Witherspoon leads the team with three pass break-ups and he has yet to give up a completion through two games.
“I do think I have played well,” he said after a practice earlier this week. “I am very glad to see all the work I put in during the off-season has shown out on that field. I am not satisfied, though. I think I am just going to continue to get better throughout the year.”
Colorado's entire secondary has been impressive early on, albeit against two inferior opponents. The Buffs only allowed Colorado State to gain 63 yards through the air, and last Saturday, Idaho State threw for just 67 yards.
“We were playing pretty consistently as a group throughout fall camp, too,” Witherspoon said. “We definitely have confidence as a group. You don't put in all the work that we put in during the off-season without getting better.”
Exactly how good is Colorado's secondary? Saturday afternoon's contest at Michigan will serve as a true litmus test. UCF dared Wilton Speight to beat them last weekend, and the 6-foot-6 field general responded by completing 25-of-37 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns. His “total quarterback rating” through two games ranks third nationally.
“This is what you play for, to go up against the best on the biggest stage and just show what you got,” Witherspoon said of their upcoming challenge. “They are pretty balanced on offense looking at it on film. They'll hit you with some deep throws, some runs, and they'll hit you with different sets. We've had to work a lot on communication this week.”
When asked about Witherspoon's improved consistency, Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre said he is a microcosm of the team.
“He has matured just like the rest of our team,” MacIntyre said. “He has gotten a little bit stronger, a little bit quicker, a little more confident and out there at corner you have to have confidence. You have to forget the last play and I think he has learned how to do that.”
Additional notes -
*** During his weekly radio show, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said he did not have the time to find humor in the fake depth chart released by Colorado's Sports Information Department earlier this week, which was a response to the fact the Wolverines do not release a depth chart. And for some reason, Harbaugh seemed to be under the impression the Buffs' coaches had something to do with it.
“I really didn't even know about it. [Colorado Sports Information Director] Dave [Plati] told me he did it. That was his deal and he had fun with it,” MacIntyre confirmed. “I am not on any media, I don't watch anything, so I don't know exactly what happened with it but my wife told me it was pretty funny. So that's all I know.”
Colorado's faux depth chart went viral and drew a reaction from seemingly every website that covers college football. SportsCenter spent considerable time exploring the humor of it. And the Solid Verbal, a popular college football podcast, has declared that Colorado is “America's Team” this week.
MacIntyre did have some fun with the media on Wednesday when a reporter asked him how he will pick a starter at left tackle between Eric Cartman and Fat Albert.
“What was the thing they played where Fat Albert would jump and be the last guy to break them? Remember how they would pile up? What was the name of that game? Dogpile? I'd pick Fat Albert because he would win it every time,” he joked.
*** The forecast for Ann Arbor on Saturday calls for a high of 75 and a chance of thunderstorms. MacIntyre pointed out that Michigan Stadium has FieldTurf, so if it does rain, he does not expect it to affect their “footing at all.”
“We've played in snow, we've played in rain, we've played in heat. It won't change anything,” he said.
*** MacIntyre said the fact the Wolverines have a couple versatile and dynamic defensive players in Jabrill Peppers and Rashan Gary will not affect how they match up against Michigan offensively.
“Whoever lines up at end, we'll block. Whoever lines up at safety in coverage, we'll [go against]. We know they have got good players and a lot of teams we play have really good players,” he said. “We're not going to do anything special for them. You start worrying about one guy, then that screws up everything else. You just have to run your offense and play football and eventually you'll make plays.”
*** Although Chidobe Awuzie does not go both ways or return kicks like Peppers does at times, the Buffaloes' talented senior defensive back has drawn comparisons to the Wolverines' star.
“They are very similar in a lot of ways. They are both physical. They are both athletic,” MacIntyre said. “They both flash like crazy on film.”