Game Talk

Mike Hankwitz was embarrassed, Shawn Watson was frustrated. <!--Default NodeId For Blake Mackey is 1223483,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1223483]>Blake Mackey</A> said he would give all his six catches back in trade for a victory. And what was up with the 40,000 CU fans who left in the fourth quarter?

Coming into the game, CU knew it would have to slow Oklahoma State's potent running game, and tailback Vernand Morency, in particular. The Buffs gave up 236 yards to OSU on the ground. Fifty-eight of those yards came on one run by Morency in the first quarter.

Q: How did you feel like you did against the OSU run game?
Mike Hankwitz:
I'm embarrassed because here we go again. I thought we made them earn everything, but we gave up four cheap-ass plays. I feel like a broken record. That's what is preventing us from improving. We have unblocked guys and they run around us, then we fall down. Then we don't get into position on two passes. It's embarrassing to me.

When we got lined up and we executed, then we made (Morency) earn his yards. I don't know how many yards he had, but I'd like to see what percentage he earned on that one play. (Morency had 165 yards, 58 on a touchdown run in the first quarter).

Q: What happened on the last play of the half?
We talked to (the secondary) about being alert, that they'd take a shot deep. It looked like Sims was back there and fell down.

Q: Is this team fragile at all right now?
Well it's a gut check. We lost a game last week and it was a tough loss. And then we got embarrassed today. Yeah, I think it's a gut check time. We have to be introspective and look at ourselves and see what we can all do better. It's going to define us. We're going to have to see what kind of team we are, I think.

Q: Barnett was talking about the offense needing to be perfect to score. Do you feel that way about the defense?
To overcome the mistakes we made doesn't require perfection. You just have to be in the right position to give yourself a chance to make plays. We didn't do that at times. We're not a dominant team. We can't just go out there and mess around and beat people. We've got to execute and put ourselves in the right position to give ourselves a chance to win.

Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson made the call to keep an injured Joel Klatt on the bench in the second half, he said.

But for the fourth time in five games, the offense struggled.

In general
Shawn Watson: It seemed like to me we had a lot of opportunities to make plays. We just didn't finish. How do you fix it? We keep working and we make those plays.

Q: Did you plan to use Vickers that much?
Absolutely. He's one of our best, if not our best, offensive football players. We're going to use him.

On how to fix things
You can see that we're not finishing a catch, or that we're one block away. It's little things. We've got to keep working the younger players. The only way to do that is not lose them, to stay positive.

On Klatt not returning to the game after a neck injury.
That was my call. At halftime he was really hurting. I knew right then, it was his neck. I'm not going to risk it. There's no football game worth that. He's really sore right now.

On the play of James Cox
James did really well. I feel bad for him on that last pick because he got hit from behind and he forced a bad throw. But I thought he played well. I like his athleticism, and running on the perimeter. He was really sharp; his decision-making was good. He did a nice job.

Replacing an injured Klatt in the second half, sophomore James Cox played his most significant minutes of his young career, finishing 15-of-21 for 175 yards and two interceptions. He led CU on its two scoring drives. The 21-yard touchdown pass to Dusty Sprague in the fourth quarter was Cox's fist career TD pass, and Sprague's first career TD catch.

Q: When did they tell you you were going to play in the second half?
James Cox:
We really weren't sure through half time. Joel was going to go out and throw and see how he felt. It really came down to when we got the ball back. I got on the headset and he told me he wasn't going to be able to go. So I started warming up.

Q: How valuable was the experience you got today?
It's unfortunate that I got to play because Joel got hurt. But I've got to take it as a learning experience. I felt like I did good out there, but I also made some mistakes. It's something I can learn from.

Q: When you were down 21-0 at the half, what was the feeling in the locker room?
We had moved the ball the whole first half, and we had it in the red zone. We knew we could move the ball on them , we just had to make some plays. That's something we felt like we could do. The locker room atmosphere at halftime was up tempo.

Q: If they tell you Joel can't go next week, how confident are you?
First of all, I hope Joel can go. But every week I prepare like I'm going to play. I'll just prepare to play well.

The sophomore had what could be a breakout game. Mackey hauled in six catches for 129 yards, more than he'd had in his career coming into the game. Still, Mackey said he'd trade the catches for a win.

On how if felt to get a lot of catches
It got a lot of weight off my chest. I felt like I should have been playing better (prior to Saturday). But I haven't felt this bad in a while. When contribute to the team, but you lose, it takes the fun out of it. I'm glad I got my feet wet, though.

On what was holding him back
Honestly, it was all mental. Just not being sure, never being in the situation before, being hurt the last two seasons. Hopefully, I can learn from this and help our team win.

Q: Did you sense coming in that they would come your way as much as they did? BM: They told me I was going to get to play. So I was kind of excited. I couldn't sleep last night. I had a feeling I was going to get a chance, but I didn't know how much.

But I'm really upset about the loss. I'd rather have zero catches and win than have six like I did.

LV starts at TB in One-back
Junior Lawrence Vickers started at tailback when CU opened in a one-back set, in place of Bobby Purify, who is slowed with a shoulder injury. Vickers moved to fullback and Daniel Jolly played tailback when CU went into its two-back look in the early going. BP into the game with 7:20 in the first. Purify gained nine yards on his first carry.

Bad Thadd starts in place of Dizon
Thaddaeus Washington drew his second start of the season, this time for Jordon Dizon. Washington led CU in tackles with 11, and had two third-down stops.

WR Evan Judge dislocated thumb in first quarter on CU's first series. He returned on CU's second series and played the rest of the game..

Klatt took a shot on a third-down run late in the second quarter. He suffered from a stiff neck sat out the second half. His condition was not known immediately following the game.

Rough day for Charles
True freshman Hugh Charles made a good play on special teams when he tackled the OSU punt returner after a 1-yard gain in the second quarter. However, Charles made two crucial mistakes in special teams play which led to Oklahoma State scores.

Midway through the second quarter, Charles ran into teammate Stephone Robinson, who was trying to field a punt. The ball hit Charles and was recovered by an OSU player at the CU 11. OSU scored a touchdown two plays later.

Charles also inadvertently pushed teammate Terrence Wheatley into OSU punter Cole Farden. The ensuing penalty gave OSU new life, and they eventually drove for a touchdown on the series.

Butter Fingers
Colorado receivers dropped at least six catchable passes Saturday.

Physical Game
While OSU got the best of CU on the scoreboard, and on the field, they paid a price. The game had to be stopped five times for OSU injury timeouts.

Saturday's attendance was 46,521, the lowest total at Folsom this season. But what was striking was how empty the stands were at the end. By the time CU ran it's final series, with just over two minutes to go, there were fewer than 5,000 CU fans left in Folsom.

"Today we didn't play well enough for the fans to support us, I guess," Sam Wilder said afterwards. "It's one of those rough things that you don't want to happen, but it does."

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