• Inside the CU locker room, Saturday’s loss to Florida State caused some disappointment. In head coach Dan Hawkins’ case, it was the first time he’d felt it personally since coming to Colorado prior to the 2006 season.
Hawkins said Tuesday he told his team after the FSU loss that — for the first time — he was disappointed with them. Even during and after 10 losses last year, Hawkins felt like the team was facing lots of limitations. But a season later, many of those limitations are removed, and the Buffs feel like they could have and should have beaten the Seminoles.
Maybe center Daniel Sanders said it best, when he compared the team’s mood after losing by a point at Georgia last September, and dropping the home game vs. Florida State last weekend.
“Last year, a lot of guys were saying, ‘I can’t believe we stayed this close (at Georgia),’” Sanders said. “This year, a lot of guys were saying, ‘I can’t believe we lost this game (vs. FSU).’”
Hawkins praised the CU fans in attendance Saturday, specifically the student section which led a push for the “blackout,” which turned out to be a success. He said the atmosphere was electric, and how big-time college football should be. But his team didn’t live up to its end of the bargain.
• No. 1 on the list of things to fix continues to be the run game, which has produced 5 yards on 51 rushes in the past two games. (That includes yards lost from quarterback sacks, but still!). The Buffs currently rank 116th out of 119 Division I schools in rushing, with a 44.7 yards per game average.
According to Hawkins, it’s a combination of getting better play up front and from the ball carriers.
Coaches are still trying to light a fire under senior tailback Hugh Charles. “I still want him to haul it up in there,” Hawkins said. “To be able to put his foot in the ground and go north and south.”
The fact that true freshman Brian Lockridge — all 5-7, 175 pounds of him — saw his first action vs. Florida State says a lot about how the coaches are searching for answers at the position.
Now that the redshirt is off Lockridge’s back, he’s not going to sit on the bench. That’s not this staff’s style. Expect to see him to continue to work into the offensive game plan, and on special teams. Coaches like Lockridge’s speed, but they also like his energy and his toughness. He’s shown a desire to run north and south.
“He’s not afraid, even though he’s not the biggest guy, to put his pads down and put it up in there,” Hawkins said.
• In an effort to awaken the run game, CU will go live during rushing plays again this week in practice.
• As he has of late, Hawkins said some true freshmen are close to seeing playing time on the offensive line — namely Kai Maiava and Ryan Miller — but they won’t play until the staff is convinced they’re absolutely ready. (No sense burning a year of eligibility for a handful of plays). Both are physically and emotionally ready, but are still developing the mental aspects of the game.
• Senior linebacker Jordon Dizon continues to lead the nation in tackles per game. He’s averaging 16.3 through three games. He’s also the third-leading career tackler among active players, trailing only Virginia Tech’s Vince Hall and Central Michigan’s Thomas Keith.
Meanwhile, sophomore walk-on Jeff Smart continues to play well in what’s become more than spot duty. He has been on the field on the team’s first defensive play in two games, and has played a total of 117 snaps. That’s third behind Dizon and Brad Jones among linebackers. Smart has 18 tackles, and is second on the team with three tackles for loss. He’s also the only Buffalo to recover an opponent’s fumble this season.
Hawkins praised Smart’s speed, toughness and intelligence, but also gave props to his staff for taking the approach to develop the entire roster, not just starters.
• Miami-Ohio comes to Boulder Saturday for the two teams’ first-ever matchup. The RedHawks are 1-2. They opened with a win at Ball State, then lost at Minnesota in three overtimes, and lost 47-10 at home vs. Cincinnati on Saturday.
Though oddsmakers have the Buffs as two-touchdown favorites, Hawkins said he doesn’t understand how his team could be a prohibitive favorite given their 1-2 record.
“We better play a lot better or we’ll get beat again,” Hawkins said.
• Miami plays a 3-4 defense and runs a lot of zone looks. On offense, they’ve played two quarterbacks, one (Mike Kokal) is a little better runner, the other (Daniel Raudabaugh) is a little better passer.
The RedHawks are plenty big. They average nearly 300 pounds on the offensive line, and starting nose tackle Martin Channels is listed at 320 pounds. Two of their starting receivers are 6-foot-5.
• The athletic department announced a new program Tuesday. The AD will honor “Legacy Buffs” at Saturday’s game. Legacy Buffs are fans who’ve had season tickets for 30 years or more.
There are 1,390 people who’ve had season tickets for 30 years or more; 507 for 40 years or more; 168 who have had them 50 years or more.
Former football coach and athletic director Eddie Crowder said longtime fans are significant to a program.
“Heritage is just something invaluable. And it’s something that gets overlooked,” he said. “It has value that adds to the sense of tradition, to the sense of character to a program like this. It does a great deal to influence the ultimate imperative, and that’s the recruits. So I think what they’ve done here is tremendous.”
• As of Tuesday morning, 8,500 seats remained for the Miami-Ohio game. Roughly 5,400 seats remain for the Sept. 29 game with Oklahoma, which is also homecoming. No TV for the Miami game, which kicks off at 1:30. FSN will carry the OU game regionally (11:30 a.m. kickoff).