BOULDER – The Colorado Buffaloes will continue in their bid for the first Pac-12 win of the Mike MacIntyre era this weekend against an opponent also seeking its first conference win – the California Golden Bears.
Despite Cal riding into Boulder in the midst of a dismal 1-9 season under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes, MacIntyre knows that the Bears come equipped with a dangerous, yet inexperienced offense that promises to give the Buffs all they can handle on Saturday.
“They play at a fast speed,” said MacIntyre. “They do a lot of quick passes and they do a lot of precision. Their running backs go in different areas. Their receivers are really starting to figure their offense out. The timing is starting to get better as the season goes along and the key is the timing of it and how they do it.”
In spite of a lack of overall team success, Cal sports a passing offense that is statistically the second best in the conference. Most of the Bears’ offensive skill positions are headed by raw underclassmen, hinting the team could be on the verge of a breakout success when that young talent begins to fully develop. Chief among that assemblage of young talent is strong-armed true freshman quarterback Jared Goff, whose 3,141 passing yards are the fifth-most in the country.
“I see (Goff) being able to make all the throws,” said MacIntyre. “He does a good job in their offense. They can definitely move the football.”
CU’s own passing game has seen its share of ups and downs in recent weeks as the Buffs tend to the development of their own raw freshman talent at quarterback, Sefo Liufau. Despite a setback against Washington, Liufau could be on the verge of playing his best football of the season. He set career-highs in both passing yards and completions for four consecutive weeks prior to last week’s loss.
Liufau’s chances to reestablish that same level of progress this week will increase infinitely if explosive wide receiver Paul Richardson returns from a high ankle sprain that has limited him in the last two weeks.
“Richardson was out there practicing this morning,” said MacIntyre. “He did a good job today and hopefully, he’ll be out there Saturday.”
Both passing games should enjoy a good amount of success as they each get the opportunity to line up against defenses that have struggled all season to slow down opposing offenses.
“It’s going to be a tough contest for us defensively, but we’re excited,” MacIntyre said. “Every game we play is going to be a battle one way or the other. They’re definitely good enough to whip us good. We’ve got to go play.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.