“We're still hungry and we're still humble and we still have a lot of work to do to turn this program around,” said senior defensive back Chidobe Awuzie as the Buffaloes get ready to host Idaho State, a Big Sky team that defeated Simon Fraser, a Division-2 program from Canada last weekend.
Discussing past FCS upsets over FBS programs can be like re-opening an emotional wound in Boulder. The Buffaloes dropped a game against Montana State in the first game of the Dan Hawkins era and Colorado lost to Sacramento State in Jon Embree's second season at the helm.
Idaho State's current head coach Mike Kramer just happened to be the head coach at Montana State back in 2006 when the Bobcats pulled off the upset at Folsom Field. So you know he will not feel intimidated when he walks out for pre-game warm-ups on Saturday.
“We've already shown [the players] the highlights of that game, to make sure they understand he is a heck of a coach and has won everywhere he has been,” Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre said.
Twice this week MacIntyre has compared Idaho State's offense to the Hawaii offense that had success against them a year ago, in another game Colorado fans would like to forget.
"We've watched a lot of film already, and they've got two pretty good outside receivers and a pretty good tight end. Their running back is pretty fast,” Awuzie said of the Bengals. “They're a pretty well developed offense."
All that said, if last Friday is any indication, this does not appear to be a Colorado team that is susceptible to the same pitfalls as the 2006 Buffs and the 2012 CU squad. Quarterback Sefo Liufau did admit they would like to come charging out of the gate fast on Saturday in order for the back-ups to see extended playing time in front of the home crowd. But he said it in a humble tone.
"I think the goal ultimately is to execute, and then if we execute and build upon what we did last week, I think that will take care of itself and other guys will come in and play," he said. "Instead of kicking a couple of field goals and having a couple turnovers, we'll put up maybe three or four more touchdowns and then it makes everything a lot smoother and we feel a lot better about ourselves.”
Additional Tuesday notes -
*** A number of the Buffaloes' players have been seen wearing hats that read "Make CU Great Again." The hats were made by the father of walk-on receiver Danny Galloway.
"I"m fine with it," MacIntyre said when asked about the hats. "His dad went to school here and is very proud. I thought it was a good thing. The kids wanted to wear them."
*** MacIntyre is still optimistic senior safety Tedric Thompson will be back in action this Saturday after getting banged up in the season opener.
"He was in his protocol. I believe everything went really well and he should return tomorrow," he said. "Unless something happened between practice and now, we expect to have him."
*** To thank them for their part in helping him win Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors, Liufau plans to take the offensive line out to dinner on Thursday. When jokingly asked if it will be a black-tie affair, Liufau responded, "No, not on my budget."
*** The Buffaloes received one vote this week in both the AP and the Coaches' poll. According to Brian Howell of the Boulder Daily Camera, the last time CU got top 25 votes was eight years ago. CU's Neill Woelk confirmed it was not Mike MacIntyre who voted for the Buffs in the Coaches' poll. It is known Sam McKewon, from the Omaha World-Herald, was the voter that placed Colorado at No. 25 on his AP ballot.
McKewon wrote the following to explain his vote: "And here we have a controversial pick. CU? The Buffaloes? Which has won 11 games in four years? Yes. Colorado, based on one of the most dominant wins of the weekend, a 44-7 rout of Colorado State. CU outgained CSU by 353 yards, won the turnover battle +2, converted 12 of 19 third downs — this was a good performance. Better than TCU and Pitt — even if both won. If the goal is to reward performance, and not some preconceived notion of goodness, then, through one week, Colorado is a top 25 team to me. They may drop out soon enough."