We did a Q&A with Buff Stampede Publisher Adam Munsterteiger who broke down the Colorado team for this weeks game.
Defensively, what is the goal for Saturday?
"Well, if you ask Colorado's coaches of course they will give you a politically correct answer about how they expect to compete against Oregon. In all reality, though, Colorado is going to give up a lot of points on Saturday. If the Buffs give up those points because Oregon's dynamic athletes make exceptional plays, I think Colorado fans, coaches and players could live with that. If Oregon scores a bulk of its points because of missed tackles and blown assignments that would be a different story.
"The Buffaloes' defense has actually improved quite a bit under the new staff after ranking dead last in the nation in scoring defense in 2012. But they won't be able to stop Oregon's offense. They probably won't even be able to slow it down. Who can?"
The freshman linebacker Gillam has looked good early, is that indicative of his talent or the competition? How did so many teams miss on that guy?
"I would say it is more indicative of his talent. Addison Gillam is 6-foot-3.75, 225-pounds and runs like a deer. He actually returned punts and kicks during his high school career so he is a really good athlete. Gillam leads the Pac-12 in tackles per game early on this season at 11.3, 2.5 more than any other defender in the conference.
Some true freshmen hit a wall midway through the season and head coach Mike MacIntyre said Gillam needs to get a "little bit better" in run-pass recognition but he is a true playmaker at middle linebacker. He was under the radar as a recruit largely because he comes from the small town of Palo Cedro, Calif. "In high school he ran by everyone on the field and hit everybody that moved," MacIntyre said recently. "And he's a 3.6 student so I didn't understand it. I just sign what I see. I don't look at anything else."
How has the return of Paul Richardson helped new QB Connor Wood?
"The Buffs had trouble getting Richardson involved in the first three quarters of their game at Oregon State last Saturday, but he still leads the conference in receiving yards per game. Richardson's ability to stretch the field not only helps Connor Wood but helps the entire CU offense. Opposing teams always have to account for him so he opens up things for the Buffs' other receivers and even the running game.
A year ago, when Richardson was out with a torn ACL, CU had unquestionably the worst receiving corps in the Pac-12. His presence has allowed CU to rank in the top half of the conference in passing yards early on this season."
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of this team?
"The Buffaloes' ground game really struggled in their first two games but true freshman Michael Adkins rushed for 98 yards in his college debut last Saturday. He is expected to split carries with Christian Powell again this week. And CU's passing attack was solid the first two games but struggled against the Beavers. So offensively they have had a bit of an identity crisis through three games.
Defensively Colorado has a solid pass rusher in Chidera Uzo-Diribe but putting consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks has been a weakness. The Buffs' secondary has improved since last season when they ranked last in the country in pass efficiency defense but it is still susceptible to giving up big plays through the air. Oregon State's Sean Mannion threw for 414 yards against the Buffs last Saturday."
What do the fans hope to realistically see about this team on Saturday?
No sane Colorado fan expects the Buffaloes to win this Saturday, or even keep it close. I think what Colorado fans simply want to see is improvement. The Ducks could have basically named their score against the Buffs in their previous two match-ups. Last year, the Ducks had a 49-0 edge less than a quarter-and-a-half into the game. I think if the Buffs can force Marcus Mariota to play some in the second half, that would be somewhat of a moral victory for CU.