BOULDER - A lot of hype can lead to a lot of disappointment. That is exactly what has happened to the offense for the Colorado Buffaloes. There was so much build-up in the off-season because of the nine returning starters.
“I don’t think there’s any concern, to be honest,” quarterback Steven Montez said after the game. “I think like Isaiah [Oliver] said, it takes a couple of weeks to start clicking. And I think we’re just now starting to get the chemistry going on offense.”
With all of the weapons that the Buffs possess, everything sounded like it was going to be too easy. And on paper, they didn’t have that bad of a day. CU finished with 430 yards of total offense. Montez finished the day 19-31 for 299 yards and a touchdown, Shay Fields had 110 yards receiving, Bryce Bobo had 75 of his own with a touchdown and Phillip Lindsay had 103 all-purpose yards.
"What you guys have to understand is, you have to be patient," Lindsay explained. "Everyone has to be patient because as an offense, everything is going to start rolling. Offense is one of the hardest things to get going. It is going to get going but at the end of the day, as long as we are okay with it that locker room and we know what we can do, that is all that matters."
But a high-tempo offense is about more than putting up big numbers. It’s about fluidity and wearing down the opposing defense, this CU offense is just not clicking.
"It's being consistent," Head coach Mike MacIntyre said as the key to getting the offense rolling. "We had 430 total yards and 37 points. If we would have hit a couple throws here and there we would have 50 points and 600 yards. It's just off by a foot. A misread here and a missed block there. We'll get it and you're seeing glimpses of it."
A few of the problems can be traced back to the suspension of two captains from the offense. The Buffs were missing their starting left tackle, Jeromy Irwin, and their best blocking tight end, George Frazier. The offensive line definitely looked like it was missing something on Saturday; they had way too many free rushers and couldn’t carve out any holes for Lindsay in the running game.
“I don’t think so,” Montez said when asked if missing Irwin was part of the problem on offense. “A lot of it was that I put both tackles in a very hard spot with me dropping so far out of the pocket because those ends could just rush up field. In the minds of our offensive tackles, I am sitting in the pocket like I should be - but I was drifting out. So a lot of that is my fault."
Actually, Montez accredited his instinct to get out of the pocket as one of the biggest issues with this offense.
“I think a lot of the problem with the offense not getting going in the first half was definitely my fault,” Montez explained. “I think I was getting out of the pocket way too soon. I think we cleaned that up for the second half, I started staying in the pocket.”
True freshman Tyler Lytle was the unsung hero of the game as he was the one that gave Montez a pep talk at halftime about how to stay in the pocket.
“On the sideline, Tyler Lytle was saying to me, ‘Just pretend you’re me.’ Tyler’s not a very good runner and that’s known to the team,” Montez said. “He said to me, ‘Pretend you’re me for a second and just stay in the pocket. Because I can’t run’ And sure enough I started staying in the pocket and you guys saw what happened in the third quarter.”
The third quarter was when the Buffaloes had their best drive of the game. They put together a seven-play, 86-yard drive that ended with a Bobo touchdown reception. That was the dagger for Colorado, but it really showed how good this offense can be.
MacIntyre said that he expects Irwin and Frazier to be back next week so the Buffs will get a huge boost there. Patience will be key to see if this offense blossoms into what everyone expected it to be.