Midseason report: Colorado


Record: 1-5, 1-2

Coming into the season, Colorado had 16 true freshmen on its depth chart. That alone should have served fair warning for what was coming up.

And, yes, the Buffs have played like a very young football team through the first half of the season. The numbers paint a clear picture: Colorado is last in scoring offense and last in scoring defense. On average, the Buffs are giving up twice as many points as they have scored. From offense to defense, Colorado is near or at the bottom of almost every category.

Except, wait for it, red zone offense? That's right. Once the Buffs get inside the 20, they are remarkably efficient. They are the only team in the conference not to commit either a fumble or interception in the red zone and they have converted on 15 of 17 chances. Only Oregon has a higher red zone conversion percentage.

That's something to build off, right? Absolutely. In a season loaded with downers -- which actually started in the preseason when wide receiver Paul Richardson was lost for the year -- you take whatever you can build on and run with it.

Say this for coach Jon Embree and Co., there hasn't been much quit in them. They stormed back in the fourth quarter to shock Washington State for their lone win of the season. They played a very good Arizona State team tough for the first 30 minutes. The fact is Colorado just doesn't have the experience yet to make any waves. But that's what this year is all about. All of these players who are taking their lumps in 2012 are going to be better for it in 2013 and beyond. Ask Mike Riley about that. The recipe seems to be working at Oregon State.

Offensive MVP, Nelson Spruce. With all of the question marks at quarterback, and the occasional shuffling, Spruce has been a very steady contributor. With 27 catches for 291 yards and two touchdowns, he's made all of the tough catches (some of them probably shouldn't have been caught) and he's taken control of a wide receiver corps that looked shaky at best when Richardson went down.

Defensive MVP, Chidera Uzo-Diribe: The Buffs haven't done much against the run and they haven't been fantastic at getting to the quarterback. Uzo-Diribe has been the exception. He's tied for fifth in the Pac-12 with six sacks and a pair of tackles for a loss. He's tallied 21 total tackles and 18 of them have been solo.