Latest Headlines Chat replay: CU Buffs beat writer Brian Howell discusses CU sports (July 29, 2019) Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) Chat replay: CU Buffs beat writer Brian Howell discusses CU sports (July 29, 2019) By Brian Howell | firstname.lastname@example.org | Boulder Daily CameraPUBLISHED: July 29, 2019 at 10:35 am | UPDATED: July 29, 2019 at 12:18 pmBuffzone.com beat writer Brian Howell takes questions and leads discussion about CU sports today at 11 am. MT. That'll do it for this week everybody. Great questions and conversation! We'll do this again next Monday to chat about the first few days of camp. Have a great week!No news yet, but hope to have some this week!Any news on Moretti?Last I checked, about a month ago, they were ahead of pace from last year, so going well!How are season ticket sales pacing vs last year?It's my understanding he still has to sit out this season.Can Dante Sparaco play this year since he is a walk on transfer?I don't think so. I don't see Leavitt having the quality control personality. He wants to be a lead dog.Do you see any scenario where Leavitt could be brought in in a Quality Control capacity under Tucker to give him additional resources? Or has that bridge been completely burned while Rick George is AD?Yes, I do think he has a good shot. He's right in the mix with Kary Kutsch for a starting spot at guard. He finished well in spring.You think Casey Roddick has a good chance at starting at left or right guard? At 330lbs, he’s a guy I think Tucker is hoping to win the job.I follow them, of course, but not like I used to when I was the beat writer. I'd be a bit surprised if they were preseason Top 25, but I think they'll get there at some point during the season.Not sure how involved you are with men’s basketball anymore, but wow this team is special! Could be ranked in the top 25 to start the season and many websites picking the buffs first in the pac 12 outright.Yes, it would be huge. Buffs start 2-0 with that win and you get some attention!Happy to see Nebraska being ranked 20th and having all this hype. Adds to the already amazing rivalry game. Would be huge for coach Tucker to beat a top 20 team in his 2nd game.I agree with that. I think there's enough depth to keep Johnson as a redshirt this year. He could wind up being very good, though.Thanks for the feedback, Brian. I forgot about Oats and Trujillo and they'll definitely have to play this year as backups. I hope Austin Johnson can redshirt because playing true frosh on the OL rarely ends up being a good idea. There are several OL who I think are good enough to fill out the two-deep this year without playing true frosh.CSU, Air Force and maybe Arizona. Those are the three "easiest" games, in my opinion. There are a ton of swing games, though - Nebraska, ASU, USC, UCLA, Stanford.Which games do you see as the “must Wins” for the Buffs to go to a Bowl game this year?Not really for this year. I know that in the future, they'd like to fix the sound system and get bigger video boards.Have you heard any rumblings regarding expected improvements for the game day experience for fans...other than more W’s?Top 5 that can't get hurt: 1. Montez; 2. Delrick Abrama/Chris Miller (either one); 3. Laviska; 4. Landman; 5. Davion Taylor. Top 3-4 to emerge: 1. Anyone at safety; 2. Jalen Sami; 3. Jon Van Diest (or someone else at ILB); 4. Anyone on the OLWho are the top five guys we can't afford to get hurt this season in order of importance/priority? Who are the 3-4 guys who really need to emerge this season for this season to be a winning one?Probably so!So a pretty small chance Leavitt comes in as an analyst?The problem with the preseason magazines is that they publish early. I actually wrote the CU preview for Athlon, and if you look at that magazine, you'll see Hasaan Hypolite as the "Rising Star" and you'll see Hypolite, Wigley, Ronnie Blackmon and Jaunta'vius Johnson on the two-deep. That's because I had to turn it in even before spring ball was over and those guys were on the team - or in the case of Johnson, planning to be on the team. So, no, I don't think the magazines mail it in, but they are hamstrung by the early deadlines.Do a lot of preseason magazines/prognosticators just search the Internet for 10 minutes and just "mail it in" when it gets to analyzing and making predictions about lower profile teams like Colorado? I've seen a couple, 1-2 of which you would think are decent media outlets, and they talk about Dante Wigley starting at CB and he left the team in May or cite other players who aren't on the team anymore.I saw the headline for it, but I have not read the details on that, sorry!Did you see today's AppleTV-Pac12 announcement? Does this partnership mean fans will be able to watch football and basketball games live via Apple TV that aren't on national TV or regionally on DirecTV?Landman or Mustafa Johnson. Those are the two top guys on defense, for sure, going into the season. If I had to pick one, I'd lean more to Landman, because he's in the middle of the D and calling things.Other than Laviska or Montez, who would you say is the Buffs preseason MVP?I know it's an easy answer, but the CSU game. I think the Rams are a 3-5 win team and a 3-5 win team in the Mountain West means you're not very good. If the Buffs roll past CSU, as they did last year and in 2016, that's a good sign that they are legit. If it's a close game, or they lose, I'd REALLY worry about this CU team. Secondary will get tested a bit against CSU and a bit more against Nebraska. The first really big test for the secondary, though, isn't until Arizona. Khalil Tate has a cannon and burned the Buffs on big passes last year. He's not the greatest thrower, but if he has a big day throwing the ball against this secondary (as he did last year), that'll be a problem.Which early game will tell us if this team is legit or not? Which early game will tell us if our secondary is going to be a liability or not?This is the best Utah team I've seen since they've joined the Pac-12, so it doesn't surprise me they were overwhelming favorites to win the South. Utah should be disappointed if they don't run away with the South this year. From afar, when I look at Utah, the key to building that program has been consistency with the head coach, Kyle Whittingham. He's had a LOT of turnover in coordinators, but the Whittingham program hasn't changed much. They have an identity. Everybody talks about CU trying to find an identity. The Buffs have had an "identity" in all the years I've covered them. But Utah ... they run the ball and they play good defense. EVERY YEAR. When you know what you are, you can recruit to that. Players looking at Utah know what they're getting into. At Colorado, you really don't.Interesting that Utah is picked to win the Pac-12 over the recent and historical power houses! If they can win in SLC, the Buffs should definitely be able to compete for Championships in Boulder! With that said, what do you think is the key to building that winning program at Utah?I think it's really hard to tell before games are played. There's a lot of excitement about Tucker and players are raving about the staff, but if you go back and look, there was excitement about MacIntyre, too. Tucker gets a lot of attention - and I've written it - for his "no excuses" mantra. MacIntyre said the exact same thing (and then proceeded to have years of excuses haha). There was a lot of excitement about Embree and his staff, too, because of all the NFL experience they had. Those are my three experiences with new staffs, and each one had excitement going into the first camp. What feels different here - in my opinion - is that the players seem a bit more bought in than the past two new coaches. Tucker also just seems like a winner, to me. Not that Embree and Mac were losers, but Tucker brings a different mentality to the table. Embree was excited to have the job, but didn't even have coordinator experience; I really liked Embree, but I don't think he had a solid idea of how to run a program at that point. Mac had experience turning around a program, but not a big-time program. Tucker's got a lot of coordinator experience, has been around a lot of great coaches and he's been in big-time programs that win. I just get a different vibe from him.What can you pick up on, if at all possible, in your years of experience, early in a new coaching regime, on whether a coaching staff seems like they have the "right stuff" to move the needle?In addition that group, DJ Oats and KJ Trujillo are true freshman corners, so they of course could see the field. There's a good chance one or both will play this year. I also wouldn't rule out seeing Austin Johnson. Coaches love what he's doing so far. Ideally he redshirts, but he's having a good offseason.Mangham and Perry for sure. I think those are potential starters. Mangham should at least be the No. 2 back. Perry, I would imagine, is a top 3 safety. Williams and Murray could see the field because someone in that group has to. there's just not enough bodies to keep all those freshman off the field. Luckett is a potential candidate to move to CB, but I see him playing CB only if injuries hit the top three (Abrams, Blackmon, Miller).Which true freshmen do you expect to get a lot of playing time this year? Jaren Mangham, Mark Perry, Austin Williams, and Lloyd Murray seem likely to play quite a bit and I think Tarik Luckett could move from WR to CB because there is very little depth in the secondary. Your thoughts from seeing some of them up close?The work ethic in this group is night and day different compared to that group two years ago. I don't worry about the hype getting to these guys.We had another top 5 or even top 3 preseason WR corps a couple years ago and they didn't deliver. Do you think there is any risk with this group that's getting a lot of attention doing the same or that under a Chiaverinni/Tucker coaching watch they will be better equipped to ensure those heads don't get too big?.No, Mac and Leavitt didn't have the best relationship. And, no Rick wasn't pleased that Leavitt left for Oregon. Mac and RG knew Leavitt was going to leave - the writing was on the wall that it was time for a split and Leavitt had other offers and CU wasn't going to come up with 7 figures to keep him. He was about to head to an SEC school and CU knew about that. He then last minute got the Oregon offer and bolted for the Ducks.Do you have any insight in the departure of Leavitt? My understanding is that he and Mac did not have the best relationship, but I was surprised to hear that RG was upset he left the way he did per the Denver Post interview.I'm fine with 10 a.m. kickoffs to get done with the day earlier! I think attendance will be more impacted by the opponent. If it's Texas State at 10 a.m., crowd probably isn't big. But it could be Texas State at 2 p.m. and the crowd isn't big. If it's mid-October and Arizona is here and both schools are, say, 4-2, 5-1, then I think the people show up. This year, the Buffs are playing Air Force at 11 a.m.; not quite 10 a.m., but I think you can look at that crowd and get a good idea of what it would be like for 10 a.m. I would anticipate a good crowd for AFA.What’s your take on the Pac-12 exploring 10am MT Kickoffs? How do you think it affects attendance specifically at Folsom if they move forward with implementing?They've got 15 commitments so far, and they probably won't have too many more. Barring some postseason attrition, I don't think we'll see this as a full class. But, one guy to keep an eye on is Jemaurian Jones, a junior college DB who was a four-star recruit. He's getting a lot of attention from schools.What are some recruits you think HCMT has best shot at landing for the class of 2020No, I don't think it has anything to do with any one player. I think it's just the way Tucker wants to do things - at least for this first year. My guess is that Montez would have been voted a captain on this year's team had they done it traditionally.Do you think the weekly captain vote is a ploy by Mel to motivate Montez? Perhaps he knew he wouldn't win the captain vote again and thought it was important to give him time to win the team over and do some leadership coaching?I haven't yet. when I met with him last month, I didn't think to ask that, and I haven't been around him much this month. But, I agree, it's an interesting way to do itHave you had a chance to talk to Coach Tucker yet about his philosophy and approach to naming Captains? I realize they plan on alternating Captains each week. However, I just don’t understand the rationale for waiting until the end of the season to name Captains? Why not just name Captains prior to the first game?Not totally. They could bring someone in as a blue shirt. I would say it's unlikely, but there's always a chance they could do that.Has the ship sailed on bringing in another transfer/JUCO player for the secondary for this season?I'm not exactly sure what the additional duties would be, if any. I doubt there would be a pay bump, though. If there was, they might have to run that contract by the regents again.What does Assistant Head Coach actually mean? What additional duties and responsibilities are expected from Chev? Is there a pay bump?No, I don't think he'll be a de facto DC. I think he'll let Summers coach. Tucker will be hands on, but he also wants his coaches to coach. I do think he'll be more hands-on with the DBs, especially the corners, but he's got a lot on his plate as a first-time head coach. As for recruiting, 9 of the 15 commits for the 2020 class are on defense so far.Do you see Mel being more "hands on" with the defense given his background and relative inexperience of the staff? If he the de facto DC? Also it seems like defensive recruiting has lagged behind the offense a bit, though I know it's only July...I don't pay too much attention to star ratings, and I don't think coaches do either. Some might, but Tucker doesn't strike me as someone who does. Of course, there are some unheralded guys in there, but they've got some really good players on this commitment list, between Fauria, Grant, Lewis, Parker, Wray, etc. And, yes, I do think every assistant will be held accountable for recruiting. It's hard to judge all of them right now based on that list, however. For example, you look at the commitment list and don't see any RBs, so you could argue Hagan isn't doing much. But, honestly, that's a product of CU not targeting RBs for the 2020 class. It's possible they don't sign any this cycle.Everyone seems excited about the current recruiting class but the average per player really isn't that great. Do you think Coach Tucker will hold every assistant coach accountable for recruiting well? So far it seems like a few of the assistants aren't doing much of anything on the recruiting trail.As far as I know - based on the numbers I keep - they are at 83. I would imagine they'll give a them to walk-ons. Price could be a candidate again. Lucas Cooper or Jack Shutack could be candidates, as well.Are the Buffs currently at 83:scholarships? What do you think they will most likely do with the remaining two? Give one to Davis Price (kinda hard not to if he handles all kickoff duties)? Who else would be on the short list for receiving a scholarship?I do think Sami wins the NT job - but I say that haven't not yet seen any of the newcomers. Let's just say this: If Sami does NOT win the starting job, I think CU is in really good shape there because it means they've got multiple guys who can play there. I had one of the outgoing assistants last year tell me he thinks Sami could be as good this year as Javier Edwards was last year as a senior - and I thought Edwards was really good. If Sami is close to that, I love the potential starting group of Sami, Johnson and Lang. There are just so many unknowns with that group.You think Jalen Sami wins starting nose tackle? My goodness he looks the part at 6”6 320lbs! Could be a 4 year starter if he lives up to hype. Also like all the young guys Tucker brought in with Janaz Jordan, Williams, and Murray. Mustafa and Lang at ends has me excited too. Defensive line is key to winning!I was surprised by that, in part because of the timing, and in part because he and Mel have never worked together until December. But, I think it's clear that Chev has a major impact in recruiting. Also, if you were to ask most Buff fans what has been the most consistently good position group in the team the past 3 years, you'd probably say receiver, and that's a credit to him.How about Chev getting promoted to Assistant Head Coach... Do you think this is primarily recognition for the role and contributions he makes around recruiting?We haven't talked about it yet, but I think we will. He's been a busy with getting married this summer, but I'm sure we will. I don't know if we'll do every practice, but I would guess we will do them frequently. I'm glad you enjoy them! We were surprised how many views they got when we started doing them.Are you and Adam planning on doing your post practice video’s during Fall Camp? Really enjoy them and think the two of you are insightful and compliment each other well.As of right now, the only practice can watch is on Saturday, and I don't think that will change. It's an interesting question you bring up, because you'd think the NFL could have tighter gates on practice, but it's the opposite. During the season, I don't think many practices are open. Years ago, I covered the Broncos, and after camp, we could watch the first 20 minutes of practice (basically stretching, but it allowed you to see who was healthy or not) and then they'd bring us back for the last couple of minutes. One difference is that the NFL has a mandatory injury report. College doesn't have that, and therefore if you lock it down, nobody knows that Laviska Shenault, for example, for sure won't play - as opposed to everything thinking he's day to day.Hi Brian, will the Media have access to watching any practices other than the practice open to the public on Saturday? What’s your take regarding the rationale that NFL teams open up Preseason practices for the public to watch, but many college programs don’t permit the same fan access? I realize not many fans actually attend, but at least open up practices to trusted Media with specific requirements as to what can and can not be reported...To add to that, keep an eye on a 2021 player, Billy Bowman, an athlete from Denton, Tex.. He's committing on Wednesday, and CU has been on him.I'm not sure if another one is coming or not. But, yes, this class is looking pretty solid so far!Just saw a comment on twitter by Keith Miller. You think it means we just another commit? Loving the recruiting class so far!I'll be here until Noon to take your questions and discuss the Buffs. Not just limited to football, of course, but football is what's mainly on my radar.Welcome CU fans! I hope you had a great weekend. It's football week! Well, football practice week. The Buffs get rolling on Thursday. Hard to believe summer is just about over!