Remember last year? Eric Kiesau does. In his debut as offensive coordinator at Colorado, Kiesau watched his Buffs sputter through four quarters against the Rams in a frustrating beginning to the 2009 season.
The Buffs gained a total of 29 yards rushing that afternoon at Folsom Field and finished with just 13 first downs and 251 yards of total offense.
Kiesau credits CSU defensive coordinator Larry Kerr for a solid game plan. It wasn't a surprise. Kiesau said he has known Kerr for a long time and believes Kerr is one of the best in the business.
Kerr has 37 years of coaching experience, including 20 as a college coordinator.
Kerr will have nine returning starters at his disposal when the Buffs and Rams meet Saturday in Denver at Invesco Field, and that fact had Kiesau already wearing a game face after the final scrimmage of preseason this weekend.
"I have a ton or respect for their defense," Kiesau said. "They play extremely hard. They're very aggressive. They do a great job of disguising things. So it will be a big challenge. There is no doubt about that."
Kiesau noted that he kept his eye on the Rams throughout last season and noticed how the Rams continued to play hard despite finishing the season on a nine-game losing streak.
"Even near the end of the year when they weren't winning, they were still playing very, very hard on defense," Kiesau said.
The strongest part of the CSU defense is probably the linebackers led by senior Ricky Brewer, fellow senior Alex Williams and junior Mychal Sisson.
The Buffs have plenty of experience on the offensive side of the ball as well, making this a very interesting matchup in a critical game for the Buffs, who need to get off to a good start in 2010.