2009 Colorado Buffaloes Football Preview
2008 Record: (5-7, 2-6)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Dan Hawkins (13-24 at Colorado, 99-40-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mark Helfrich
Defensive Coordinator: Ron Collins
Other Key Returnees: CB Jalil Brown, OT Bryce Givens, G Ryan Miller, S Anthony Perkins, RB Darrell Scott, CB Jimmy Smith, WR Josh Smith, OT Nate Solder
Key Losses: S D.J. Dykes, DT George Hypolite, LB Brad Jones, DE Maurice Lucas, CB Gardner McKay, DT Brandon Nicolas, C Daniel Sanders, S Ryan Walters, WR Patrick Williams
Colorado was decimated by injuries last year, so the Buffalo faithful should understand why their team finished 5-7 and missed out on a bowl game. Year three under Coach Dan Hawkins did not go as planned at all, but hopes are much higher for year four and, if everybody can stay healthy, Colorado could be a contender in the Big 12 North.
While the rest of the Big 12 was putting up huge numbers offensively, Colorado was lingering behind and struggling to score points. With just about everybody returning to the offense, the Buffaloes could be right up there with the rest of the conference in terms of offensive output. Quarterback Cody Hawkins is once again feeling heat from Tyler Hansen. Hawkins took a majority of the snaps in 2008, but Hansen was always looking right over his shoulder. That situation has not changed in the spring of 2009 and it is possible that there could be a two quarterback system in the fall. With Scotty McKnight and Josh Smith back to catch passes, both quarterbacks could be very successful. Having Rodney Stewart and Darrell Scott in the backfield will help as well.
But all the talent in the world will not make the offense any better if the line cannot give them time and space to operate. The entire starting line returns except center Daniel Sanders, but it remains to be seen if that is a good thing or not. Last year’s group was so young that a year of experience could be huge and getting a couple guys like Mike Iltis back from injury will help, but how much of a difference will it really make? The defense did pretty well all things considered, but most of the front line needs to be replaced and if the group fails to get any pressure on the quarterback than the secondary, led by corner Cha’Pelle Brown, will not have the conference’s best pass defense again. The good news is corners Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith are also back, but if players like Marquez Herrod, Conrad Obi and Lagrone Shields cannot get into the backfield, the secondary will have a much tougher time this year than they did last year.
The Bottom Line for the Buffaloes:
Generally it is the third year in the new coaching regime where things start to turn around. That did not happen in 2008, but the Buffaloes and Coach Hawkins have plenty of excuses for the lack of success. The excuses should run out this year and anything but a bowl game will be considered a big disappointment. The schedule is never easy in the Big 12, but this is a group that should be able to pull off an upset or two…now they just have to win the games they are supposed to win.
By Joel Welser
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