Pressuring UM's Wright a Key for Buffs

There was a different energy around the Dal Ward Athletic Center early Monday afternoon as CU players made their way in to eat, lift weights and prepare for the afternoon's practice. After three days off, CU is anxious to get back to the football field and prepare for Saturday's game at Miami. Inside, we hear from defensive linemen Abraham Wright and James Garee on their impressions of the Hurricanes and the importance of getting pressure on Kyle Wright, the UM quarterback, among other things.

No question that Colorado State is a Colorado rival, and demands the Buffs' focus in August camp. New Mexico State ran an unorthodox offense, which required CU players pay extra attention the week leading up to that game, as well.

Truth be told, however, this Saturday's game at Miami has been on the CU players' and coaches' radar for months now. While not shirking responsibilities at hand, the Buffs have been thinking about the Canes long before game week arrived.

Over the summer, the strength and conditioning staff held "Miami Fridays." They crammed towels under the weightroom doors and turned up the heat as far as they could in the workout room, trying to stimulate what the Buffs might experience Saturday, when the stifling Miami heat is projected to be in the mid-80s.

"We had to be here at 6 o'clock in the morning and they had it ready for us," junior defensive end Abraham Wright said. "It was nasty."

Wright and the rest of the Colorado defensive line will have to play a stellar game if CU is to have an opportunity to win in south Florida. Miami lost its opening game at Florida State, then won on the road at Clemson in triple overtime Saturday. In both games, Miami freshman quarterback Kyle Wright was pressured. UM has given up an alarming 14 sacks in its first two outings. Wright has thrown 32 of 54 for 384 yards, two interceptions and two touchdowns.

Obviously, Colorado hopes to continue the trend of getting to the Miami quarterback. However, Abraham Wright thinks it may be more difficult to put Kyle Wright on his backside than it was for Colorado to sack the CSU and NMSU quarterbacks.

"The talent they have …they're better than CSU's offensive line, and dang sure better than New Mexico State's line," Wright said about the UM o-line.

The problem is, Colorado managed just four sacks total between CSU's Justin Holland and NMSU's Royal Gill.

Wright, who as of early Monday afternoon had yet to see game film from the UM-Clemson game, but had watched the UM-Florida State game, knows he has his work cut out for him this week.

"When we start playing these top teams like Texas, or like Miami, you look at their offensive linemen and you say, ‘Man, I just can't do what I did against CSU,'" Wright said. "I've got to come up with some other stuff. If they're watching me (on tape), they'll say, ‘Oh, he likes that spin move.' Ultimately, you've got to take your game to another level in these kind of games."

Fifth-year senior defensive tackle James Garee has played in these kind of games before. Garee spent part of Monday morning looking at the tape of Miami's win at Clemson.

"They showed some different things in this game than we'd seen from the first game," Garee said. "They've got a lot of speed, and use a lot of misdirection. Sometimes, it looked like Clemson had them locked up in the middle, and the dude would bounce outside and get 12 or 15 yards. We've just got to keep them contained, that's the trick."

Wright agreed, saying a key for the Buffs will be to minimize mistakes. The Buffs have been penalized 16 times in CU's two games, more than you'd like from a team dominated by upperclassmen starters. On the positive side, the Buffs are a plus 2 in turnover margin, generating seven takeaways.

The fact that CU will be playing on national television against such a storied program could make the focus factor a big factor. Wright said the Buffs must respect the Canes, but not fear them.

"You've got to come in and say, ‘I'm going to hit them before they hit me,'" Wright said. "You can't come in scared. I remember last year my first couple games – I wasn't coming in scared, but I was too big-eyed. Too much looking around at the spotlight. We really can't do that."

Playing with confidence will be a key, too. Wright thinks the Buffs can do just that.

"After talking to guys in the weightroom, all my teammates, guys are starting to realize we can win this game," he said.

Garee takes that a step further.

"We've watched them play, and we definitely know what we're capable of," he said. "We're not just going to go down there to play, we're going to win."


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