Monday Morning QB: Colorado

A hypothetical: Colorado is trailing Colorado State by three points in the waning seconds. With the clock running, Buffaloes head coach Gary Barnett stands on the sidelines screaming for QB Joel Klatt to spike the ball and stop the clock. With Folsom Field at a (rare) full roar, Klatt can't hear Barnett, and runs a toss sweep to tailback Bobby Purify, who is stuffed in the backfield as time expires.

What do you think Barnett's reaction would have been, and whom do you think he would have pointed the finger at? Wouldn't you like to ask Craig Ochs that question?

Give CSU Head Coach Sonny Lubick credit for standing in front of the gathered media and simply saying, "This one's on me." He's right on two fronts. It was his fault, and he is doing the right thing by accepting responsiblity for the failure.

Taking the bullet for his players is what has made Lubick the great coach that he is. That's why they play so hard for him - that's why his teams have been able to compete with some of the nation's best without all the blue chippers that dot the enemy roster. Sonny gets them to buy into the 'Team" thing, and gets the most out of them. His teams are always better as a collective than they would be as a group of individuals.

Being a great coach most often means you have a microscope pointed at you. All of your moves get scrutinized and re-scrutinized, questioned, dissected, and second guessed. But for the most part, Sonny has escaped all that during his tenure at CSU - probably because his level of success and how quickly he got the Rams to respectablity. It also doesn't hurt that Colorado State fans, by and large, are much better at keep college football in perspective, and therefore don't get as high - or as low - as they do in many other places.

In the aftermath of the painful loss to Colorado, some things have changed.

For one, Lubick took more grief than Barnett got credit for the outcome of the game that evened their personal series at 3-3. It was plain to most people, including the coach, that he was at fault for what happened late in the game. It appeared that the Rams frantic last ditch rally, which nearly saw them come back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and upset CU, might have caught the coaching staff by surprise. CSU looked ill prepared for their final couple of plays, and they lost because of it.

Things looked very bleak for CSU early in the game, when they appeared overmatched and fell behind 17-0. Just as quickly, they turned it around, and eventually tied the contest at 17. Then, after a long field goal and an interception returned for a TD, the Rams found themselves down by 10 again with less than half the fourth quarter to play.

At that point, the Rams took off on a frantic rally, which culminated in the ill-fated goal line series, where a touchdown would have won the game, and a field goal sent it into overtime. If you had asked Sonny before the game if he would have passed on the first 60-minutes and gone straight into overtime, I'm pretty sure he would have taken it. Why he didn't take it when the chance presented itself will forever be a mystery.

We can be sure of one thing. Lubick, unlike Barnett, will not only accept the blame for this game, but he will take it to heart as well. It's likely that he will become a better coach because of it. He'd better be, because he owes one to his players and fans.


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