Facts about Colorado, buffaloes, and the Colorado Buffaloes:
- “Beulah Red” is the name of the marble used to give the Colorado State Capital building its distinctive look. Every bit of it available in the world was used in construction, and it cannot be replaced at any price. The 13th step of the building is located exactly one mile above sea level.
- Colorado is the only state to turn down hosting the winter olympics. They were set to be held there in 1976, state-wide vote had 62% of residents opposed to hosting due to the cost, pollution and potential population boom they would bring.
- Residents of Fruita, CO celebrate “Mike the Headless Chicken Day” each year. In 1945, a farmer cut off Mike’s head (ostensibly to eat him), but Mike lived another four years.
- I-70, from Idaho Springs, CO, holds the honor of being the highest paved road in the US, reaching an elevation of 14,285 feet above sea level.
- 75% of the land in the US with an altitude over 10,000 feet is located in Colorado; not surprisingly, the state has the highest mean altitude of any in the US.
- The United States government owns 1⁄3 of all the land in the state.
- The world’s largest rodeo is hosted annually in Denver.
- The buffalo is North America’s largest land animal, standing up to 6.5’ tall, and up to 12.5’ long.
- Bison use their massive heads to plow through deep snow.
- The herd in Yellowstone National Park is the only buffalo herd to be genetically pure of cattle.
- The bison is the US’s National Mammal, as decreed by president Obama on May 9, 2016.
- Bison are extremely fast, reaching speeds up to 35 mph. They are also excellent swimmers.
- By 1889, the US population of bison had been reduced to 1,091. Today, it’s over 500,000.
- One of the cafeterias at CU Boulder is named after a cannibal who lived in the gold rush era of Colorado.
- Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of “South Park,” met while students at CU Boulder.
- The CU Buffaloes football team is one of two documented to have completed a 5th down conversion.
- The live mascot Ralphie is actually a female.
- The Buffs have one a total of 28 NCAA titles, with 20 coming in skiing.
- CU Boulder annually has one of the highest acceptance rates of any school in the country.
But even of that nonsense. You’ve got questions, and after this, you’ll have even more, I’m sure....
When do you start writing mailbag? Do my Wednesday afternoon questions make it in?
UWDP: I am nothing if not diligent and organized. I never procrastinate, nor wait until the last minute. A rough outline of this article was created in the mid-80s, and it was finalized on May 3, 2008, so no, your Wednesday questions don’t make it in.
The other option is that I write it on Thursday mornings, immediately before it’s published.
Not related to this week's game, but what is your feeling about Oregon? They have had a good first half offense but the defense is still suspect. I have seen several comments about the "all-star" coaching staff that they put together, but is it really an "all-star" staff or just "all-star" recruiters including the head coach? I know the DC has had a good coaching reputation recently but I don't know much about the rest of the staff. Is being shut down in the second half of two of their games indicative of their coaching acumen?
UWDP: Oregon has “buzz” because of the new coaching staff, but right now, they’re the same team they’ve been the last four or so years - really good offense (6th by S&P), mediocre (at best) defense (65th by S&P).
I think Jim Leavitt has shown to be a very good coach at a handful of stops. Willie Taggart has had enough success twice to be promoted, and he’s stepped in to a very good situation at Oregon due to 1) leftover recruiting momentum from recent success, and 2) a really good young quarterback.
I thought Keith Heyward was a decent DB coach during his time here. Mario Cristobal is a very good recruiter, but I’m not sure of his actual coaching acumen either way. I don’t honestly know enough about the rest of the guys on staff.
Oregon’s offense didn’t do much in the second halves of their games against Nebraska and Wyoming, even though the starters were in and the play calls suggested they were still trying to move the ball down the field (Justin Herbert was throwing passes past the midway point of the Wyoming game, for example). At the same time, Husky fans wouldn’t freak out to much if the Dawgs were in that situation.
I don’t think we’ll know too much about Oregon for a couple of weeks.
I attended UW during the height of the USC dominance under Pete Carrol. I watched those USC teams completely dominate everyone and Reggie Bush run all over the field racking up what seemed like 500 yards rushing every year against us. Then Oregon emerged and continued to obliterate everyone they played for years. The point I am getting at is how much of the negativity about the team's progress so far this season is in comparison to the dominant PAC teams of the past? Are the Huskies just not passing the eye test yet?
UWDP: The more invested you are in a team, the more you’re likely to worry and pick nits. I can remember being despondent about the ‘91 Huskies after their games against USC and Oregon in particular....
The Huskies haven’t put up big numbers yet (passing and rushing yards, I mean), but it was also the rule in 2016 with a few notable exceptions. I bet most Husky fans would say Jake Browning had a pretty fantastic game against Stanford last year, but most wouldn’t recall he only threw for 210 yards.
The Huskies have done enough to comfortably win games, with two high-quality and proven running backs each averaging 8 carries per game. That’s a good thing. You have to remember that we were in the exact same position last year at this time.
Not gonna lie, those alternate jersies (I don't know how to spell this word) that WSU had against Orange Corvallis state were OFF the heezy. Straight up jealous. When will UW get new ones that will actually be worth buying so that I'm not repping KP for decades?
UWDP: The majority of my life is spent off the heezy, so luckily I know exactly what you mean.
You’re rapidly approaching middle age, you’re out of school, have a career, etc., so you know have to start accepting that what you think is “cool” isn’t the same as the significantly younger (than you) players on the team do. Uniforms will probably change in the next year or so, but there’s no guarantee that you’re going to like them.
The more important question still remains - should grown men be wearing jerseys? I say no. You need to accept your fate and get yourself a nice Cutter and Buck golf windbreaker to wear to the games.
What are your impressions on the strength of the PAC-12 now that the OOC schedule is finished?
UWDP: Really, really, uneven. At this point, Cal is doing the most to carry the banner.
Washington and USC are getting the benefit of the doubt until either or both prove they don’t deserve it. Stanford.....eesh. But they’re also a team that could easily string six quiet, unimpressive wins in a row, the same way they did last season.
UCLA will continue to be a team with enough talent to win any game, but a bad enough situation at the top to lose any one as well. I think that’s dangerous for the perception of the conference.
Lots of teams look solid - WSU, Oregon, Colorado, Utah...it’s a good thing for the Huskies if those teams win games, as long as they aren’t against Washington.
For the sake of discussion, if UW's special teams failed to contribute any points against the currently undefeated teams in the PAC12 would you still favor UDub in those match ups?
UWDP: I’d call the USC game a tossup or slightly favor the Trojans, but against the rest, absolutely.
I don’t think you understand how incredibly little two of those two returns were actually worth - around 1.5 points, in games with 30+ point margins.
I "met" someone at the grocery store yesterday. Does this sound like a good place to establish new beginnings?
UWDP: At your age, yes. Grocery stores, art museum parties, laundromats, volunteering, shoe stores, and joining a class or team are all excellent ways to meet people.
I didnt notice if Tevis Bartlett started or came in later in the game. Is he a starter at the OLB position now? Was this just rewarding a guy for years of work with some OOC playing time? Is he a solid #2 or is he a 1b to whoever is the starter at that spot going into conference play?
Regardless, it was awesome to see a guy who came in as one of those unheralded gym rats start to blossom all these years later.
UWDP: He’s started every game thus far.
If you were "forced" to wager on the outcome of games between Northern Illinois University and Fresno State and NIU and Montana who do think would win?
UWDP: I’d take Northern Illinois in both - obviously a “well, duh” against FCS Montana.
I’d also take the vast majority of FCS teams over both Fresno State and Montana, so you aren’t actually making the point you think you’re making...
If you were forced to wager on the game between Washington and Oregon, who do you think would win?
This team still looks like a 2 loss team in conference play to me. What do you think?
UWDP: I’d say one-loss, so two is within that range.
What are your thoughts about scheduling games at 7pm and later? Most people would prefer a 12:30 or 1 o'clock start.
And, wouldn't it be possible for the PAC12 to schedule games in the 9 to 10 am slot? It seems to me that most people, including students are normally starting their work days at (or before) that time - so why not on Saturday - I mean does the east coast own that time slot? Do your due diligence on this matter and use your influence to get the PAC12 to change this egregious situation fixed now!
Sorry, got carried away.
UWDP: Given the choice between a 7 pm start and a 9 am start, I’m picking 7 pm every day of the week. I abhor the idea of kicking off that early. But I also like the night games under the lights....
Afternoon is preferable, but man...no way I’d advocate for pre-noon kickoffs.
Which Husky team looked the best out of the three games so far?
UWDP: Either the second half of the Rutgers game (while it wasn’t great, it actually “mattered”), or the first half of the Fresno State game.
Honestly, they’re all simply “incompletes” at this time to me. Ask me on Sunday.
Azeem Victor does not seem to be the same player. Has his increased size slowed his pursuit to the ball or has last years' injury caused him to be more tentative? He just doesn't seem to be the same dominant player at this point in the season. Has he lost his edge and should we be worried?
UWDP: Azeem Victor is listed at 231 lbs this year, virtually the same as 2016 when he was listed at 230 lbs. He was listed at 240 lbs as a sophomore in 2015.
The biggest thing with Victor this season is that he just hasn’t played that many snaps. He missed all of the Rutgers game, and in the last two, has played in a rotation with Ben Burr-Kirven and Keishawn Bierria.
Maybe there’s some rust to be worked out with the injury, but I think it has much more to do with the luxury the coaches have of limiting his work in games where he just isn’t needed all that much.
Dawg in Boston
What's up with Lavon Coleman? Has he had even a single good run this year? He looks nothing like he did last year.
UWDP: Lavon Coleman has 24 carries for 86 yards, for 3.6 yards per carry. At this point last year, Lavon Coleman had 16 carries for 80 yards (most coming in garbage time against Portland State), for 5.0 yards per carry. While the average was better last year at this time, it wasn’t predictive of where he ultimately finished.
He’s had a couple of nice runs so far.
The big reason that he doesn’t look like last season is he isn’t getting the same types of carries as he did last year. Coleman is a one-cut-and-go back, best out of the power running series (with a pulling guard). The Huskies just haven’t run much of that yet (by my count, Coleman has five such carries so far). But they didn’t show that look until the Arizona game last year, either (for whatever reason). All of Coleman’s big runs came off power. Most of Gaskin’s did as well, but he’s more adept in zone schemes than is Coleman.
Wait until Saturday night.
Will "global warming" affect Husky football?
UWDP: When the ice caps in Lake Washington melt, Husky Stadium will most likely be under water. So, yes.
Where is the pass rush?
UWDP: I don’t know, but I’d point out two things:
1. The defense has done more experimenting this season than the last two combined. There have been three new defensive looks that we’ve never seen yet.
2. While the sack numbers haven’t been there, there’s been enough pressure pretty frequently to make opposing quarterbacks move, or throw under duress. That’s a “win” for the rush.
Describe Husky culture in 11 words or less.
UWDP: I’m assuming you mean the football team, and specifically under Chris Petersen.
Disciplined, intelligent, consistent, reserved, eccentric, misinterpreted, noble, influential, defined, timeless, inimitable.
Touched by a Browning
How would you predict the Husky offense to attack this Colorado defense before adjustments on Saturday?
UWDP: Through the air first. Colorado has an entirely new secondary this year, and Jake Browning is healthy. It’s also Chris Petersen’s most typical means in the first part of a game - build a lead with the pass, then run to win.
Last year Jake clapped his hands for the snap count. Why the change this year ?
UWDP: There’s been a lot of work with Jake Browning under center, so there’s obviously no hand clap on those plays. The Huskies also haven’t had to deal with enough noise that they couldn’t use a verbal snap count.
We’ll have to see what happens on Saturday. A verbal count gives the defense less to use in anticipating the snap - any kind of motion, even with Browning’s fake clap he used last season - is easier to time. If the noise makes a verbal snap impossible, I’d wager you’ll see the clap again.
Where will we land at in the Pac12 BASKETBALLL YEAHHHHH FORGOT ABOUT BASKETBALL? standings at the end of the season?
UWDP: My darts are currently in for sharpening, so I don’t have one to throw right now.
Who does the hottest hot taeks on this blog?
UWDP: Me. But I’m pretty much the hottest everything around here.
How tall is Chris Landon?
UWDP: 5’10” when he’s walking toward you, 5’6” when he’s walking away. But no matter what, he’s got the heart of a giant.
Is Stanford losing to SDSU and the weak non-conference play a sign of the Tree apocalypse?
UWDP: San Diego State looks like a good team, but that game proved that Stanford is too weak defensively and at the quarterback position to play the way David Shaw wants. I’ve also been of the opinion that Shaw has been overvalued as a head coach most of his tenure at Stanford, but that’s a different conversation.
Also, why so few carries for Bryce Love?
Is the offense what it is going to be at this point? How does the offense get better when the level of competition is only going to get higher (outside of perhaps ASU and OSU)?
UWDP: As with the Alamo, remember 2016. It didn’t actually look much different at this point.
The offense is going to get better by executing better, particularly on the line. It’s the same thing that happened last year as well.
I'm worried. About recruiting. Oregon is killing it. We aren't. Dude, we were in the CFP last year. And we are still.... not... making a splash in recruiting. Help me understand.
UWDP: “Splashes” aren’t Chris Petersen’s style. He wouldn’t make one if he cannonballed off the Narrows Bridge.
No doubt Oregon has done a great job in recruiting thus far. It’ll be interesting to see if they can hold on to the nine guys they currently have committed from east of the Mississippi.
The weather forecast is calling for thunderstorms/heavy rain in Boulder on Saturday. How do you think this will effect the game and which side gets an advantage, if any, from it?
UWDP: The forecast now is 50-60% chance of showers, and cool at kickoff.
Unless there’s an insane amount of rain, where one or both teams just can’t hold on to the ball, the weather isn’t going to have any effect.
Will the hype surrounding USC despite their struggles ultimately be a good thing for UW or will that hype simply die if UW plays and beats them in a PAC 12 championship showdown?
UWDP: If the Huskies make it to a conference championship game against USC, then having the Trojans as highly regarded as possible is a very good thing. The hype will quiet if Washington wins, but in part because Washington will get some of it.
A USC team that has the potential to be good will always be hyped. Always.
So, how are you feeling heading into the Colorado game Brad? Also, the line as of me writing this question (Monday) is Dawgs -10. You taking the Huskies to cover that?
UWDP: If I was going to bet, yeah, I would. Washington’s offense is better than Colorado’s defense, and Washington’s defense is better than Colorado’s offense.
That’s obviously not a guarantee of anything, but the “odds” say Washington wins by more than 10.
Who do you think has more rushing yards this week, Gaskin or Lindsay?
UWDP: If I was going to bet money, I’d put it on Myles Gaskin.
I wouldn’t bet money on this, but also wouldn’t be surprised if Steven Montez ends up with more rushing yards than Phillip Lindsay.
How will bita bea, Azeem Bictor, Bieshawn Bierria, and the rest of the UW Defense step up against bolorado's offense? Will Bolorado score more boints than last year?
UWDP: I think Colorado will want to get the ball into the hands of its receiving corps, including wanting to attack down the field, so I think you’ll see a few more sacks and an interception or two from the defense.
Yes, Colorado will score more points than last season.
Has the new O-Line coach implemented any new blocking schemes that might explain the perceived regression in run blacking?
UWDP: No, it’s still a combination of zone schemes and power schemes (although heavily tilted toward the zone runs, same as last year at this point). The issue is entirely execution, and effectively running zone blocking requires success from all five guys on each play. Too often, the issue has been that four of five have done their jobs, but the one breakdown kills the play.
Most of the big plays the offense had on the ground came from power. We’ll have to see if there’s more of that Saturday.
Last season at this time the starting lineups on both sides of the ball were pretty solidly established. What can we say about the starters heading into the Colorado game?
Any new faces (or surprises) we are likely to see happen re. players who will see the majority of playing time? Which positions are still facing stiff competition? Any more players likely to see a change in position or switch from offense/defense?
UWDP: There was a little experimentation at running back and free safety last year at this time, which is about the same as it’s been this year (but at receiver, and partly due to injuries last week). The rotation on defense has been liberal both years. I think that stays the same.
What's the biggest concern for the Huskies so far? A lack of a pass rush? Inability to get the running game going? No good option after Pettis among the WR's? Something else?
UWDP: They’re all concerns, but none are overwhelming to me. Especially the running game - there are too many guys that have played too much good football to think there’s a fundamental flaw there.
As for receiver, not having Chico McClather and Andre Baccellia last week against Fresno State had an impact, but part of it was good, as Brayden Lenius stepped up pretty big as a blocker and receiver. I think part of the issue with the receivers is on Jake Browning, who needs to step up and throw the ball sometimes instead of holding it and waiting for perfection in “openness.”
I’m not exactly sure where the answer comes from in terms of the rush. Well, I actually am, but just don’t like it. It’s bringing more bodies, which limits the ability to cover, or simply living with a less-than-dominant rush. The best answer is for someone to simply emerge, but I’m not overly confident that that happens...and I’m looking mostly at you two, Mr. Vea and Mr. Gaines.
Moving forward, I think the Huskies are going to see more teams attempt to work the ball down the field than the first three opponents did. That’s naturally going to lead to more sacks and an improvement (at least in perception) of the rush.
How much does the bench shorten against the Buffs?
UWDP: A lot, in large part because the Huskies are going to have 20 fewer players to work with, as they’re limited to the number of guys that can travel to away conference games.
The rotation that we’ve seen on defense probably won’t change, though. There are around 20 key guys that will all get meaningful snaps Saturday. On offense, part of this will depend on who’s healthy in the receiving corps.
As I was watching the Colorado game this past weekend I became less concerned about our upcoming trip to Boulder. I was not impressed with either their Offense or their Defense. How tough do you think this Buff team is going to be in the conference opener?
UWDP: I think Mike MacIntyre is a good coach, and Colorado has some talent on its roster. But I agree, it’s going to take a combination of them playing well at the same time the Huskies play poorly for the Buffs to win - Washington’s “A” game beats Colorado’s every time.
There’s a lot of noise with advanced stats right now, but neither side of the ball is all that highly regarded for the Buffs. The offense is 54th by S&P, and the defense is 44th.
Colorado is dangerous, but the Huskies should win.
Hypothetical, would you trade Lake for Tosh back?
UWDP: I think Tosh is a better recruiter than Jimmy Lake, but Jimmy Lake is a better coach than Tosh Lupoi. But Jimmy Lake looks like a pretty damn good coach.
I probably wouldn’t. Washington’s defense gets a tremendous amount of value from the play of its secondary, including the development of guys that weren’t as highly regarded as recruits. I don’t think Lupoi’s recruiting bridges the delta there.
The ones who got away?
How are Foster Sarell and Marlon Tuipulotu doing? Cant help but think pass def and rush might look better if we were able to bring them into the fold.
UWDP: I don’t know if Foster Sarell has played yet. Marlon Tuipulotu registered a couple of stops in USC’s first game, but none in the next two.
I don’t think either would be making a much greater impact here. Down the road is a different story, but not today.
When I looked at the schedule, this weeks game and the Stanford game both were the two I was most concerned with. It looks like UW has opened up as big favorites but it feels like the Arizona game last year. We've played three patsies and made it safely through our non-conference schedule and now we play some competition. Last year we nearly bungled our season going in to Tucson. Now we are going on the road to play a good CU team, at altitude without a significant challenge to our resume this year. I think we have an excellent head coach, but are we ready?
UWDP: The team is ready. But I don’t think what happened in Tucson last year was due to a lack of “readiness,” though, unless you mean the readiness to face a really fast quarterback like Brandon Dawkins. Without having a QB like Dawkins on your roster, it’s tough to prepare for that, and he could simply have a game like that against anyone, at any point in the season. I chalk that one up to bad execution and randomness, not lack of preparation or something like that.
Yeah, the Huskies will be ready.
If Peterson quit tomorrow, would you rather hire Wilcox or Willy T?.... Let's hope Coach P doesn't quit.
Why does UCLA constantly underperform? My worst grades were always spring quarter so maybe hot Cali girls help UW. But to play the extreme, WSU isn't winning National Championships so scenery cant explain everything. Maybe it's UCLA's history of bad coaches. Sorry Mora, I know your a dawg, but losing to Memphis appears all coaching.
Ragu, do you have an opinion on this?
UWDP: I think Chris Petersen has gotten the Huskies to the point they’d be able to do better than either guy, but any coaching hire - including Petersen - is a crap shoot.
UCLA does have a history of not hiring good coaches. It looks like Jim Mora’s name belongs on that list. UCLA’s failure of effort against Memphis is entirely on Mora.
Ragu has an opinion on everything.
Last year the Huskies had trouble with physical USC and Bama. Are they bigger and stronger, more able to hold up to those teams this year?
UWDP: One would hope that so many underclassmen from last year’s team would be bigger and stronger this season. They should be better, but they’ll need to prove it. In fairness, almost every team in the country wasn’t as good as those two teams. And USC, at least this far, doesn’t appear to be as physical as they were last year, especially at key positions. The defensive line really misses Stevie Tu’ikolovatu.
What are the keys to look for to determine if a team is playing zone defense
UWDP: In the secondary, look at the cornerbacks. If they’re in man coverage, their eyes will be entirely glued to the receiver, and they’ll follow him wherever he goes. In zone, they’ll be alternately looking from the receiver to the QB, and dropping into an area instead of aggressively staying with a man.
Red Zone Package
Do you believe Smith, Lubick and Paopao have created a Jumbo Receiver Package for the Red Zone: Pettis, Lenius, Hunter, Jones and Sample/Dissly?
UWDP: No. They could all be on the field at the same time as part of the normal receiver/tight end rotation, but that’s not the best combination the team can put out there in any part of the field, including the red zone.
What structural advantage do Buckeyes have over Washington other than cost of living? Help Tommy Togiai avoid making a terrible mistake.
UWDP: Money, history, and a coach that’s better at delivering a hard sell.
I think Togiai should come here. I’ll give him a call.
Did the sleeping giant in Austin wake up? Will the Horns knock off one or both of the teams from the state that stole the Sonics?
UWDP: Texas gave USC all they could handle. Talent isn’t the issue in Austin, nor has it ever been. They could beat either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, for sure. I probably wouldn’t bet on them in either game, but wouldn’t be all that surprised, either.
Depth chart question
Will 23, 24, & 14 get passed up? 4 and 11 look good. 27 and 3 are also getting a lot of snaps.
5 and 6 didn't see the field. 20 played on the third team. What do you see happening the rest of the year?
UWDP: Not this year, but it could happen next year with Jordan Miller. Competition is a good thing, though. It’s great to see those young guys play, and have some success.
Andre Baccellia (#5) and Chico McClatcher (#6) were both hurt. Yes, Ty Jones got some snaps. He’ll probably get more, with a chance to prove he belongs on the field.
Trick play to open the game... sorry, double pass play, not trick play... Will we see something similar @ Colorado? Or was that just to help they guys get excited to play another underwhelming opponent?
UWDP: The double pass was used for two reasons: First, it puts the play on tape. Opposing coaches will now have to spend at least a little time worrying about it and preparing for it. Second, it got a big play in the game plan for Hunter Bryant. It builds his confidence.
Which coaches are more likely to leave next? Why? What are the implications?
UWDP: Jimmy Lake is the most likely again this season, and I’m actually surprised he’s still at Washington. He’s a big loss.
Sort of related to that, with three true freshman defensive backs playing, the Huskies have a significant logjam at those positions in the freshman class. If I had to guess, someone will transfer out.
What are the biggest vulnerabilities in each phase of the game (O, D, ST)? Will they always be vulnerable? How about strengths?
UWDP: Vulnerabilities first.
1. Offense: receiver
2. Defense: linebacker depth
3. Special teams: placekicking
1. Offense: the system
2. Defense: secondary, including depth
3. Special teams: punt returning
There’s no reason for the vulnerabilities to stay that way, nor the strengths either, for that matter.
Dante's en Fuego
How many more punt return touchdowns can we enjoy from Pettis?
UWDP: Hopefully at least one, so he has the career record all to himself.
How many total TD's will Pettis finish with this year?
Now that we've seen opponents play, toughest 2 opponents will be Oregon & UCLA?
UWDP: The toughest opponent is complacency.
My rubix cube has a top center and left center green missing. One is above and the other is below the green set. How do I finish this?!
UWDP: Paint, or just work on a different color.
After watching USC struggle early, they seemed to be able to just turn it on and torch anyone on any play. Do we have the horses to match shots if that's what the game turns into?
UWDP: The Trojans probably have more raw play-making talent. It’d take some exceptional things (like defensive and special teams touchdowns) to match a game that devolves into huge scoring plays. I don’t think it comes to that, though.
All for this week.