Here is another Q&A session from SB Nation's Colorado site Ralphie Report here is their post from a few questions I answered that are on their site. Also, make sure to check out SB Nation Denver for more coverage of this game.
1. How crushing was last years loss to your perceived lesser rival?
a. Man, way to ruin my optimistic point of view going into 2010 with the whole "perceived" comment! The loss to CSU was the first of many knockout punches sustained in 2009, followed shortly thereafter by a beat down on national TV against Toledo. It was certainly a crushing loss and I believe set the tone for the whole season. Right now, this is a fragile team where if they win against Colorado State on Saturday, then I think they can get some confidence and potentially make some noise. If they lose again, I can see this year going down the tubes very, very quickly. Hawaii isn't a slam dunk win, Cal and Georgia are losses on most people's preseason predictions and then you have Missouri, who the Buffs are horrid against. It could be a rough season with a loss to Colorado State.
2. What is the strength of this team?
a. Can I tell you after the Colorado State game because the preseason predictions on CU's strength always seem wrong? Last year, the strength was supposed to be the offensive line and it certainly wasn't. Back to that "perceived" word. The perception is wide receiver will be improved from last year with the additions of USC transfer Travon Patterson, true freshman Paul Richardson (former UCLA commit that was a late addition to the team) and transfer Toney Clemons from Michigan. All add speed to the offense, something it was lacking a year ago. Add those players to Mr. Consistent in Scotty McKnight and I think you will see improvement there, even with the loss of Markques Simas in the offseason. On defense, it would be the cornerback position with Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith. Both have a shot at the NFL, with Smith a little bit better of a shot due to his size but Jalil might be the best cover corner on the team. IF, a big if, Colorado can get some consistency and continuity from the center, left guard and right tackle, the offensive line could be top notch. RG Ryan Miller and LT Nate Solder are preseason All Big 12 picks with Solder potentially being a first round selection in next year's draft.
3. Is the quarterback situation going to stay firm with Tyler Hanson as the named starter?
a. No one knows this except Dan Hawkins. Last year they weren't going to burn Hansen's redshirt, he wasn't supposed to play but he did. I think Hansen is in a solid spot now as starter but again, a loss to Colorado State and a tough non-conference schedule ahead could lead to anything. Hansen certainly has a lot to prove, like almost everyone on the roster, that they are worthy of starting. Hansen, statistically, hasn't been really any better than Cody Hawkins when he has gotten the opportunity. Should be a different story now that Hansen is receiving first team reps all the time in practice and isn't being called on in the middle of games to make something happen. Hopefully, Hansen having an offseason prepared to be the number one quarterback will pay dividends for the offense.
4. What does Colorado have to do to win this game?
a. Three things - Win the battle at the line of scrimmage, start quick & get solid special teams play. Everyone knows Colorado State is replacing many starters on the offensive line and everyone knows Colorado State has a very solid front seven on defense. So in my mind it will be about Colorado's offensive line raising their level of play to manage LB Sisson and Brewer as well as the defensive line making an impact on true freshman QB Pete Thomas. Whoever wins the battle up front will win the game. Most of the time, that is a matter of "want to" and last year, Colorado State wanted it more than Colorado which led to a Buffs' loss.
Dan Hawkins better have the Buffs approach this game like it's their Super Bowl because we know Colorado State will come out confident from last year and knowing they can beat the Buffs. Like I said, a bad start could shake this fragile Buffs' team and if CSU gets out 10 - 0 or 14 - 0 lead, I don't know if Colorado will respond.
5. I think I asked this last year, but what will it for Dan Hawkins to not make it through the season?
a. He will make it through the entire season. I doubt anything would change that. He may get his notice in the final weeks of the year if the Buffs falter but I don't necessarily think an interim coach will change the success of the team after the second week of the season. Your guess is as good as mine regarding the magic win total that the Buffs must hit to retain Hawkins another year.