Colorado Offensive Preview

Colorado has some talent on the offensive side of the ball. Read on to see what that is, the keys to stopping them, and more.

Colorado's offense has been inconsistent this season, but Arizona will still have to be aware of a few talented players that can certainly make a difference.

The failure to score points against better teams recently led to a quarterback change in which 6-foot-4, 215-pound true freshman Sefo Liufau replaced junior Connor Wood.

The Buffs' coaching staff is trying to make the game as simple as possible for Liufau, which helps explain the fact that he has completed nearly 70 percent of his pass attempts in two games. Against Arizona State, Liufau threw for 169 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. He followed it up with a 198-yard and one touchdown performance against Charleston Southern.

Liufau definitely has talent and he is at his best when he stays in the pocket and is able to go into the intermediate routes. He does have some difficulty throwing deep, which is why his coaching staff has not really asked him to do it yet. Liufau has good pocket presence for a freshman and it will be interesting to see if CU allows him a bit more freedom this weekend.

Freshman Michael Adkins leads Colorado in rushing, although much of that is because of his performance against Charleston Southern when he ran for 137 yards and four touchdowns on only 13 carries.

Against Oregon, Adkins was held to 18 yards on six carries and he put up 62 yards on 16 carries against the Sun Devils. To Adkins' credit, he has a solid game against Oregon State with 14 carries for 98 yards and we would have to consider him to easily be Colorado's most explosive back.

Sophomore Christian Powell is going to get carries as well and one of the best games of his career came last season when he had 32 attempts for 137 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona. The defense this year is better equipped to handle Powell's 6-foot-0, 230-pound frame, but when he is on his game, Powell can be dangerous.

Powell will likely get around 10 carries on Saturday and he has not had a great game this season, although he has scored in each of his past two games.

Everybody's job on offense is made easier with the presence of 6-foot-1, 170-pound junior Paul Richardson. He is coming off an injury last season, but has not missed a step, as he has 43 catches for 782 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

Most of Richardson's numbers came in the first two games against Colorado State and central Arkansas when he caught 21 balls for 417 yards and four touchdowns. Since then, he has been held to double digit receiving yards against Arizona State (4 for 39) and Oregon State (5 for 70).

That's not to take anything away from Richardson, because he is extremely explosive. If he has a big day, Colorado's chances of winning increase dramatically whereas if he struggles, it will likely be difficult for the Buffs to win.

Sophomore Nelson Spruce is the other starting receiver and the 6-foot-1, 205-pound pass-catcher has battled some consistency issues this season. His best game came with an eight catch, 99-yard effort in the season opener against Colorado State, but his high since then is five catches for 42 yards against ASU.

Junior Tyler McCulloch is the big body of Colorado's receivers, coming in at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds. Unfortunately, he has had difficulty putting it to use, as evidenced by his 13 catches for 137 yards and one touchdown.

D.D. Goodson is good for a catch or two per game and is a legitimate deep threat despite only being 5-foot-6. He has ten grabs on the season with five coming against Colorado State, but did have a 75-yard touchdown against Oregon earlier this month.

Colorado's offensive line has some talent on it and has only allowed 12 sacks this season, which is around the middle of the conference.

Jack Harris started 11 games last season and moved over to left tackle. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound senior is considered to be one of the anchors of the line and will have to play well for the Buffs to move the ball. Next to Harris at left guard is Kaiwi Crabb, who is finally healthy after battling injury issues last season. Crabb is a big body at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, but there is plenty room for improvement there.

Gus Handler is solid at center and has played well as he too is coming off a season in which he battled through injury. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound lineman was on the Rimington Award Watch list and only allowed one sack last season.

Starting at right guard will be 6-foot-2, 290-pound junior Daniel Munyer. He is considered to be one of the best linemen that CU has and there is a good chance that the majority of running plays will be behind him. Next to Munyer is Stephane Nembot, who at 6-foot-7, 305 pounds, is one of the strongest linemen on Colorado.

Players to Watch:

#19, RB Michael Adkins: Last year Christian Powell had success against Arizona, but Adkins will likely get the majority of carries on Saturday. He has legitimate big play ability and is the kind of back that builds momentum as he goes, It would not be a surprise to see him get numerous carries early in order to settle in the offense.

#13, QB Sefo Liufau: It kind of goes without saying that the quarterback should be a player to keep an eye on, but this may be his biggest challenge yet. There really was not any pressure on him when he entered the Arizona State game and Charleston Southern was his first start. Now, he will be in a rowdy home atmosphere against a team that will give him looks he has never seen before. He was to respond well or it is going to be a long night.

#6, WR Paul Richardson: Richardson has the ability to torch teams and although his numbers have slowed down a bit, he is easily the most dangerous player CU has. Arizona has been inconsistent in the secondary, so Richardson has a chance to break one open. If he does, the offense will come much easier for the rest of the Buffs.

#3, WR D.D. Goodson: He was actually a running back last season, but the coaching staff wanted him to try wide receiver and Goodson had so much success in the spring that he stayed there. He is too small to be a possession type, but Goodson is going to challenge Arizona in the middle of the field, especially deep. He has the speed to get behind the defense and there is a good chance that he will challenge Arizona's secondary more than once on Saturday.

Keys to the Game:

1. Pressure Liufau: There is some talent at quarterback, but this is a pressure situation for the freshman. Arizona needs to be aggressive and show Liufau different looks in order to try to get him off balance.

2. Take control early: It's amazing what a sack, turnover, or three and out can do to a team and its fans. If Arizona can stop CU early and turn it into points, it will take the crowd out of it, thus making it much more difficult for Colorado to win.

3. Make Richardson a possession receiver: You have to think CU is going to try to get him involved as much as possible. If Richardson is going to get his, so be it. However, if Arizona can keep the averages low and Richardson in front of the secondary, it is a successful night.


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