As part of our expanded coverage of Oregon football, this week we also spent the time to ask John Henderson, who covers the Buffaloes for the Denver Post, for his take on a few topics related to this game.
|Paul Richardson is fully recovered from injury|
A: The expectations were to get the program back on an upward arc. The two wins weren't over impressive opponents but this is a once-proud championship major program that lost to those types of teams (Toledo, Sacramento State, blown out at Fresno State). The OSU pratfall brought them surely back to earth. They realize they haven't arrived. In fact, they must wonder how much they've really improved. That's a bad defense they couldn't move against.
Q: What does new head coach Mike MacIntyre's long term philosophy as a coach look like?
A: MacIntyre wants a fast-paced, no-huddle, potent offense with a tight-knit team fostered by numerous coaching techniques. He has team leaders who are assigned certain players to mentor. They look after each other. He's also not a screamer. He encourages rather than discourages which is what the previous staff brought with them from the NFL.
Q: After last year's performance at Autzen and this weekends performance against the Beavers, what are the fan expectations for this game and the rest of the season? (Are they more hopeful than last year about the long term prognosis?)
A: This is impossible to answer. I'm still in Portland. but generally, going into the season fans weren't expecting much. It's seven straight losing seasons and MacIntyre inherited little. They're coming off the worst season in school history and lost their two best offensive lineman and best defensive lineman. The two early wins merely showed they might not get humiliated as they did in the past. Myself, I picked they'd go 3-9 with wins over CSU and Central Arkansas. Frankly, I didn't know where they'd get a third win. I figured someone like Cal or Utah would show up in Boulder hung over. I stick to my original pick.
Q: Former athletic director Mike Bohn seemed to make a great basketball hire, why were his football hires so bad?
A: Good question. With Hawkins, Bohn got caught up with the flavor of the month and Hawkins' Zen BS made Bohn think he'd be a good fit in Boulder. It didn't take long to realize that Chris Petersen was the brains behind Hawkins' success at Boise State. Bohn said he couldn't pay market value for the successor so he went cheap with a popular alum with NFL experience in Jon Embree. Bohn went after Les Miles who yawned, Troy Calhoun who parlayed that into a raise, didn't like Jim McElwain and got wowed by Embree who's a great interview. Bohn might've connected with MacIntyre. He's a good fit. And anyone who turns around San Jose State can get Colorado to .500.
Q: Can MacIntyre succeed in bringing in the talent level he will need to
compete in the Pac-12?
A: No one knows. The more Colorado loses, the harder it is to recruit. He must battle facilities that are by far the worst in the conference and fund raising toward a planned $170 million facilities renovation isn't going real well. The turnaround will be up to new AD Rick George as much as MacIntyre. He found gems under rocks around California to turn around San Jose State. But you can't win in the Pac-12 with sleepers.