This week we get back into the cross blogging Q&A swing of things with a Q&A from the Colorado Buffalo blog here at SB Nation, "The Ralphie Report".
This week we're joined by David A Gehrhardt and Ash Jackson from the Ralphie Report as they weigh in on a few questions pertaining to this weekend's contest.
If you're interested in what I had to say you can check out my responses to their questions here.
1. What's keeping CU from putting the pieces together. I keep an eye on them being that I'm local in Denver and they seem to have a decent base of talent, the defense looks athletic, but obviously it's not producing enough in the W column. Thoughts?
David: Coaching. We've seen the talent levels increase a bit, but that hasn't shown on the field. It starts with the schemes and the playcalling. Hawkins was good at Boise State where the staff was already in place, but he didn't build a very good one here. It's one of the biggest reasons why he has failed here at CU.
Our coordinators are stubborn in their schemes and when they call plays. Our Special Teams are preposterously bad. You'll notice I have yet to mention players, and that's because it's not their faults. They aren't put into positions to succeed, at least not consistently.
We have some talented players (but recruiting has also been less-than-stellar over the past five years) but they aren't able to showcase their abilities. Since the game isn't televised, only those at the game will be able to play along, but I would suggest keeping count of the following things: Offensive series where CU doesn't once call a play designed to get a first down and Defensive series where the same play works against the Buffs multiple times in a row. Especially on the road, our coordinators lose all ability to call plays for the situations they find themselves in.
2. Easy one...strengths, weaknesses what are they and why do they win or lose against Kansas.
David: Our strength is our Offensive skill players (but watch how difficult it is for us to get the ball into their hands). Our weaknesses are our playcalling and our Safeties. Our Safety play was already problematic before we lost Anthony Perkins, our most experienced player there.
I don't see us winning at Kansas because our playcalling seems to be exponentially worse on the road. We suffer from reverse-momentum. One mistake or stalled drive begets another and another. We never seem to get on a roll, only anti-rolls.
3. The move to the Pac10. Obviously it's easy to be extremely optimistic about it, but remove the Buff goggles and give me as level headed, unbiased view of what you think it means to the University and the athletic programs.
David: Our Athletic Director [Mike Bohn] has candidly said that there is a new initiative to make football a 'window to the university,' and while he didn't link the Pac-12 move with that, I think it's an integral part of their strategy to rejuvenate football as a banner sport that can attract academic and other athletic attention to the University.
The school doesn't sit on large oil reserves [ahem, Texas] or a large oil tycoon [ahem, Oke St.] so I think they're going to use football to galvanize all our alumni to give back to the university, and thereby enrich all of the school's core programs. As for playing sports in the conference, it could be really rough for a year or two, or five. Hopefully football comes out charging.
4. Dan Hawkins, living in Denver as I do it's pretty apparent that the hole is dug, their shoveling dirt on top and he's a dead man. Is there ANY hope for him or is Colorado in need of a clean break when they head to a new conference? Secondly, give me your top pick for the job. If you are wanting to say Bill McCartney...throw that one out because I want to hear something else.
David: There's certainly hope for the guy; I just don't think it's at Colorado by the end of this season. For argument's sake, let's say CU wins our next 4 games; Y'all, Iowa St., K-State, and Nebraska. Although it's a crazy-unlikely scenario, we'd be 7-4, 2nd in the Big12 North, and headed to a bowl game, possibly in San Diego or New York. IF (the biggest IF there ever was) that were to happen, then he'd likely be retained for our inaugural Pac-12 season.
When we don't win out though, we will need a good transition into the Pac-12, and I think it should happen with Mike Bellotti as the head coach. He's had success at Oregon, presumably still has recruiting ties to the west coast, and hopefully we can establish a head-coach-in-waiting-setup with one of the other prospects who don't have the college-head-coaching experience yet (Eric Bieniemy, Gus Malzahn, Dave Logan). So...yes (slim) and yes (hopefully).
5. Buff basketball. I'm covering the Big 12 for Rush the Court this year and I just did my Big 12 preview. I gave the Buffs the nod at 6th in the conference and I now see they've sustained a bit of a blow in the form of an injury. I still think they can surprise some people, but what are your thoughts on the outlook for Colorado basektball this year.
David: Yes, Harris-Tunks was pegged as our starting Center and the most improved player in the offseason, so losing him hurts. But if our season was dependent only on his success, we were going to be in trouble from the get go.
Yes, he gave us our best chance to have an inside presence, but he also averaged less than 2 points and rebounds per game last season in less than 12 minutes per game. Essentially, he was still unproven.
We still have tremendous talent on the wings in Cory Higgins and Alec Burks, plus very solid guys like Marcus Relphord and the addition of the very promising Shannon Sharpe who is coming back from a knee injury to help out on the Point.
We will have to go smaller more often without Harris-Tunks, but we do have guys who can play that position. They aren't huge or great, but they can do it. Losing him most likely lowers the ceiling on our season, but we still can fight our way out of the Big 12 basement in our final season, and we should be playing for a Tourney spot by the end of the year. Even without Harris-Tunks, we will surprise some people.