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June 12, 2013

Spring Review: Colorado Q & A




UDUBNation.com's Kaelyn Sayles had a chance to catch up with publisher of the Colorado site, Adam Munsterteiger, to talk about the upcoming season and what we can learn about the Buffaloes from spring football practice.

Washington plays Colorado on November 9 at Husky Stadium. The last time these two teams met in 2010, the Dawgs beat the Buffaloes 38-3 in Boulder.

Q: What was a major theme of spring practice?

Munsterteiger:
With a new staff taking over in Boulder, head coach Mike MacIntyre wanted to restore the players' confidence this spring. This was a group that suffered a school-record 11 losses last season and faced aggressive, often times negative, coaching from the former staff. MacIntyre said he had to teach the players how to enjoy playing football again, and he feels they were able to accomplish that this spring. There was more focus on player evaluations and less emphasis on implementing the system this spring. MacIntyre wanted to find out who can play, and even moved some players around to different positions. So bottom line, it was a "getting to know" type of spring for the players and new coaches.

Q: Who were some standouts on offense? Any breakout performers?

Munsterteiger:
Quarterback Connor Wood finally played with confidence this spring after a rough sophomore year. The former high school All-American and Texas transfer said he feels much more comfortable in CU's new offense, which features multiple looks including the Pistol formation. In the four spring scrimmages, Wood threw for 598 yards with five touchdowns and no picks. Barring injury, he is expected to start behind center for the Buffs this season. His favorite target will undoubtedly be junior Paul Richardson, who showed little rust this spring after missing last season due to a torn ACL. He averaged 36.8 yards per catch during scrimmage work. Junior D.D. Goodson moved from tailback to slot receiver and shined in his new role this spring.

Q: Who were some standouts on defense? Any breakout performers?

Munsterteiger:
There were fewer standouts on the defensive side of the ball this spring but sophomore cornerback Kenneth Crawley showed tremendous improvement after being seemingly the most maligned player on the team last season. Defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe and linebacker Derrick Webb, both seniors, are the leaders of the defense and were playing at an All-Conference level this spring. True freshman Addison Gillam impressed during his first spring on campus lining up at middle linebacker.

Q: What areas still need work before the season starts? Some weaknesses?

Munsterteiger:
A team that won just one game last season, Colorado needs to improve in every area. Net punting was the only major statistical category in which the Buffs finished in the top half of the conference in 2012. Following the departure of David Bahktiari (left early for the NFL) and Alex Lewis (transferring to Nebraska), the Buffs lack depth on the offensive line. Defensively, the safeties gave up a lot of big plays over the top this spring and that is a major concern going into the summer. Pass rush is another potential weakness as Uzo-Diribe is the only player that has proven the ability to consistently get after the quarterback.

Q: What are some strengths for this team as a whole?

Munsterteiger:
With Richardson back and an influx of talent with Goodson, Jeffrey Thomas and three incoming freshmen, wide receiver will likely be a team strength after being a weakness in 2012. If Richardson can stay healthy, he is not just an All-Conference candidate, but also an All-American type of talent. And if Wood plays this fall like he did this spring, Colorado will finally have a capable quarterback running its offense. Junior cornerback Greg Henderson is one of the best players on the team and with Crawley's improvement, the Buffs now have two capable players at that position. Colorado also has solid specialists in punter Darragh O'Neill and place kicker Will Oliver.

Q: Any injuries or personnel news that can be talked about?

Munsterteiger:
The Buffs were able to get out of spring ball relatively healthy. However, Colorado's depth (in terms of experienced depth) was diminished at quarterback when Nick Hirschman decided to transfer to Akron. And Jordan Webb's status for this season is unknown. The senior quarterback, who started nine games in 2012, was expected back in late September or early October from a torn ACL but he was recently arrested and charged with second-degree assault.

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Adam Munsterteiger has been the Publisher of BuffStampede.com since 2003.

Follow on Twitter @adamcm777.


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