!I'm not sure we'll really be able to see that until the fall. I don't remember jet sweeps, though!The pass game was simplified last year which seemed to minimize how much our QB might need to read at the line (lots of bubble screens or 50/50 go routes on the outside with single coverage). Did you see a big difference in route combinations or asking Montez/QBs to work through progressions differently?I agree, to a point, but MacIntyre did a nice job of increasing the talent and producing more NFL-caliber players. While only one was drafted, Evan Worthington, Travon McMillian, Javier Edwards and Drew Lewis were all legit NFL prospects. Good to see Kabion Ento get a shot, too. CU was in line with about half the Pac-12 this year.It was great to see Winfree get drafted and I’m really happy for him and think he has the talent and drive to be successful at the next level! With that said, I also think it’s concerning that only one Buff was drafted and seems to be a bit of an indictment on MacIntyre and his staff to bring in talent....and especially to develop talent. As Hawkins would say, “this ain’t Intramurals”! Have you seen how the Buffs did in the NFL draft compared to each of the other teams in the Pac-12?I think they're already doing it - emphasizing the lines. That, to me, was MacIntyre's biggest failure in recruiting. They were awful at recruiting high school defensive linemen - until the end - and had to rely WAY too much on JUCOs. And, their OL recruiting wasn't very good for several years. Tucker and his staff have to emphasize big, talented kids in the trenches, and we're already seeing that. I personally think they also need to get away from having to fill so many holes with JUCOs.I agree with your hypothesis regarding Tucker likely being surprised regarding overall talent level, especially when it comes to depth at each position (other than WR and potentially RB). Other than Winning games this Fall, what does Tucker and his Staff need to do differently than MacIntyre and company to improve the overall talent level...both Starters and Back-ups?At some point in June, but I'm not sure when exactly.When do freshman and summer JC guys get to campus and start working with S&C?I think both could be viable options, but both have plenty to prove. Noyer has struggled in games, but I'd love to see what he does as a starter, just to see if he takes that next step. Coming off the bench in tough environments isn't easy. And, I like Lytle's potential.Do you see Noyer or Lytle being a viable option for this team if Montez continues to struggle, or gets injured? Or are we in bad shape if we don't have him?I don't see him doing that. That doesn't seem to be in his nature. Now, if he were to get hurt again midway through the season and it's not serious, maybe he decides to shut it down, but I don't see that out of him.With Viska being considered a top 10 pick next year and his injury concerns, what are the odds he pulls a Bosa and sits out most of the year?Well, that's certainly a pessimistic outlook. Montez has played fairly well for two years and I think he's only getting better. He's also going to get his best weapon back in the fall. I don't think this is a great football team, but it's not a bad football team.Montez’ footwork is horrible and most of the offense big plays are against defensive players that will never play college football (see Maurice Bell versus Uryan what’s his name). This is a bad football teamI do. Maybe not a ton, but I think we'll see some names added in the next few weeks.With the coaches out recruiting now, do you think we'll start to see some commitments roll in?I think if you asked Tucker and Rick George and the players, they'd say they want to win the Pac-12 and compete for a national title. And, that's great to shoot for that. Realistically, if they get to a bowl game this year, that's a successful first season. Ideally, it's not just 6-6, but maybe 7-5 and then win the bowl and go 8-5.Brian- What are realistic expectations for this team in the fall? Is just a bowl game a successful first season for coach Tucker? Or should this team have higher aspirations?Thanks! And, yes, overreaction to say that!! Haha! Tyler Lytle very much in that mix, too.So I guess it’s an overreaction to say that Sam Noyer will be the buffs Nick Foles this year. Only kidding. It was just nice to see an actual spring game this year. Great work on your coverage this spring as always. Keep up the videos with Adam. Really great contentIt's hard to really get a feel from him on that. We're still getting to know him a bit, but I think he was very pleased with how this team worked this spring. I would have to think that he was surprised at the dropoff in overall talent from where he's been in the past, but he's never said that, and I don't know that he would. I think he was also pleasantly surprised with Montez, having a talented, experienced QB to lean on.After speaking with Coach Tucker after the 15 Spring practices, what do you think he was most surprised about since taking over this team...both in a positive sense...as well as most concerning?I disagree that it was a mistake - and that's coming from someone that wishes I was able to watch a couple more. I don't think it hurt the excitement at all. When practices were open a few years ago, very few fans showed up. I thought the crowd was pretty solid on Saturday. As far as what Rick George is going to do to ... he's done it by hiring Tucker (which has brought in enthusiasm) and putting together an attractive schedule. Obviously that has to translate to wins, but those are big starts.I also think it was a big mistake for Tucker to close spring practices. They need to do something to get the fanbase excited about this program again. The gameday experience is terrible at Folsom and the on-field product has been terrible for about 20 years. Do you think Rick George has any ideas for generating some enthusiasm for this program?I think we'll see 2-3 WRs most of the time. The tight end is a big part of this offense and there's almost always at least one TE on the field. That leaves only 3 WR spots. I get that the depth is at WR, but to play the way CU wants to play - physical - the TE is a key. They've had a lot of WR talent the past few years and it hasn't led to explosive offense. I think they can be better doing it this way.I didn't see a problem with the intensity, and I will say that if it didn't meet Tucker's standard, he would have said so. Keep in mind you have some guys playing in non-contact jerseys, so it's not going to be 100 percent game-like intensity.Where did you all see the intensity? How many big hits were there on defense? How many pancake blocks did you see? In spring game, everything is vanilla so there shouldn't be much thinking involved, just physicality, just guys making plays. You've seen the same plays on offense and defense for 14 straight practices, so it's just time for guys to go out and compete.Umm, let's not. Although my son would like it. He loves dinosaurs! ... Most impactful players we didn't see Saturday? Clearly, it starts with Laviska Shenault and Mustafa Johnson. Those two were among the 4-5 best players last year and should be again. Arlington Hambright and Colby Pursell could be on that list. In the secondary, Chris Miller, Aaron Maddox, Hasaan Hypolite are all guys we didn't see who could start. Mark Perry and Jaunta'vius Johnson are two newcomers who could make and impact, too.Brino-saurus (thanks, Spiff...let's get that to stick!)-Who do you think will be the most impactful players who we didn't see on Saturday?Thanks! I appreciate it and I know Adam would appreciate that as well. Kinda funny how it started. Last fall, I showed up to the first practice and Adam asked if I wanted to do a video just to see how it goes. We weren't sure many people would watch, but the number of views far exceeded our expectations, so we kept doing it. It's been fun. Obviously, we work for different places, but we bring different perspectives and we get along well, so that helps!For what it’s worth, I really enjoyed the 15 post practice videos you and Adam did together. Lots of great analysis and insights...especially since you guys were only able to see 2 out of the 15 practices. You guys do a great job covering the Buffs and building interest and excitement with the fan base! Rick George should put you on the Buffs payroll! Thanks for the great objective and insightful coverage!Maybe bit, because that's where the talent and experience is right now, but they still want to run the football and I think they have talented RBs to do that. That's still going to be an emphasis for this offense. But, clearly when you're that deep at WR, you want to take advantage of it.We have a lot a talented receivers. It's almost like a Mike Leech dream team. Do you think that Mel is adjusting his approach to offense based on the talent we have?I disagree that Montez didn't show up. He made a couple of really nice plays. He got sloppy in the second half, but I don't think he lacked the intensity or desire to be out there. Knowing Steven, I would guess he took some chances he may not otherwise, because he knows it was just the spring game.I disagree with the lack of intensity comment. Other than Montez I think everyone showed up. Though that's a big guy to not show up. Rule #1 is to not get anyone injured, so of course things are dialed back a bit.I think everybody on staff is on board with Tucker. He's brought in an energy and sense of urgency that was sorely needed.What would Hagan say behind closed doors about Tuck? Thumbs up or down?Much closer to Stanford and Wazzu, for sure. Of the 135 plays on offense, 62 were runs, which is 46 percent. No, the QBs didn't run, but it's the spring and they don't want those guys getting hit anyway. And, keep in mind it was just the spring game. They aren't going to show us their full offense yet.Hi Brian. I only saw the first half of the game so I don't know the whole story. But from my observation it looks like the play calling has been pass heavy. I didn't see a whole lot of pounding it up the middle and no QB runs. Do you have more inform on the Mel Tucker offensive identity? More Stanford or more Wazzu?I don't know where you see the greatness on defense right now. The DL is banged up right now and very unproven. If Mustafa is healthy, he's a great player, and I do like Sami and Lang up front, as well. But, beyond that, so much is unproven. At LB, Landman is fantastic, but beyond that ... we haven't seen anybody. Van Diest had a good spring game, but he's got a lot to prove, as does Akil and the JUCO kids coming in. The secondary is a mess right now. They're missing so many bodies and key players this spring. Abrams can be really good, Miller, too, but Miller was out all spring and we haven't seen him since the middle of last year. Safety is very unproven.Brian- This defense looks great at all 3 levels. Do you see any reason why they wouldn't be one of the top defenses in the Pac-12 this year?I agree with you. KD is very talented, but I've just seen so many times when they struggle to connect with him on the outside. The first one early wasn't on KD, though. Montez overthrew him, KD had his man beat. But, when I look at this receiving corps, I like Shenault and Arias - and maybe even Brown - more than KD on the outside. I'd like to see those 3 on the outside, with KD and Stanley rotating in the slot.I was FEALLY impressed with both Stanley and Arias on Saturday! And, I continue to feel like Nixon is better suited for the Slot than he is on the outside. Unless Nixon get separation, he struggles against taller DB’s. Thoughts regarding Nixon? And, between those three Receivers, who do you think has the most receiving yards this Fall?For sure. Chev likes Tucker a lot. They have some of the same traits, and Chev likes that. Certainly he wants to call plays, but he's bought in to this system here.Brian - What do you think Chev would say behind closed doors meaning does he like Tuck or no? Yes, he had his play calling responsibility taken away but would Chev say the Buffs needed an injection of something?Really? I thought they were definitely fired up for it. I don't think the physicality was what we'll see later, but they're also still a work in progress and missing a lot of guys. I think it'll look different on game days.I was not impressed on Saturday. Even though we've heard so much about the improved physicality and competitiveness, I just didn't see it. I watched the battles in the trenches (as that's where you'd likely see the most physicality) and I didn't see guys selling out trying to destroy each other. As a whole, I thought the players looked tired and not particularly fired up for the scrimmage. P.S. are they ever going to do anything about that garbage sound system?I mentioned some a bit ago, but I think Tucker has come in and whipped these guys into shape - mentally and physically. He's cracked the whip and a bit and truly made this a "no excuses" program like he said. You hear that stuff all the time from coaches when they get hired, but we've truly seen it this spring. According to literally every player I've talked to, the workouts and intensity have been eye-opening.What are some of the major differences you're seeing thus far in the Tucker era than from the MacIntyre era?Possibly. I'm not sure if I've seen this team as focused and as bought in at this point of the year as I'm seeing right now. Tucker came in and clearly laid down the law right away, and guys are buying in. That said, he still hasn't coached a game, and that defense still has holes, and the OL still has a lot to prove, and the RBs still haven't done anything in games. So, there are plenty of questions.It seems like every spring is full of optimism. Is there greater reason to be optimistic this year than in the past?Thanks Ranie! It's off to a good start, for sure. there were good vibes early in the Embree and MacIntyre years, too, but I think there's a more solid foundation here, and I think Tucker is off to a better start than the previous two coaches. I also think he has a better staff than Embree and Mac started with.Got a good feeling about the Mel Tucker Era... That is all. Thanks again for doing these Brian!!A little of both. His upside is huge. From Day 1 of spring, I heard some people wonder if it was just a matter of time before he took over the lead role. I think CU has a good collection of RBs, though, and I'm still not sure we see one lead back. I think it's going to be by committee. Maybe Mangham leads that committee, but I think Fontenot and Smith get a lot of carries, too.Mangham looked great. Is he the answer to our RB situation or was he just facing 3rd team defense?I wouldn't assume Hambright has LT locked up. Coaches haven't even seen him yet, so let's not assume he'll walk in and take that spot. William Sherman has done a good job there and keeps getting better. That said ... I would put Sherman and Hambright at the two tackle spots. The rest of the line will be interesting and it depends a lot on where Tim Lynott ends up. He spent all spring at center, taking advantage of Colby Pursell being out. So, if Lynott winds up center, I think you could see Casey Roddick and Kary Kutsch at the guard spots. If Pursell is center, I'd put Roddick and Lynott at guardBrian - Who are your starters on Oline for CSWho? Assuming Hambright has LT locked up.What I hear in Jake is that he's still just trying to get healthy. He did not participate in spring at all after having another surgery. But, I've been told they expect him to be cleared this summer and hopefully ready to go for the fall. Problem is, he's lost a lot of weight and close to 270 now. He might still be able to help the Buffs this year, but he might need some time to bulk up again.Hi Brian. What is the word on Jake Moretti this spring? I keep hoping that he'll get healthier a be able to meet his obvious potential.Thanks dude!Thanks Brino -- you the man, dude!He's really hurt. He wasn't wearing a walking boot for fun. He missed the final week or so of spring. But, from what I hear, there's not much long-term concern.Brian - Is Mustafa Johnson really hurt or did he earn a pass for the Spring game?Wow, glad to have you in here today. Groovy! Defensive line clearly needs reinforcements and they should get that this summer. Mustafa Johnson should be healthy. Jaunta'vius Johnson from Auburn should be coming here. 5 others are coming in for the DL. So, I expect that group to be better. DBs, too. They played Saturday without Chris Miller, Aaron Maddox, Ronnie Blackmon, Mark Perry, etc.Brino-saurus, what's up my man? It's your favorite question-asker of the times, man, me -- the Spaceman! Yes I'm in this chat! Wow, dude. Really cool. Anyway, I wanted to ask you what position needs the biggest, like, reinforcement this summer from the juco groovy ranks or the high school groovy ranks? Any new player-to-be this summer/fall that hasn't suited up yet in particular that is a GROOOVY must be ready to go type? Thanks Brino --- stay groovy!!!Yes, Noyer had the better day. But, let's keep in mind Montez was throwing against the top defense, while Noyer was not. That helps. But, no question, Noyer was on point all day. He had a great day. Best I've seen him ever look at CU. Montez didn't have a great day and made some poor decisions, but I don't worry about him. I think he's still clearly the No. 1 and I think he has a big year.I wasn't at all impressed with the way Montez played Saturday. There were at least three occasions where he overthrew deep passes to wide open receivers. His bad habit of throwing to guys being covered by multiple defenders showed a few times, and a couple of picks. Noyer was definitely the better QB on Saturday.Possibly, but that position is going to be up for grabs in the fall. They've got two JUCO inside backers coming in this summer, and they brought those guys in for a reason. They believe they can compete right away. So, Van Diest certainly looked good on Saturday, but he's got to keep it up in the fall.Greetings, Brian. Besides feeling like all is not lost if Montez rolls an ankle or something, I thought Van Diest and Landman could make for quite a 1-2 punch on defense. Thoughts ?Welcome CU fans, to our weekly chat! Spring football is finally over and I'm sure you all have some observations after seeing the Buffs on the field Saturday.