Mike Sanford gives Sunday night update on the Buffaloes – 247Sports

  • October 25, 2022

The Buffaloes are 1-1 since Mike Sanford took over as Colorado’s interim head coach, with Homecoming on tap. The Buffs opened as a 13.5 point underdog for their upcoming game against Arizona State, which will kickoff on Saturday at Folsom Field at 5:30 pm (MT) with television coverage on ESPNU.
Sanford fielded questions on a wide variety of topics on Sunday evening to recap their 42-9 loss at Oregon State…
Mike Sanford: “Good Sunday today. We obviously had a chance to look at the film together and I got some positive news on the injury front. I was a little concerned after yesterday’s game, just how banged up we got in a physical match-up. But we didn’t sustain anything significant that is going to inhibit somebody from playing this week against ASU so that’s positive. Continue to get positive injury news on the front of both Deion (Smith and (Alex) Fontenot. We’ll continue to evaluate that as the week goes. But both are in a good place to potentially play on Saturday. We’ll update as it goes on. Owen (McCown) is progressing well. We didn’t have a full practice today with the vets but we scrimmaged a lot of the developmental players. He didn’t throw today so we’ll evaluate him on Tuesday.”
“Van kind of got contorted over the pile. He had X-Rays on his ankle, looks good. He’s in a walking boot. We have a lot of guys in walking boots on Sundays and Mondays. Josh Chandler-Semedo has had a walking boot all season on Sundays and Mondays. So (Wells) should be ready to play. And then Anthony Hankerson went through our walkthrough today and he did some stuff. Both those guys I thought came out looking pretty good.”
“It was a lower body issue that’s kind of a nagging deal that has been with him. The fumble itself was caused more by being in a really awkward pileup and he dropped the football. He kind of got rolled up on in his lower half. If you saw the play, he went and turned on the jets and he went and absolutely blasted whoever recovered the fumble on the sideline. I think he’s okay. What happened in the pileup, that wasn’t actually the injury. It was more the acceleration to go get the ball carrier down on the ground.”
“I think a lot. We put in some new fronts for Oregon State because of their stretch play and the outside zone play. I was involved in that decision making from the head coach perspective. I think there were some things that we did well but sometimes when you put in new presentations of how you basically fit the runs, there is going to be some nuanced details of it that might not get a chance to detail out from a technique perspective. And so what I learned myself is just to continue to let he and Jeff Smart and the defensive staff kind of work through what they built systematically and let them continue to evolve it organically as it comes forward.”
“We didn’t start fast. It reminded me a little bit of the Cal game from the perspective we had an opening down the field, potential touchdown throw available on the first drive. In the Cal game we didn’t catch the football and in this game we threw a post route and J.T. (Shrout) missed outside on the numbers where the ball should be completed, more in the middle of the field. We just have to be opportunistic when we have opportunities that are there. I think that continuing to build confidence, continuing to trust our process of practice and how we practice.
“I think we did find a groove similar to Cal but it unfortunately was way too little, too late to be competitive and win a football game on the road against a good team. With regards to how we adjust things going forward, I am not afraid whatsoever of making sure we put the the right people in the right positions. We’re continually learning more and more about skill position players, running backs, who does what well and we’ll shuffle things around if we need to be able to optimize our performance early in games.”
“When we watched Oregon State, we break down their third downs by down and distance. When we got into third and seven-to-10, and then third and 11-plus, we saw it from our film study of the teams that we broke down, they got off the field on a 90 percent clip. So when you’re in third and seven or longer as many times as we were, that’s the strength of that defense. Just ask USC, when USC went up to Corvallis.
“I went through today with our players… between our turnovers that when we were getting into Oregon State territory and crossing midfield, we had basically three turnovers, two of which were inside the 15 yard line, albeit one of them was late in the game. And we also had a turnover on downs on a missed opportunity in the second quarter, which really could have made that a ballgame.
“I looked at the USC game. If you look at the boxscore of that game, USC had a grand total of three points going into the fourth quarter. It’s a really good defense. You have to be opportunistic against them. And obviously we had what I really consider, with the three turnovers, that’s 21 points when you crossover midfield. And really even throw the fourth one which was the turnover on downs at the 37 yard line, those are all scoring opportunities. So that’s even 28 points and then a pick-six as a 14-point swing. Thus, the final score.
“I thought we overall moved the ball well as we settled in. We just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had. You’re probably not going to go into Corvallis and drop a 40 spot on them. The turnovers, they scored 21 points off our turnovers, one of them was a 14-point swing by obviously a pick-six. You take away your opportunity to score on that drive and they get seven immediately. That’s where I saw that number, the final score, get away from us.
“I felt like this game was a little bit less of us just getting manhandled in all three phases and more of us just truly beating ourselves with dropped passes, with turnovers, with fumbling the football. Because, if we hold them to 155 yards in three quarters, we should be in that football game. We have to take care of the football better. We practiced it a lot. We have to practice it more. We have to practice it better. But, yeah, those are some of the things I talked to the team about today.”
“It hasn’t been easy. I’m going to be very honest. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been fun in the sense that you do see growth. You’re seeing individual growth. The hard part about offensive football is it is 11 having to play in perfect synchronization together and when those pieces are constantly evolving, namely at the quarterback position, there are some challenges to that; the running back position.
“I do like where our offensive line is at. I think our big positive in the game, that showed up on tape, it was probably our best pass protection game of the season against a really good front and a team that had gotten after the quarterback. They blitzed us and we picked up a pretty good variety of what I would call pretty advanced pressures. I thought we did a pretty good job picking it up.
“On the first third-down of the game, we pick up a really tough pressure, have a wide open post route. We just have to hit it. And then later on, we pick up another pressure from the field and we have an opportunity on third and long to (Daniel) Arias. We got to catch it. And then on that fourth down, picked up another pressure… it’s just putting all the pieces together. The o-line is starting to be the most consistent as we’ve grown through the changes in the o-line and who’s playing where. I’ve seen a lot of growth there. Just the throwing and catching of the football is where we have to go win football games and there are opportunities there but have to make those plays.”
“I think that is the five (Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan, Tommy Brown, Van Wells, Casey Roddick and Jake Wiley). I think Frank (Fillip) and ‘Tank,’ that left tackle, is a good rotation there between those two guys. Tank is a starter but Frank has played a lot of football here. I like Frank at left. I think Jake is starting to solidify the right tackle position. The guys that graded out at a high level were Tommy and Casey. Those guys played really good football last night.” 
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