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    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Three And Out: FSU-Colorado Game

    I am pleased that Colorado sports journalist Kyle Ringo has agreed to answer my "Three And Out" questions regarding the University of Colorado football team. Kyle answered my questions last year and has been kind enough to do so again this year. Kyle grew up in Colorado and is in his fifth season covering CU football for the Daily Camera. He has a Daily Camera Blog which covers CU football news. Thanks again to Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions.

    1. The Colorado defense must be smiling after the play of the Nole offense against Wake on Saturday night. With that said. how would you assess the QB play of Cody Hawkins through the first three games of the season?

    I would say outside of a couple of bad decisions, he has been pretty good. He led his team to a game-tying touchdown late in a closer-than-expected win over Eastern Washington. It was a pretty clutch drive by him. He's completing 70 percent of his throws and he will throw the deep ball on occasion with a few more options around him and more speed than last year. However, two of the bad throws he has made were intercepted and led to touchdowns for the opponent. One was returned for a TD. He still gets a pass or two batted down at the line of scrimmage each week, and he's doesn't have the strongest arm in the world. Another thing I've noticed about him this year is he will occasionally make something happen with his feet. That has been a hole in this offense.

    2. What do you see as the major strengths of this Colorado team this year?

    I think Cody's feel for the game and leadership are one strength and the defense is another. The defense has been a bend'but-don't break bunch for the most part. They have given up a few big plays, two last week in the running game against West Virginia, but they have been tough to score against. It makes sense with seven seniors starting on that side of the ball.

    3. Most Nole fans have not had the opportunity to see Colorado play other than the Thursday night game last week. What Colorado players are keys to the game on Saturday when they take on FSU?

    Cody is obvious, but I really think this game hinges on how the CU offensive line plays. This is a young group. Center Daniel Sanders is an experienced senior who has been playing since he was a sophomore, after that, the most experienced guy is a sophomore (right tackle Ryan Miller) who became a starter midway through last season. If the line can block at all, CU has definitely upgraded in the backfield with Darrell Scott and Rodney Stewart. Both of those guys can take it to the house.

    Wide receiver Josh Smith is also a threat. He has scored a touchdown in every game so far. He's also dangerous in the return game. He returned on kickoff for a score, got caught by a shoestring at the 4-yard line on a punt return and barely missed returning two other kickoffs for touchdowns.

    Defensively, the Buffs two senior tackles are tough. George Hypolite could be an All-American and will be playing on Sunday's next year. Brandon Nicolas has a shot to make it in the NFL, too. Senior outside linebacker Brad Jones is sort of all all-purpose guy on defense. He rushes the passer, covers backs and tight ends and is solid in run support.

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