On Monday, we presented a first look at Arizona State's next opponent, the Colorado Buffaloes. Now, we give you a detailed, behind enemy lines look at the Buffs courtesy of our friends at RalphieReport.com. Be sure to check out our Q&A that we did with them in breaking down the Sun Devils.
House of Sparky: Colorado's struggles this season have been well documented, but what positives can you take away from the 1-4 start?
Ralphie Report: Any and all talk of positives for the 2012 Buffs season to date has to start with the significant amount of experience that freshmen on this team have been afforded. On offense, RB/FB Christian Powell has been a beast, showing some great feet to go along with his size. He very rarely carried the ball in high school (he led the way for fellow Buffalo Donta Abron) and his ceiling is very high. Another true freshman, wide receiver Gerald Thomas has shown some tantalizing speed and shiftiness out of the backfield in his small number of touches. Finally, on the defensive side of the ball, true freshman (sensing a trend here?) starting corner Kenneth Crawley, despite struggling at times, has improved from game to game and is starting to turn a corner and play like a more experienced veteran.
HoS: What is your evaluation of Jordan Webb's play so far?
RR: He earned a lot of good will with his winning drive in the Washington State game. He had fantastic 1st and 4th quarters in that game but struggled a bit in the 2nd and 3rd. He's not at all a guy that will be able to win games by himself for this team. He is much more of a "game manager" type and he needs to have experienced, talented playmakers around him. He doesn't have that right now with this Colorado team. That being said, he is a gritty kid that has been a good leader. He will have to earn the starting job again next year.
HoS: How will the Buffalo offense attack the aggressive ASU defense?
RR: If he's healthy (missed practice again today), we should hope to see a healthy dose of Christian Powell and Tony Jones. If Powell plays and can get going, he could go a long way into helping wear out the Sun Devil defensive line. But that is not looking very good at this moment. Bienemy needs to call quick passing plays that get the ball out of Jordan Webb's hands as fast as possible. I expect to see the tight end's utilized a bit more in this game as well.
HoS: What do you think Colorado's defensive game plan will be to stop the Sun Devils?
RR: Hopefully the return of Ray Polk will help to stabilize the secondary a bit. There's just so much youth back there that his injury really hurt the whole unit quite significantly and it has had a trickle down effect on the whole defense. If he is healthy enough to play at a high level again, it should have a trickle down effect on the whole defense. If the coverage can be a bit better, Chidera Uzo-Diribe and Will Pericak will have the time they need to try and get to Taylor Kelly. If Kelly is afforded plenty of time to sit in the pocket, the Buffs could be in for a long day.
HoS: What must Colorado do to win this game?
RR: They have to be able to run the ball at a consistent level and keep with it. We have seen this team have success on the ground but for some reason the coaching staff has gone away from it a bit too much. The crowd should be good on Thursday night and an early score or turnover could help send the volume up another notch. The defense has to be aggressive as the Buffs can't lose the turnover battle and the Colorado kickers will both have to be stellar.
We'd like to thank Jon Woods, editor-in-chief of RalphieReport.com, for given us this insider look at the Bufaloes. Be sure to check out their site for more content on Colorado.