College Football Preview: The 2014 Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado Buffaloes 0-0
2014 College Football Preview
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Overview: The Colorado Buffaloes made a huge improvement in Mike MacIntyre’s first year as head coach, finishing with a 4-8 record. While that may not be great for a lot of programs, you have to remember that Colorado hasn’t reached a bowl game since 2007 and won just one game in 2012. The Buffaloes beat California, while nearly upsetting Utah at the end of the season. Granted, there’s still a long way to go before Colorado does anything major in the Pac-12, but fans are certainly excited for the upcoming season due to what they saw last year. MacIntyre and his guys made a great first impression.
Offense: Sefo Liufau will be given another shot at quarterback after completing just 59.4 percent of his passes for 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a freshman. Liufau did show signs of improvement as we got closer towards the end of the season, throwing for seven touchdowns in the final three games. The Buffaloes did have a Top-50 passing offense in the country last season. Of course, duplicating that won’t be easy with the loss of 1,000-yard receiver Paul Richardson, but the Buffaloes do still have some talent at wide receiver including Nelson Spruce and D.D. Goodson. The running back position won’t change, as Christian Powell has led the Buffaloes in rushing yards the last two seasons and will continue to hold down the fort his junior year. The offensive line will be shaken up a bit but the overall production of this unit will come down to how much Liufau has improved at quarterback.
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Defense: Colorado’s defense has been absolutely dreadful since joining the Pac-12. Of course, it’s going to take time to adjust to the overall speed of the conference. The Buffaloes have some talent and speed at the linebacker position, which is led by Addison Gillam, who led Colorado with 107 tackles last year as a freshman. Gillam also had the second most sacks on the team with three, and he’ll get some help from a young defensive line led by Samson Kafovalu and Jimmie Gilbert. The secondary is likely where Colorado will improve the most as it returns many key players and guys who have great potential. Chidobe Awuzie made great strides as a freshman, while Greg Henderson has proven he’s capable of being a shutdown corner at times throughout his career. Overall, Colorado will probably have its best defense it’s had since coming over from the Big 12. Of course, that’s not really saying much.
Special Teams: Kicker Will Oliver returns after making 17 of 24 attempts and punter Darragh O'Neill returns after averaging 40.50 yards per boot. Special teams for Colorado should pay off in a big way this season.
Outlook: Anything that continues to show progress is a win for Colorado, a program that looked like it was dead in the water when switching conferences. But that’s not the case if last year was any indication of what’s to come. It’s tough to imagine a bowl game or anything playing in the tough Pac-12 South, but Colorado will have its moments again and surprise you at times. Four or more wins is another step forward for the Buffaloes.