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September 12, 2013

A glimpse at the Colorado Buffaloes

The Fresno State Bulldogs travel to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes this weekend. We talked to BuffStampede.com publisher Adam Munsterteiger to find out more about this Pac-12 program on the rise.

1. It is hard to avoid the "Revenge" factor in this game. What have the players/coaches said about that?

Adam: Mike MacIntyre said he knows his team will have last season's 69-14 loss to Fresno State in the back of their collective mind, but he does not want to it to be a "revenge game." He feels anger is never a good emotion going into a game. But MacIntyre did say last year's result gives his team a lot of respect for Fresno State so that is the type of motivation he wants them to have on Saturday.

Quarterback Connor Wood said Fresno State had a great game plan against them last year but CU has a new coaching staff and new personnel in a lot of spots, so he feels they are a much different team than they were a year ago.

2. Last season Buffalo players appeared to give up, contributing to the lopsided score. Has that been addressed and used as motivation for this game?

Adam: Colorado appeared to give up in quite a few games last year. They finished No. 124 out of 124 FBS programs in scoring margin. Rock bottom. That is why they decided to fire Jon Embree after just two seasons. Obviously the new staff can't really address that, as MacIntyre and seven of his assistants were at San Jose State last year. And the last time they faced the Bulldogs, in 2011, they won. Obviously CU's players don't want to get embarrassed like they did a year ago, especially on their home turf.

3. How has Paul Richardson adjusted to the new staff/system and how is he doing?

Adam: Richardson has caught 21 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns, 122 more receiving yards than any other player at the FBS level, so it is safe to say he has adjusted well to the new staff/scheme and is doing well. His stats through two games would equal a good season for a lot of receivers. The new staff has done of good job of moving Richardson around, finding ways to get him open, because obviously opposing teams are keying on him. Richardson was actually back to full health midway through last season but decided to redshirt for precautionary reasons, and let's be honest, there was no helping last year's team. Aside from one Saturday in Pullman, it was a disaster from start to finish.

4. In general what have been the positives/negatives of the offense so far?

Adam: The positives would be Richardson and the passing game. Colorado ranks No. 8 nationally in passing offense. Connor Wood's play at quarterback has not been perfect but overall pretty darn good. He is known for making mistakes under pressure but the new staff has instilled a lot of confidence in him. The running attack has left a lot to be desired and that has more to do with the play of the offensive line than the talent at running back. The Buffs' offensive linemen have struggled to get a good push up front.

5. Colorado really struggled on defense last season, how has the new system been on that side of the ball?

Adam: Colorado's defense really won their last game against Central Arkansas. Not only did the Buffs' defenders force four turnovers, they also scored two touchdowns. Greg Henderson scored defensive touchdowns in back-to-back games to open the season. Fellow cornerback Kenneth Crawley has also improved drastically after being much maligned as a true freshman last season. Now I will say, Central Arkansas quarterback Wynrick Smothers missed a lot of throws last Saturday, throws that Derek Carr will certainly make so I do expect the Bulldogs to have a big day through the air on Saturday. CU has a decent front seven, led by senior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe and linebacker Derrick Webb. True freshman Addison Gillam has also been surprisingly good at middle linebacker. However, this is a group that has not been truly tested yet.

6. How is the Colorado kicking game?

Adam: CU place kicker Will Oliver only attempted eight field-goals all of last season, and he made six of those. This year he is five-for-six, including three from beyond 40-yards. Now in terms of kickoff coverage, CU needs to improve immensely. The Buffs have given up 320 yards on nine kickoff returns by opponents early on this season.

7. How big of an advantage will it be for Colorado to play this one in Boulder?

Adam: It is a an advantage simply because it is a home game but ticket sales have not been overwhelming for this Saturday's contest. In fact, ticket sales have been rather poor so it won't be a ruckus atmosphere like a lot of the Colorado teams have enjoyed in the past.

8. It looks like both teams run up-tempo offenses and like to get in as many plays as possible. Do you think the altitude could give Colorado an advantage because of the sheer number of plays that will be run?

Adam: The altitude factor is usually overanalyzed in my opinion. Playing at more than a mile high does affect everybody differently but is not usually the reason Colorado wins or loses a football game. The Buffs do run a no-huddle offense, allowing them to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage, but it is not a hurry up offense so unless they turn up the pace this week, it shouldn't be much of a factor.

9. Any score predictions?

Adam: I expect Fresno State to win by double digits, but I have not made a final prediction yet. I expect both teams to score a healthy amount of points, though.

Adam Munsterteiger is the publisher of BuffStampede.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @adamcm777.


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