Before this weekend’s big showdown at Colorado, our friends over at The Ralphie Report were kind enough to exchange some questions and answers about Oregon State’s upcoming opponent. You can see our responses to their questions here, as we continue to previewing the meeting with the Buffs.
Quarterback Steven Montez won the "Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week” last week against Oregon, leading the Buffs to a 41-38 victory over the Ducks in his first ever college start. It’ll surprise most people to know he wasn’t even the program’s starter to kick-off the season. Sefo Liufau was. So the question remains, what is the deal with the quarterback situation at the moment? Has Montez secured the job with his one big outing or is Liufau healthy and going to get the benefit of the doubt to start this weekend?
TRR: Well, the deal is, CU has two seemingly great options at quarterback for the first time in forever (got my one Frozen soundtrack mention in, pay me Disney). Sefo Liufau had a fantastic two and a half weeks at the beginning of the year, torching two unprepared secondaries in CSU and ISU, and then surprising the Michigan secondary with his posts and long bombs. After his injury in the third quarter, Steven Montez stepped in, and struggled against the Wolverines. When CU fans found out Montez would be the starter minutes before game-time, they were nervous, as I’m sure Steven was. We all know how that turned out. The Buffs can now wait for Sefo to be fully healthy before making him the starter again, and Montez is ready to lead the team in the meantime. If Liufau is 100%, he will start this year. However, for Oregon State, I would say that’s not very likely. So expect Montez again, but don’t rule out Sefo.
Oregon State is 1-2 coming into this game, with losses to Minnesota and Boise State on their resume, their only two legitimate opponents on the year. Colorado is 3-1, with wins over rival Colorado State and Oregon, and their only loss on the season coming to #4 Michigan. It’s safe to say it’s no surprise that the Buffs enter this one as a 16.5 point favorite. Could you give the biggest reason why Colorado will and one reason why Colorado won’t cover the spread on Saturday?
TRR: Well, given the line being that large, there are plenty of reasons to expect them to cover. The salty defense will give the Beavers a very difficult time moving the ball, and the offense has put up points on everybody it has played. Oregon State is one of the few teams the Buffs can “out-athlete”, and combine that with the great coaching we’ve seen thus far, it makes for a good combo. However, Oregon State is the much more solid team on special teams, and a few blunders can make this game interesting. The Beavers’ defense also looks to be better than Oregon’s, so there is the distinct possibility that Montez struggles to move the ball on offense. If this turns into a defensive slugfest, it’s possible no one scores seventeen points, let alone outscores someone by that much.
It was a good week for Colorado. They knocked off Oregon on Saturday in Eugene. They got their first conference win. They received votes in both the AP and Coaches Poll. It couldn’t really have gone much better. Is it too early to start considering the Buffs as a serious contender in the Pac-12 South Division?
TRR: I will say yes, but mostly for my mental stability. They’ve probably deserved the discussion, but the minute I think that CU can win the Pac-12 South division is the minute I start to yell and buy things I shouldn’t. Unless I want to pay for a hotel in Pasadena and line up for Rose Bowl tickets, I can’t say that CU is in the discussion for the South division. They are tied for first right now, and they have a good shot at running the table at home, but we’ll see.
Every team has that one “under-the-radar" player who has the ability at any moment to make some huge plays and completely change the context of the game. Who would you say is that guy on this Colorado team this season?
TRR: Hmm… Under the radar guy… Well, I’m going to have to go with Josh Tupou. As much as a 340 pound man can be, I feel like he’s flying a bit under the radar. Tupou has been performing like a legit NFL prospect at nose tackle, holding the line of scrimmage and blowing up run plays before they develop. I’ve been particularly impressed with his ability to hold his blocks while moving with the play laterally, and then shedding the lineman to make the tackle. Look for number 58 out there on Saturday, though he’s hard to miss. You will see an immovable object and an unstoppable force. His dominance at the point of attack allows the rest of this defense to fly to the ball.
Earlier this season, Washington State head coach Mike Leach in one of his infamous rants referred to his team as “the easiest team in the country to tackle”. If you could describe this Colorado team in one single sentence, what would you refer to them as?
TRR: They are Coach Mac’s dream.