Depth Chart |
After all the controversies, negative publicity,
non-scandal scandals, and a general slimy perception of the Colorado
program weren't enough to get Gary Barnett fired. Losses to Nebraska
and Texas by a combined score of 100-6, however, did the trick.
From the way the team was slammed on the field and by the press
at the end of last year, you'd have thought Colorado was lucky to
have won a game. Seemingly forgotten by everyone was that 1) the Buffs
went to two straight Big 12 title games under Barnett and four in
five years, 2) they were deeply banged up on the offensive line late
in the season, and 3) Texas just so happened to be really, really,
Take away the two losses to the
juggernaut Longhorns and Colorado's supposedly Temple-like defense
allowed a mere 17.7 points per game. The four other losses came to
Miami at Miami, at Iowa State in a fierce battle that wasn't taken
over until late, the Nebraska debacle, and without starting
quarterback Joel Klatt in the Champs Sports Bowl against a
tremendous Clemson team. That's not anything to panic over.
However, if the big losses at the end of the regular season meant
the end of the Barnett era and the breath of fresh air brought in by
Dan Hawkins, then it was all worth it. One of the better fits of
coach and school to be put together in a long time, Hawkins, the
slightly goofy, extremely entertaining, always positive Zen master
is the anti-Barnett, and the players appear to have immediately
Head coach: Dan Hawkins
1st year at Colorado
6th season overall: 53-11
Off. 19, Def. 26, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 20
Best Buff Players
1. PK Mason Crosby, Sr.
C Mark Fenton, Sr.
LB Thad. Washington, Sr.
FS J.J. Billingsley, Sr.
5. CB Terrence Wheatley, Jr.
6. LB Jordon Dizon, Jr.
7. RB Hugh Charles, Jr.
8. OG Brian Daniels, Sr.
9. WR Dusty Sprague, Jr.
10. OT Edwin Harrison, Jr.
2005 Record: 7-6
Preview 2005 predicted wins
New Mexico St
at Miami L 23-3
at Oklahoma St
at Texas L 42-17
at Kansas St W 23-20
Missouri W 41-12
at Iowa State L 30-16
Big 12 Championship
Texas L 70-3
Champs Sports Bowl
Clemson L 19-10
While the overall
talent level could stand an upgrade after a few years of sub par
recruiting thanks to all the controversies, Hawkins has succeeded with far
less talent winning 53 games in five seasons at Boise State. How many
Broncos were drafted over the last five years? Four, with only one,
offensive tackle Daryn Colledge, going before the fifth round.
There are holes to fill and some questions, especially on offense. The
line has to get healthy before the coaching staff can properly figure
out what it has to work with. The quarterbacks were inconsistent this
spring, partially because they were under pressure thanks to the banged
up line, and the running game has little to no proven power. There is
depth and talent in the backfield and at receiver with enough options to
play around with once the quarterback situation is settled.
The defense is much better than it'll likely be made out to be with Thaddaeus Washington and Jordon Dizon leading a strong linebacking
corps, Terrence Wheatley returning at corner to join All-Big 12 talent
J.J. Billingsley in a deep secondary, and potential on the ends with
several good players to rotate. There's no depth or size at tackle and
the second corner spot will be a bit of a problem early on, but those
aren't glaring issues.
While there will be some period of forgiveness since there's a
perception that Hawkins has to clean up a mess, this is a good enough
team to get back to the Big 12 title game. If not, it certainly won't be
down for long and will certainly will be a more fun team all the way
not pretty with one of the hardest road schedules around going to
Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. If that wasn't enough
to worry about, the Buffs have to face four other 2005 bowl teams in
Colorado State, Arizona State, Texas Tech and Iowa State. On the plus
side, the showdown with the Cyclones is in Boulder joining Kansas State
as part of a nice two game home stretch before what should be, in some
way, a North title deciding showdown at Nebraska.
Offensive Player: Senior C Mark Fenton. The skill players are
average at best, but the Colorado line should be strong when it's
finally healthy. Fenton is the best of the bunch and will be one of the
finalists for the Rimington Award and a sure-thing All-Big 12 center.
Defensive Player: Senior LB Thaddaeus Washington. He's big, strong,
and as sure a tackler as there is in the Big 12. The 245-pound senior
has cranked out 231 career stops with 142 of the unassisted variety. He
has grown into a more complete player turning into a dangerous pass
rusher last year.
to a successful season: Junior QBs Brian White and Bernard Jackson.
Assuming James Cox doesn't quite have the upside to win the starting
job, White and Jackson will make or break Dan Hawkins' first year as
they try to replace heart-and-soul three year starter Joel Klatt. White
is a pure passer who needs to be far sharper than he was this spring,
while Jackson is a wild-card with scary running skills.
will be a success if ... the Buffs finish second in the Big 12 North. The schedule is
too brutal and the rest of the division has improved too much to
reasonably expect a fifth Big 12 title appearance in six years. Coming
in second, and being in the hunt late in November, would be a great
achievement with an eye towards winning the championship in 2007.
Sept. 30 at Missouri. The Arizona State and Georgia games will get
plenty of national attention, but the real season starts in Columbia in
late September. Missouri is good enough to be the big sleeper in the Big
12 title race, not just the North. A win by the Buffs would set the tone
with a chance to get on a big early run with the next two conference
games at home against Baylor and Texas Tech.
- Colorado points allowed in two games vs. Texas: 112 - Colorado points
allowed in the 11 other games: 195
- Rushing yards and touchdown runs allowed by Colorado in two games vs.
Texas and the bowl loss to Clemson: 573 yards, 12 touchdowns - Rushing
yards and touchdown runs allowed by Colorado in the ten other games: 730
yards, 6 touchdowns
- Penalties: Colorado 116 for 1,040 yards - Opponents 82 for 777 yards
The Last Time
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Champs Sports Bowl vs. Clemson)
…missed a bowl game…2003
…pitched a shutout…2005 (New Mexico State)
…was shutout…1988 (Nebraska)
…scored 50 points…2004 (North Texas)
…won a conference title…2001 (Big 12)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1996 (Koy Detmer)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (Bobby Purify)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (D.J. Hackett)
…had a first-round draft choice…2003 (DE Tyler Brayton)