November 18, 2009

Ask the Expert: BuffStampede publisher talks CU

The 2009 college football season is starting to wind down and Oklahoma State closes out its home season against Colorado - tomorrow.

Yes, that's right. A Thursday game for Senior Night. With the contest between the Cowboys and Buffaloes only a day away, we thought it was high time to give the OSU fans some thoughts on CU football. So we asked BuffStampede.com publisher Adam Munsterteiger a few questions and he was nice enough to give us some detailed thoughts on the Buffaloes' season up to this point.

So without further ado, here's a big dose of silver and gold information on OSU's next opponent.

1. It's safe to say it's been a tough year for Colorado. For OSU fans that might not have followed the Buffaloes closely this season, remind us what their pre-season prospects were. How much of a disappointment has this season been for CU?

"Tough year is an understatement. This is year number four under Dan Hawkins and despite the fact the Buffs came into the season with young offensive and defensive lines, they were supposed to turn the corner in 2009. There was a lot made of Hawkins' so-called prediction of 10 wins, but I think most CU fans thought eight wins was a realistic goal. It was just assumed they would win their first three games against Colorado State, Toledo and Wyoming - or at least two of the three - but instead they came out of the gates slow. Colorado State (which is currently 3-7) dominated the trenches and beat Colorado in Boulder. And in week two, Toledo (4-6 right now) racked up 624 yards of offense against the Buffs and won by 16. When it seemed like CU was gaining some confidence and might turn things around (e.g. wins over Wyoming, Kansas and Texas A&M) they came out flat the next week and lost. The Buffs rank 119th out of 120 FBS programs in penalties. CU has lost 11 straight road games. And they are assured of a losing season for the fourth consecutive year. So, yeah, the season has gone worse than any Colorado fan could have anticipated."

2. At the start of the season, there was competition for the starting quarterback spot between Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen. Then, Hansen was redshirted for the second straight season. During the season, Hansen's redshirt was pulled and he has now become the starter. How surprised were you by the moves at that position and do you think Hansen is the better option for the Buffaloes?

"The coaching staff has taken a lot of flack from fans regarding how they handled the quarterback situation. But I think that criticism is unjustified. Cody Hawkins was a more consistent quarterback during spring practices and preseason camp. He deserved to win the starting job going into the season. Then, when it became obvious that Cody couldn't get the job done behind a struggling offensive line, the coaches made the right call in pulling Hansen's redshirt and putting the more mobile quarterback behind center. I reiterate, the Buffaloes' offensive line has struggled this year, so playing quarterback for this team is not an easy job. Since taking over, Hansen has shown flashes of big time potential but he has also made mistakes that should be expected from a young quarterback."

3. OSU's defense has improved dramatically from the past few years. How do you think CU will attack the Cowboys' D? Also, who's the go-to guy that will be relied upon to move the offense? Also point out a name or two on defense that could make an impact in the game.

"Colorado would like to give the Cowboys a heavy dose of Rodney Stewart. The speedy and shifty sophomore running back is the Buffaloes' best weapon on offense. He stands 5-foot-6, 175-pounds, and can be hard for defenses to find. But if CU falls behind early, like many expect will happen, they will be forced to throw it more than they'd ideally like to. Junior Scotty McKnight and sophomore Markques Simas are the Buffs' top receivers. McKnight has caught a pass in 35 straight games and Simas had 263 yards receiving in CU's last two games. Senior tight end Riar Geer is also a talented pass catcher.

"Defensively, senior inside linebacker Jeff Smart leads the team in tackles but he has been suffering from a neck injury and if - or how much - he will play against the Cowboys is unknown right now. Junior defensive end Marquez Herrod has been the Buffaloes' most consistent pass rusher this season, and junior Jimmy Smith has developed into one of the conference's best cornerbacks."

4. There is a lot of smoke that CU athletic director Mike Bohn is close to making a change and firing Dan Hawkins as head coach. First off, do you believe it will happen? Secondly, if Hawkins is fired, where would the Buffs look for a new coach?

"Bohn is in a tough position. If he makes a change, it will cost more than $3 million to buy Hawkins out (he is under contract through the 2012 season) and Bohn would be admitting that his first major coaching hire was a failure. But if he doesn't make a change, CU's fan base will be up in arms and boosters could start withholding money from the program. If the Buffs lose their final two games, I would tend to think there will be a change. If they win another game, I think there is a good possibility that Hawkins will be back for a fifth season. If there is a change, I don't know where they will look for their new coach. But I would suspect the search will be a little lengthier than it was last time. Hawkins was one of just two coaches that Bohn interviewed back in December of 2005."

5. Lastly, peek into the future some and give us your take on what will go down between the Cowboys and Buffaloes. What will the scoreboard look like late Thursday night?

"Crazy things can happen in college football. But I think Oklahoma State wins this game comfortably. As I mentioned earlier, the Buffaloes have not won on the road in more than two years and they are basically just playing for pride at this point. I have predicted a final score of OSU 30, Colorado 13."

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