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Getting To Know The Colorado Buffaloes

The fine folks over at Ralphie Report wanted to exchange a few questions in preparation for Saturday's game. Here are my questions that I sent over and they were answered by Bob Bell who is one of the site managers. 

Look for their questions I answered most likely tomorrow, and I'll provide a link for those. Now onto the questions.

1. The line opened up at 10 points, to me that seems a bit high for an 0-2 Colorado team? What are your initial thoughts on the large point spread?

People are agreeing with you. The line is already down to 7.5. I think this is a tough game to evaluate from Colorado State's standpoint as well. New Mexico and Northern Colorado certainly aren't Hawaii and California so strictly saying 2-0 vs 0-2 to set the line isn't the case here. I think Buff fans are feeling good going into this game considering the Buffs success last season against Colorado State and the fact that we saw improvement in week 2 against Cal compared to the Hawaii game. If the Buffs can convert in the redzone unlike last week where they scored no touchdowns on four attempts, this is a game Colorado can win by 10 points.

2. Colorado's passing offense seems to be much improved over last year, is it as simple as Tyler Hansen not having to worry about being pulled for Cody Hawkins who has graduated, or is there a new offensive philosophy under new head coach Jon Embree?

Three things are contributing to the strong passing game against Cal. Against Hawaii, CU and Tyler Hansen were average:

1) I think it has a lot to do with teams stacking the box and trying to stop Rodney Stewart from getting going on the ground. Cal wanted to put pressure up front and they were able to slow the CU running game. The Buffs did a solid job allowing Tyler Hansen time to throw the ball which paid dividends.

2) WR Paul Richardson is one of the best wide receivers in the Pac-12. He inflated a ton of those yards simply by being the best player on the field, turning five yard slant and out routes into touchdowns.

3) Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy did a solid job getting playmakers the ball in creative ways. Whether it was screen passes to Rodney Stewart or throwing the ball Richardson's way 16 times, he was dialing the right number often.

3. What will Colorado do to take advantage of Colorado State's loss of their top two defenders in LB Mychal Sisson and DT Broderick Sargent, or will the Buffaloes just stick to their normal game plan?

As Buff fans, we hope the CSU game can jump start the running game. Colorado is down potentially two starting tackles in LT David Bakhtiari and RT Jack Harris (definitely out) so similar to CSU, Colorado has some injuries to deal with. I don't think Colorado wants to become a one dimensional passing team so I look for Jon Embree and Eric Bieniemy to start with the running game early. If Colorado can do that, it should make for a big offensive day.

4. What matchup or position group do you feel that Colorado has the biggest advantage over Colorado State?
Based on last week, I like WR Paul Richardson against anyone in the country. He has shown going back to last year, he can get open and when he does get the ball, he knows what to do with it. Other than that, It is hard for me to label a positional group with a huge decided advantage. I like Colorado's defensive line and linebackers but I don't think they have been dominate as a group yet this year.

5. Who are key players that Colorado State should look out for?

WR Paul Richardson - Set a Colorado record with 284 yards receiving against California as well as two scores. He has over 300 yards receiving and four touchdowns for the year.
LB Doug Rippy - he has been all over the field the first two games and has led the Buffs with 21 tackles this season.
RB Rodney Stewart - hasn't gotten it going on the ground yet but still putting up over 100 yards a game in combined receiving and rushing yards.

6. Colorado State has struggled some on offense, what is Colorado's defensive game plan against Colorado State?

The priority will be to put pressure on QB Pete Thomas and force him into bad throws. In his first career start against Colorado last year, he threw three interceptions. Against UNC last week, he threw three interceptions. I think if Colorado can get to Thomas, they win this game. If CSU protects Thomas, Colorado doesn't have the most experienced secondary and many players who are moving from safety to cornerback so there is opportunity for CSU there. Obviously, whoever controls the line of scrimmage will probably be victorious.

7. What is your prediction, and toss in a final score for fun.

Colorado 27-19.

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