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Colorado's New Offense: Square Peg Meet Round Hole

The Dan Hawkins era at Colorado took yet another step towards "train wreck" with the departure of offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich for Oregon last month after spring practice. Knowing the importance of continuity, Hawkins promoted Eric Kiesau from receivers coach to offensive coordinator.

Then throwing caution aside, Kiesau and Hawkins made the decision to change the offense, going to a pro-style attack. You know, big running backs and a solid pocket passer.

All things the Buffs lack.

Sure, Colorado has a nice stable of running backs, but they tend to be undersized: 5'7" 175 lb Brian Lockridge, 5'7" 170 lb Rodney Stewart, 5'10" 215 lb Demetrius Sumler, and 6'1" 200 lb Darrell Scott give the Buffaloes depth. But 5'11" Cody Hawkins as a pocket passer?

Are you kidding me?

Now, perhaps they can streamline the transition by basing the new offense out of the old offense, but fall practice is a poor time to teach a new offense. And as Nebraska fans learned the hard way in 2004, implementing a pro-style offense when you don't have pro-style personnel is tough enough.

"Ten wins and no excuses"? The Hawk Watch is now on in Boulder.

Update: 5/28/2009

Buffalo fans took a wee-bit of offense to this entry, pointing out that Kiesau is merely accelerating the plans to go to a two-back rushing attack. Something that I think is a good move, though I still wonder if the Buffs backs still aren't a little undersized for this type of attack.

Where Buff fans are really upset is my portrait of the new offense as increasing the passing load on Cody Hawkins. Maybe that's not Kiesau's plan; I inferred that based on the "pro style" label. Fact is NFL offenses throw the ball more than they run the ball, and that's a scheme that ill-suits Hawkins. I think the discrepency is that Buff fans read Kiesau's plans as "run the ball heavily out of a two back set" like many NFL teams do at times; I read it as implementing a pro-style attack where Hawkins (or Hansen) would be asked to average 35 to 40 passes a game.

We'll see what Kiesau actually implements. We'll do a more indepth preview of the Buffs later this summer.