CU safety Trevor Woods is developing a reputation as a fierce hitter.
Neill Woelk, editor
BLOCK – With a 1-8 record and three games to play – all against teams ranked in the top 25 in the nation – it’s not easy to identify many positives for the Colorado Buffaloes.
Saturday’s latest loss, a 49-10 loss at the hands of No. 8 Oregon, even added an injury to the insult. Colorado freshman wide receiver Jordyn Tysonwho established himself as one of the best young players in the Pac-12, suffered a “significant” injury in the fourth quarter and the immediate prognosis was not good.
But Tyson isn’t the only Colorado player to show promise in recent weeks. CU have a number of other young players who are getting their baptism under fire and will benefit from that experience in the coming years.
So, our takeaways from Saturday’s game:
1. Player development will be key in the streak. Don’t suggest the trainer Mike Sanford and its staff will sacrifice older gamers’ game time to simply provide younger gamers with valuable shots.
But CU coaches have done a good job over the past four weeks developing players who could be impact contributors in the future. With Tyson, the group includes the defensive back Simeon Harrislinebacker Aubrey Smith and offensive lineman Van Wells – all freshmen – plus second lineman O Gerard Christian-Lichtenhanredshirt freshman catcher Jack Hestera and second linebacker Mr Williams.
These are just a few of the players who could be big contributors next year if all goes well. Which brings us to…
2. Player Retention. Sanford has made it clear that a key part of CU’s future will be convincing these young players to stick with the program.
Sanford and his team have done a good job of making sure CU players are aware of the benefits of playing Boulder, and they’re also doing what they can to actively improve those prospects. Colorado coaches are still actively recruiting — both newcomers and current players — and their influence will be significant in this final month of the season.
3. Trevor Wood quickly becomes a fundamental piece of the puzzle. The CU sophomore safety is developing a reputation as a heavy hitter with excellent instincts that can produce momentum-changing moments.
Woods had 10 tackles — nine solo — and a forced fumble against the Ducks. For the season, he has 77 tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception and a pass breakup.
Woods will be a vital cog in the CU defense over the next two years, both as a playmaker and leader.
4. J.T. Shout must take the next step at quarterback. From the day he arrived on campus, Shrout’s arm skills have been unmistakable. The Tennessee transfer can sling him. Now Shrout needs to develop the intricacies of positional play.
It’s easy to forget that Shrout has a grand total of six college starts — half a season — under his belt. But over time, his completion percentage (currently just 44.5) will be closely watched, along with his ability to track his progress and remove some of his fastball if necessary.
Shrout undoubtedly has the physical tools. If he can develop the finer points of the position, he can be a competitive piece of the Colorado quarterback puzzle going forward.
5. No one remaining on CU’s schedule is unbeatable. Late Saturday night, the Cal team that Colorado beat in overtime pushed USC to the limit before finally succumbing, 41-35. Cal also brought Washington to the wire earlier this year.
No doubt the Buffs will have to produce their best performance of the year to be in one of their three remaining games. But with nothing to lose, they have a chance to create memories worth taking home.