At the conclusion of two-a-day practices and in preparation of their opener on Saturday, the Colorado Buffaloes pre-season depth chart was released to reveal the official starters for the 2012 season. The two-deep depth chart is mostly what was expected after the Buffs wrapped up their fall camp.
In the first part of a three-part post, let’s take a quick look at the Buffaloes’ offensive depth chart.
Here are a few of my snap observations at each position:
No. 1 Jordan Webb
No. 2 Connor Wood
Webb being named the starter was not a surprise; the timing of it was. Head coach Jon Embree obviously wanted to name a starter sooner rather than later, but he announced his decision before their fall scrimmage this past week. Many thought he would want to see all three in game situations before naming a starter but he felt strong enough to go with Webb for the 2012 season. As far as the backup QB goes, it’s still up in the air and is obviously a little closer than the starting QB race was. A clear cut backup has not been decided but if I had to make the decision it would probably be Wood.
No. 1 Tony Jones
No. 2 D.D. Goodson
The first back to replace starter Jones on Saturday against Colorado State will likely be a game-time decision. Offensive coordinator and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy said that he is unsure of who his number two guy is at this point, but according to the depth chart it will be Goodson coming onto the field first. Unlike last season during which Rodney Stewart was the only back to carry the ball in the first two games, there will be a constant rotation of guys seeing action against the Rams. Each guy brings a separate dimension to the CU offense and it will also create confusion for the opposing defense depending on who is in the game. The only downside: none of the backs will really be able to get into a rhythm if Bienemy is set on a rotation.
Primary- Tyler McCullough (X), Nelson Spruce (Z)
Secondary- Dustin Ebner (X), Gerald Thomas (Z)
Notable- Keenan Canty (Z)
Without star wide receiver Paul Richardson, who is still recovering from a spring ACL tear, there is not a marque name on this list. What you do find is a group of guys that will run solid routes and provide good targets for Webb to throw to. McCullough started at the beginning of last year but quickly fell off and did not see much time the rest of the season. However, with a full year under his belt he should have a bounce-back year and be a good target on the perimeter. The other guys will fill in nicely, but one receiver to watch who has the potential to step up could be freshmen Thomas. Word around camp was that he was turning heads with highlight catches and making big plays. He could be the main target for Webb while Richardson continues to rehab if he adapts quickly to the collegiate level.
No. 1 Nick Kasa
No. 2 Kyle Slavin
Kasa will be the starter after making the move from defensive end. He has the size – 6-foot-6, 260 pounds – and the athleticism to play the position effectively. The only thing that I’m worried about with Kasa is whether or not he picked up the offense enough during spring and fall camp. It’s not easy to make that transition physically; it will be even tougher mentally. It will be interesting to see how much of a factor Kasa will be in the opener in both the running and receiving games.
LT- David Bahktiari
LG- Alexander Lewis
C- Gus Handler
RG- Daniel Munyer
RT- Jack Harris
The offensive line is led by All-Conference tackle Bahktiari and should be much improved from last season. Bienemy wants a renewed focus placed on the running game and it will start up front. Every single guy has playing experience – some more than others – but experience is still experience. If anybody does go down, they have a quality backup at tackle in the form of senior Ryan Dannewitz. Besides Dannewitz, the other guys are pretty young – most of them freshmen – so if a starter does get injured, it could be a rough situation throwing a newbie into the mix.
In my next post, we will break down the defensive depth chart.