The Pac 12 conference held it’s annual media day today in Los Angeles, California with all 12 teams being represented by their head coach and an offensive and defensive player. The Colorado Buffaloes were represented by 2nd year head coach Jon Embree, OT David Bakhtiari and FS Ray Polk.
Here is the video of their interview:
Here’s the takeaway from what the coach and players had to say:
1) Colorado’s goal is to return to a bowl game. The Buffs finished last season with some momentum, winning two of their last three games and winning their first road game in over four seasons. They had the toughest schedule in the country a year ago but this season there is the possibility of getting off to a strong start and potentially scratching out some victories later in the season to secure a bowl game berth. They will be very young, which is concerning because they don’t know how quickly incoming freshmen will adapt to the next level. However, if the younger guys quickly get the hang of things they have the potential to make it to their first bowl game in five years.
2) There is cautious optimism concerning Paul Richardson’s return this season. The star wide receiver tore his ACL in spring practice and was initially ruled out for the entire upcoming season. However, since his surgery Richardson has been moving well and ha slowly started to participate in more rigorous drills. It’s still unclear if he will be back this season but it’s looking like that could be a possibility due to his rapid healing. In my opinion I don’t think he should play this season even if he is cleared by the doctors and training staff. I think it would be in his best interest to sit out a year, take a medical redshirt and come back fully healthy next season when the Buffs will be more improved. With that said, Colorado is lacking offensive weapons so having Richardson in the starting lineup would be a plus.
3) The quarterback competition is going to be a three-man race this fall. No surprise there as this is what we have known since spring practices. Connor Wood, Nick Hirschman and Jordan Webb will be the three guys competing to become the signal caller for the Buffs this fall and it is expected to be an intense battle. Hirschman broke his foot before spring practices started so that allowed Wood to have all the first team reps in practice. It ended up helping both players because, as Embree said, Hirschman needed to work on the mental part of his game while Wood needed more practice reps. Incoming Kansas transfer Jordan Webb will be able to play this season because he enrolled at CU as a grad student, already having graduated from Kansas with eligibility left. Word around the Buffs program is that Webb may be the front runner to win the competition due to his previous starting experience. Although he didn’t put up gaudy numbers in Lawrence he still has a full season of experience under his belt and that can come in handy when trying to lead the youngest team in the country.
4) The CU-Utah rivalry is mostly media driven. Sure it’s easy to assume that CU and Utah will become rivals due to their geographical similarities and the way CU beat Utah in Salt Lake last year, preventing the Utes from representing the South division in the inaugural Pac 12 Championship Game. But that’s not necessarily the case according to the players. Both Polk and Bakhtiari said that they want their rival to be the best team in the conference and Utah isn’t really that team yet. The Buffs and Utes had an intense rivalry back in the 1960’s but a lengthy hiatus put a halt to that. It’s not to say that the two teams won’t eventually become rivals but as of right now CU is still trying to find its place in their new conference so their new rival is still to be determined.
5) The Buffs will be very young and inexperienced at almost every position this fall. Anytime a program loses 28 players to graduation they are expected to be very young the next season and that’s certainly the case for CU. At almost every skill position the Buffs will be inexperienced, especially in the offensive backfield. The QB situation is still undecided, Tony Jones is an effective runner but hasn’t played a significant amount up to this point and there is plenty of room for incoming freshman to play significant minutes at wide receiver. The same thing can be said for the defensive backfield. Five incoming players will be battling for positions at cornerback and strong safety alongside Polk. Yuri Wright is probably the highest touted incoming defensive back but positions are still up for grabs and any one of those players has a chance to win them.
The college football season is quickly approaching and now that the Pac 12 media day is over, Colorado is only 13 days away from opening fall camp!