Buffaloes Present Different Offensive Style

Oregon's goal this week will be to transform a 1-6 Colorado squad into a faceless opponent worthy of the "our Super Bowl" tag. That's going to be tough.

EUGENE, Ore.- Colorado has been, frankly put, awful this year. Or as the more diplomatic Mark Helfrich put it "they've had a couple of rough ones".

After stunning Washington State in their Pac-12 opener, the Buffaloes have lost each of their past three conference games by an average of 35.3 points. Combine that with Oregon's relative success against the Buffaloes' common foes and this one might get ugly.

The Buffaloes do present a new test for the Ducks, however, as they'll be the first opponent this season implementing a pro-style offense.

"If they line up with a tight end, two guys in the backfield and a quarterback under center, our guys might call timeout, come over to the sidelines and say ‘Hey coach, what is this formation?'" defensive coordinator Aliotti joked.

What is nice about the timing of Colorado is that it leads into a pro-style segment on the schedule, with each of the final five teams playing a similar offense, most notably next week's opponent USC.

The bigger personnel and more compact formation lends the Buffaloes the opportunity to focus on a power running game, a short passing game and potentially most dangerous, a strong play action pass element.

"They can definitely score off of the play action," safety Avery Patterson said. "So if we have our eyes in the backfield or don't have our keys right, then they can definitely get a big play on us."

Colorado starting quarterback Jordan Webb has familiarity with the pro-style. Webb started at Kansas in 2011 before joining the Buffaloes.

Perhaps the Buffaloes biggest offensive threat is Webb's favorite target tight end Nick Kasa. Kasa converted from defensive end last season and is a big target who moves with incredible ease for his 6-6 260 pound frame. On the season, Kasa averages over 18 yards a catch and has scored a team-high 3 touchdowns.

"He's a lot like {Austin} Sefarin-Jenkins. Because he's so big, a lot bigger than most of the tight ends we face," head coach Chip Kelly said.

Colorado's running game has been sparse this season, as they split carries between Christian Powell, Tony Jones and Josh Ford, none of which have more than 350 yards on the season.

"It's more downhill (running game) than side-to-side. We have to make everything bounce rather than everything cutback," senior linebacker Michael Clay explained.

The Buffaloes did have success moving the ball last week against USC despite losing 50-6, Kelly pointed out, running 85 plays and reaching the red zone five times but only taking six points away. Kelly characterized the lack of success as a combination of bad offense and good defense.

"The difference between good teams and great teams is how you play inside the 20," Kelly said. "A lot of teams can move the ball between the 20s, but when you get in there do you score and when they get in there do you stop them."

The five red zone appearance against USC was a season high and not including that contest, Colorado has scored on 14 of 16 appearances.

All six reported injuries come on defensive, according to Colorado's official press release. Unfortunately, that might be the side of the ball where they can least afford them.

Helfrich applauded the effort he's seen from Colorado this season despite the tough outcomes and pointed out that they do play differently enough that it'll require offensive adjustments.

Junior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe has six quarterback sacks this season.

The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network at 12 p.m. Saturday. Kevin Calabro and Adam Archuleta will be in the booth and Yogi Roth will man the sidelines.

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