Brooks: Buffs Plod Into November Still Seeking Answers
EUGENE, Ore. - Just over two hours before kickoff here Saturday, Eric Bieniemy was standing outside the Colorado locker room, coffee in hand, watching it rain. CU's offensive coordinator reminisced on a 2004 UCLA game in Autzen Stadium when he and his current boss, Jon Embree, were Bruins assistant coaches.
UCLA, playing a freshman tailback and "two tight ends you never heard of," recalled Bieniemy, upset Oregon 34-26. In place of injured starter Maurice Drew, third-stringer Chris Markey ran for 131 yards and caught five passes for 84 yards as the Bruins became bowl eligible.
Ah, sweet memories . . .
Much later Saturday afternoon, Bieniemy left Autzen Stadium with another collection of flashbacks, most of which won't rest comfortably in his memory banks. No upsets on this trip, unless the flips and heaves of his and Embree's stomachs count.
Oregon's second-ranked Ducks won in a walk, 70-14, pushing CU further into a mid-season free-fall since its long-ago win at Washington State on Sept. 22. Oregon, meanwhile, performed like a national title contender, which Embree believes is accurate and entirely possible.
"I've been saying all week they have a great opportunity to hold that crystal ball at the end of the year," he said. "I felt that before we played them and I feel the same way now."
For the Buffs, meanwhile, the end is in sight - but it isn't the kind of conclusion anyone in Boulder could have imagined. CU will plod into November with one win and seven losses - the five most recent low-lighted by blowouts of 55, 28, 34, 44 and 56 points. That's an average of 43.2 points per loss.
Embree was asked if he had hopes for defensive improvement in the season's final month. "You have to . . . you have to," he answered. "But there's no quick fix for that. We've got to get our guys playing better on that side and get some stops."
The stops were few Saturday. By halftime, Oregon had punched up 56 points and 447 yards in total offense. The Ducks finished with their highest point total ever in conference play and 617 total yards. Their speed left Buffs tacklers grasping and groping, but then the Buffs had been engaged in those shoddy practices for the last couple of weeks...more