SportsFootball Chat replay: CU Buffs beat writer Brian Howell (Oct. 28, 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 (Oct. 28, 2019) By Brian Howell | firstname.lastname@example.org | Boulder Daily CameraPUBLISHED: October 28, 2019 at 1:14 pm | UPDATED: October 28, 2019 at 6:39 pmBuffzone.com beat writer Brian Howell takes your questions and leads discussion about CU sports today at 2 p.m. MT. That will do it for this week everybody! Thanks for the great comments and questions. Clearly, we all want the Buffs to run the ball in the fourth quarter with a lead! ha! Have a great week!They are limited to 25, but the Buffs will be fine. They don't have a large senior class.Are teams limited to a maximum recruiting class size of 25 scholarship players? I assume that includes high school, JUCO, transfers? If that is the case, it seems like going into next season, the Buffs could be below the 85 scholarship limit due to graduations and attrition. The team has lots of holes to fill and being limited to 25 new players could be a challenge.Haven't heard on him, but I think he's got a ways to go. Right now, I think he's a borderline draft pick.What do scout say about Landman, if anything? He sure looks like a pro to me, but I keep hearing about his pass defense being subparMy top 4 right now are Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State, but I don't think two SEC teams will get in. I think it'll be Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and ... Oregon.Who are your four for the college football playoff?Depends on how healthy the teams are. UCLA's QB was banged up at the end of the game last week. It'll help CU if he doesn't play. CU's got to stop the run. Do that and they can win.What's your prediction for UCLA game? As seems to be our luck, we're hitting a team right when they seem to be getting it together. What are the weaknesses we'll have to exploit to win?I think Tucker is a very smart football guy; one of the smartest I've been around. Yes, he's a defensive guy throughout his career, but he almost went to college to play QB. He understands and appreciates offense.I'm going to be beat the dead horse with a stick one more time and then I'll let it go. Can a defensive-minded coach be flexible and enough of a realist to win with a team that has to rely on offense to win? Can Tucker step away from the tough D/make stops when needed defense he PLANS to build and the one he has now and recognize that until you have the manpower you have to go all in with your strength; offense.That's my final rhetorical question and shot at the HC's decision-making in this game. Fans are annoyed that the coach didn't seem to understand how to play to win in this one. Frustrating to lose to the U of Spoiled Children and with a potential turnaround win in the balance, no less, potentially.Yes I like the chances to win this week. UCLA is still very young team that's very capable of playing poorly. they're two weeks removed from a blowout loss at home to Oregon StateBoth UCLA and Stanford won this past weekend, may be tougher games than we were expecting. Hmm. Bowl chances are diminishing... Line has UCLA -5.5. UCLA seems to be improving with B2B wins. Do you like our chances?And, yet, if you really watch it, the play calls often aren't that bad. People often see a play that doesn't work and blame the play caller. Often, it's poor execution.Nobody liked Chiaverini's play calling at the end of last, and don't like Johnsons play calling now. Not a coaching position very popular to the fansStenstrom's time will come (maybe) at a later date.It was too bad Montez remembered he was a QB after that hit. Would have loved to see Stenstrom continue after that run.I agree with you completely. No, he's not great, but he's been really good for CU.We are extremely lucky we have a QB as good as Montez. He may not be an elite QB but he has been damn good for us. He impresses me as a mature and smart man besides having a cannon arm. His answer about being criticized as part of being a QB shows the maturity he learned from his coaches and probably from attending Peyton Manning’s QB Academy. We will surely miss him next year.I didn't talk to the scouts this week, but no, Mustafa is not a first rounder. I saw that somewhere earlier this year, but that's not happening. He doesn't have the size to go first round. I would imagine he'll be back next year and be a mid-round pick in 2021. Shenault, I still think he's late first to second round. There's a lot of good WRs this year, though, and the others are playing and dominating every week.Is Mustafa pretty much healthy now? Did you talk to any of the scouts at the game. Is he really a potential first round pick? If you spoke with the scouts what is the sentiment on Shenault and where he might go given he's been hurt a lot but just put on a great show against one of the more talented and athletic defenses around?It's a healthier culture for one. Two, recruiting takes time, but we're seeing some of Tucker's guys already on the field and learning and playing well. Is it totally obvious right now? No, but I think signs are there.How are we getting better and moving in the right direction? I keep hearing that line, but I don't see any evidence. We're likely to end up the year with fewer wins, bigger blowout losses, worse statistics, still a mediocre-at-best recruiting class, more player attrition, etc. Please help me see the light!!Very true. It's the biggest difference between CU and the elite Pac-12 teams.Unless Tucker can significantly improve recruiting, CU will always be less competitive as the season wears on due to injuries and lack of depth. Other teams in the PAC 12 have 4 and 5 star recruits, which we have trouble getting, backed up by other 4 and 5 star recruits, meaning they really have next man up. Not so with CU, early in the season we can be competitive but as the season progresses injuries make us less competitive. We are seeing this happen before our eyes last year and this year.I saw the article. It wasn't an NFL scout. it was a guy from a scouting service. It didn't make sense to me. Laviska is still viewed as a first or second (at worst) round pick. But, this guy would advise him to spend another in college, where he could get another injury, while also having to adjust to a new QB? Doesn't make sense.I saw an article this weekend where one NFL scout suggested Viska should stay in school another year because of questions resulting from his injuries. As a layperson, it seems to me that, given the injury potential involved in football, staying in school another year seems really risky. How far would Viska's stock have to fall for it to make financial sense for him to stay in school? Is this a realistic possibility?Well, they ran it earlier in the game. I don't think they're afraid to run it. Some situations don't call for it, though.Are they afraid to run the wildcat due to Sheanault being hurt? Or they just don't like it. Seems like so many opportunities both in the redzone and even the 3rd and short play prior the punt with 6 plus minutes left.Again, Jalen Harris has a motion penalty at a critical time in the game. What gives, considering he is a fifth year player?Hey all, if you haven't asked a question at this point, I'm going to have to cut you off. I've got a bunch to get to in a short amount of time.Sorry! Technical difficulties for a bit ... It was actually a holding penalty on Harris. If he doesn't hold, the play does't go anywhere. But, he's clearly had some big mistakes in recent weeksNot necessarily. I think the LB made a good play. if Montez looks at Brown, the LB stays home and is there to make a play.I still question Montez's field vision and decision-making. He did play very well and didn't throw any INTs, and on that third and four play near the end Tony Brown dropped a decent pass, however, on the fourth and four he threw to the out back parallel to the line of scrimmage and didn't even see or try to throw to two receivers who ran short curls past the first down. He just doesn't seem to see open receivers consistently and/or panics because he thinks he's about to get hit or something. Don't you think he should have gone to one of the receivers open and past the first down marker on that 4th down?You could be right, but so much changes during an offseason. (I'd bet Mustafa is here, by the way). Teams lose key players all the time. ASU loses Benjamin, Arizona loses Tate, Washington, Oregon and Stanford are likely to lose their QBs. They're all losing key players. For CU, two OL graduate, but they'll have a lot of experience back. Russell is back. All the RBs are back. the WRs are stacked. The entire front seven, outside of Taylor, is back, and I think Perry replaces Taylor and becomes really good. The corners will be deeper and ideally better with Miller, Blackmon, Trujillo, Luckett, etc. So, there are positives, too.Next year looks daunting as we don’t have any clue about our QB situation. We will lose some of the best players we have including Shenault, Montez, Brown, Lynott, Abrams, Onu, Taylor, maybe even Mustafa, and Kinney. Also, Hambright and Tchengan. Next year’s schedule looks tougher than this year, with at CSU, Fresno State, and at Texas A&M before we start conference play against the same teams we play this year. We could easily have a worse record next year. So, we shouldn’t expect a turnaround next year unless we get some good transfers.Fair points, but I still think it's unfair to diagnose someone from the stands or the couch. I don't know for a fact that Montez was fine. I don't know that he wasn't. But, I know that CU tested him and I know CU has state of the art concussion testing, and they felt he was OK to continue.I respectfully disagree Brian. Montez was not ok after that hit. I don't blame him for trying - it's not his job to clear himself from a concussion. If you listen to his words and watch his play after the hit the evidence is there. He turned the wrong way for a handoff twice. Maybe that's why they didn't run the ball - couldn't remember which way to turn. His throws were way off target too. As a medical professional with experience in clearing high school students for return to play I would say that it was cavalier at minimum to put him back. An abundance of caution is the rule for head injuries.Fans are passionate either way! ... I would not be surprised if they will look for a QB in the portal.Brian did you enjoy the chats after the first two games of the year more than the chats now, LOL? Do you or Adam get any indication that CU is in the market for a grad transfer at QB next year?It was actually 5 yards on 2 carries.CU's RB's ran for 9 yards on 3 carries in the 4th quarter. That's astonishing..I've given my thoughts quite a bit already during the chat on this - and in my Monday Rewind that posted a little bit ago.If you're the coach of CU, playing a perennial power at home that you've never beaten, and your season could very well be on the line as you've lost three straight and been blow out twice, WHY so conservative? Punting twice inside the 40? Why so timid? What is Tucker protecting by not pulling out more of the stops to put away USC and win? Fake FG, surprise onside kick, go for it on 4th...even if you fail at least you've laid it all out there. Is he afraid he's risking a title shot by taking chances?? What are your thoughts?Of course I've looked at it. The data often lines up, although UCLA was traditionally very high in the rankings and didn't perform, while WSU and Utah traditionally are bottom half of the league and typically finish near the top. For CU to make a significant improvement, they've got to win games, though.Brian, absolutely love that you are a stats/data guy and the analysis that you often share in your tweets and articles. My hypothesis is that there is a VERY strong correlation between recruiting class rankings over the past 4-5 years and where teams finish within the conference, Of course there are outliers such as 2016. But look at where the Buffs have finished since joining the Pac-12 each year, and there recruiting class rankings. Is this something you have looked at? And, other than “winning more games”, do you believe Tucker and his staff can significantly increase they quality of recruits they sign in the next 2-3 years?Oh yeah. I glossed over that and saw one as a run.Three in a row right here:2nd & 8 at COLO 37(7:29 - 4th) Steven Montez pass incomplete to K.D. Nixon3rd & 8 at COLO 37(7:22 - 4th) Steven Montez pass complete to Tony Brown for 19 yds to the USC 44 for a 1ST down1st & 10 at USC 44(7:09 - 4th) Steven Montez pass incomplete to Tony BrownMaybe, but you're assuming the mistake was made by Montez and not the true freshman RB. could have been Mangham lining up the wrong side or going the wrong way.We don't know. When Montez turned the wrong way on play fakes two plays in a row, don't you think that might have warranted some additional observation?I'm sensing a theme in the frustration.For the most part, I thought the OC called a really good game and mixed things up nicely and we moved the ball pretty well. What I can't believe I saw, once again, was a third and relatively short four yards to go inside the USC 40 and we throw a long sideline timing route that Montez hasn't connected on with a receiver in ages, instead of a quick slant to Shenault or another WR. WHY do we think we can surprise defenses with that throw, which we also tried against another team on third and 2 (can't remember who) and it failed as well and we didn't get a key first down. Then we punt instead of going for it?That's a long field goal for a guy who has never made one that long in a game. I had no problem not kicking a field goal there.Why did Tucker not trust Stefanou's leg on those two fourth downs inside the 40? They would have been around 52-55 yard attempts, I believe. The previous week Stefanou barely missed by about a yard short on a 52 yard kick in cold and rain at WSU.totally agree. I wrote about it in my Monday Rewind today. He talks about running the ball on their terms and said they did that against USC. He's right. So, why change the terms?! Why not keep doing it? I have no idea why they went away from it.Yes, entirely! Given how the defense was so completely overmatched in terms of talent, they actually played lights out (yes, I know that's tough to say when you give up 35 points...). Tucker wants to talk about being relentless and physical and winning the 4th quarter - what does that better than imposing your will by running the ball and bleeding the clock?I'm as confused as you are. The run game was working all night long. Mangham never touched the ball in the fourth, and fontenot barely more than that.OK, I looked it up.. Last 11 plays were all in Montez's hands. They had run the ball for almost 200 yards up to that point. How in the heck did they stop running the ball last in the game???I agree with you. However, I'll also say that CU's defense played very well much of that game, and Tucker probably expected them to do it again when it mattered. But, I agree - go for the win on offense. I'd rather have the game in the hands of the offense.I felt like Tucker coached as if the players in the Buffs uniforms were elite Georgia players on defense. By now he should clearly know that the only way we can win games is to score a lot of points, not with our defense. Yet on two fourth and 3 and 4 yard downs, respectively, inside USC's 40, he super conservatively punts instead of going for it or trying long field goals, somehow thinking that, while our D was playing pretty well, that he could rely on them to stop a perennial top offense. That is so illogical and myopic to me. Does he know that he does NOT have an elite defense but one that is riddled with injuries, filled with inexperienced players and has been giving up over 30 points a game????! What is your take?I think it's an OK offensive line, but not great. Next year, I would guess Sherman moves back to left, with Frank Fillip at RT.With the exception of the penalties, which are huge, do you feel like this is a solid Pac 12 offensive line? This team is scoring around 30 points each week and largely due to the play of the line. Teams that score 30 points a game should win most weeks. Also, any idea who will replace Hambright next year?Maybe, but I think USC's defense stepped up late, CU's defense did not, and the play-calling at times didn't help.Montez just wasn't the same after the last hit. Seems like the head injury had an affect on his gameThey pay for him the rest of this semester, but I think that's it. And, yes, he will likely have to sit out next year unless he goes FCS.Can you explain how the Transfer Portal works for a guy like Maddox. Given that he basically quit, does he keep his scholarship for the balance of this semester? What about next semester if he is still at CU? And, if he has not graduated, I assume he would likely need to sit out next year if he transfers to an FBS school? Thanks!I think it's unrealistic for anyone - including Mel and Rick - to expect things to change dramatically in one year. The same things are happening in part because you have a lot of the same players. And, they are filling holes with freshmen and guys who haven't been here long. No question its frustrating. But, it'll take some timeWith the loss to USC, CU is looking like a 3-9 or 4-8 team, 5-7 at best. I doubt this was what Rick George expected when he hired Mel Tucker as I remember him saying this team could win right away. I don’t really see a noticeable improvement from last year based on game results and game performances. This year, we were going to be relentless, in better condition than the opponents, we would wear them down in the 4th quarter and impose our will. Actions taken in the 4th quarter of the USC game by the coaches tell me belief in the rhetoric is weak. USC’s defense had been on the field a long time. They should have been worn down by the 4th quarter. So, what do we do? Instead of using our running game which had been very effective to impose our will, the coaches call the following plays: On 2 1st downs, long home run passes that weren’t close, each incompletion leaving us with 2nd and 10. Passing on 3rd and 4 when we were in 4 down territory? Then, instead of trying to win with our strength, offense, we punt and hope our defense, not a strength, can stop USC to win the game or not lose (giving up only a FG). Besides this, 13 penalties for 109 yards after supposedly coaching hard to fix this. The same kinds of mistakes that beat us last year are happening again this year. When we win in the 4th quarter it is because we are in better condition and relentless. When we lose in the 4th quarter, it is because the other team made more plays. Sounds like excuses, after all USC was playing at our place at altitude and scored 14 points to our 0 in the 4th quarter. To be fair, Montez was not right after that late hit, he turned the wrong way on a handoff. I think if he was 100%, we might win the game.At the end it was questionable. But, I thought the end of the Arizona game was just as bad.Is the honeymoon officially over for Tucker? I have a lot of faith in him, but this was the most questionable game coaching decision-wise so far in my mind. Do you agree?Possibly. USC made some adjustments, too, and that helped the Trojans stop the CU offenseI've been hard on Montez and his inconsistency, but I thought he played a great game until he got knocked out. When he came back, he obviously wasn't right. Too bad they didn't keep him out. That probably would have forced the OC to do what he should have and run, run, run, then run again that whole 4th quarter.KNEW it, or guessed it? CU's concussion testing is top notch and I trust the doctors in that situation.Is CU going to replace it's medical staff. Everyone in the stadium, the announcers and everyone on Twitter knew Montez had concussionThey never really quit running (and there was never a point in the fourth where they threw 3 times in a row), but they didn't commit to the run like they should have. there were a couple plays where there was clearly miscommunication between Montez and the RB and he wound up throwing one of those. But I was surprised they didn't use Fontenot and Mangham repeatedly in that situation.