BOULDER—Charleston Southern’s unique offensive scheme has been keeping FCS coaches up at night all season long and now it’s doing the same to Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre.
While at first glance it may not seem like an FCS opponent would present a major hurdle for a Pac-12 Conference team, Charleston Southern, at 7-0 and one of six remaining unbeaten FCS teams, and its distinct offensive style offer many challenges.
“(Their offense) is very unique. It really is,” said MacIntyre. “They do a good job with it. It’s in between a pistol offense and a Navy (type) offense. It’s kind of a hybrid. So we’ve been working at it hard and studying it. You’ve got to be good on your option responsibilities or they’ll lull you to sleep and throw it deep. Our guys have been working hard at it and we were a lot smoother at it today I thought.”
This game will mark the fifth time in its history that CU has faced an FCS foe, and in the four previous games the Buffs have been anything but dominant. Colorado has a 2-2 record in those matchups and even the two wins required dramatic comebacks in the fourth quarter.
Earlier this season, the Buffaloes came back from seven points down in the fourth to beat FCS power Central Arkansas. MacIntyre is quick to point out that if the Buffs are to win this week they will have to play significantly better against what he feels is superior opponent than the team they played on that day.
“Well, offensively they’re able to hold onto the ball and move the ball and do some things there,” said MacIntyre. “They have more of an arsenal on their defense. They’re bringing people from different places some and they’re good in that area of it. They’re kicking game is good but I thought Central Arkansas had some very good returners. But, I think offensively and defensively they’re better than Central Arkansas. They’re going to be tough to beat.”
The Buccaneers have overcome a season-ending injury to their senior quarterback, a daunting schedule and a number of fourth quarter deficits in battling their way to 7-0. Most significant of those setbacks may have been the loss of multi-talented quarterback Malcolm Dixon to a torn ACL three weeks ago. But, in the true mark of a resilient team, have kept on winning. Freshman quarterback Danny Croghan has come off the bench to lead two fourth quarter comebacks and has helped the passing game reach even higher levels of success. MacIntyre and his staff feel like their opponent hasn’t skipped a beat as a result of their unfortunate loss at quarterback.
“They’re throwing the ball better with the new quarterback,” said MacIntyre. “He’s a better passer. That adds another element to it but they’re still running the option well and he’s running it pretty good.”
NOTABLE—MacIntyre told the media that he thought defensive tackle Josh Tupou played well on Saturday one week after suffering an injury that appeared earlier in the week like it might have sidelined him. He credited the trainers for working to get Tupou back on the field so quickly ..... MacIntyre thinks the rules committee should look into changing the NCAA’s new targeting rule after Parker Orms’ second quarter hit on a receiver resulted in his being ejected from the game. “There’s nothing you can do about it right now but after the season I think there will be a little bit of reevaluating as far as exactly how we want to implement (the rule).” ..... MacIntyre has been impressed with the play of kicker Will Oliver so far this season. Oliver had to assume the kickoff duties on short notice after the injury to Justin Castor towards the end of fall camp and he has adjusted nicely to the added responsibility with comes in addition to his usual placekicking duties. CU will continue preparation for this weekend’s tilt with Charleston Southern with another morning practice on Thursday. The game will begin at 12:07 p.m. on Saturday and be televised on the Pac-12 Network.