BOULDER – University of Colorado head football coach Gary Barnett held his weekly media luncheon Tuesday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center, as Barnett and junior quarterback Joel Klatt addressed the media during the afternoon press conference. The following are excerpts from the gathering, as well as several notes from the day’s practice session.
On the Missouri Game: “I was really impressed with our players and how hard we played, how poised they were, and how convinced and confident they were that we were going to win the game, even down to the last seconds. They invested a lot in that game, and I was really impressed with the way they played and impressed with the way they handled themselves. It hurt them to lose that game. We played really well on defense; we gave up one really bad play where we tripped all over each other on third-and-11. It’s sort of the way the game went for us. We couldn’t make a (big) play and we really needed to do that. We just had a number of plays that we needed to make, and we didn’t in a big game like that. Even all the way down to that last play in the endzone (where Evan Judge appeared to score but had the ball ripped away for an interception). You can look at that (replay) 10 times and still come out of it with two opinions. It seems like to me if you go up and you have the ball in your possession and then your feet come down, at worse case it’s a simultaneous catch and it should go to the offense. It didn’t get called that way, but you could certainly see why or how somebody could make that call. But that is the kind of play we needed to make, but we just couldn’t quite make it.
“Now we have to regroup and we have to put all that behind us. It’s not as easy to do, sometimes, as you’d think. I don’t know if I am concerned, but we have to put it behind us and we have to get on. Today’s practice, usually when you get pads on for the first time, you feel a lot better and you can get it behind you. That’s what I anticipate with our team this week, and I think the good thing is that we get another chance to play.”
On Oklahoma State: “We are playing a team that is very physical. They’ve really perfected the art of running the football. They do it with two tights, a flanker and then a fullback — a 260-pound fullback — and there is not much doubt as to who’s going to get the football. You know it’s probably going to be a run, so you really have to gear up for a game like that. Their quarterback (Donovan Woods) threw it 22 times in the last game, which is more than he did combined in the first three. So, I think they are starting to get him more comfortable throwing the football. They have got tremendous receivers; (D’Juan) Woods is a heck of a player. They have as much talent as anybody at receiver. If they can find a way to get the ball to them in the air, as well running as successfully as they have, then they are really going to be quite a threat for everybody in our conference.
“I know coach (Les) Miles, and no coach wants to be one-dimensional even though sometimes you settle for it. They are going to need to become more two-dimensional, and as we go through the conference you need to be. But in 2002 , we never really got the passing game going; we were pretty much like Oklahoma State is right now, and we were able to survive and end up in the championship game.
“I think the teams that they’ve played so far they pretty much just beat them up physically. They just went after UCLA and just ran the ball down the field. Each game they’ve tried to throw more, and they did (the most) against Iowa State. Part of that is just bringing along their young quarterback, and getting him a good feel for the offense. If he gets (the ball) in an area, I’m sure those (receivers) are going to get it.
“Defensively, they are a 4-2-5 scheme, which we are somewhat familiar with. We saw a little bit of it last week, we’ll see it this week and we’ll see it again before the year is over. The point is that we have to solve that (scheme) for our offense because we weren’t able to last week. Usually that comes down to just a couple guys making plays, getting the ball out and giving them a chance. We have to find a way to increase our first down percentages, because we were really bad on first down last week, especially in the second half. That really makes your play calling tough when you’re behind on downs in the second half, which we were. It was run, pass, pass; we just weren’t gaining enough with the run to help ourselves. We have to get better on first down, with a combination of calls and the execution of plays we’ve got called. And we will — you always achieve what you emphasize, and we’ll emphasize that this week.
“This is a key game for us. Obviously every game is key for us in this conference since we’re behind one. Obviously we need some help from someone with Missouri, but we can’t worry about that and we can’t think about that. We have to take care of ourselves and do the right things to get ready for this game. This game becomes critical for us, so fortunately it’s at home and that helps a little bit. I expect a very physical game from Oklahoma State. They are playing with a lot of confidence. They are plus-13 in the takeaway column, which is unbelievable because they’ve only turned the ball over one time. That plus-13 is quite a number we’re dealing with, so we have to protect the football this week; we can’t have it batted down or intercepted.
“Defensively, the strength of their team is the secondary. They are really good in the secondary. They’re never out of position, they run really well and they tackle well. They have a big team — not as big as Missouri was — but they are a speed team that gets to the ball. They are fundamentally sound. Coach (Bill) Clay has been in this defense for a long time, and he knows the ins and outs of it. They get a lot of people on the ball and they use their speed to get to the ball. Things aren’t open very long.”
On CB Darrent Williams: “I’d hate to lose a first-team all-Big 12 player, but like I said the strength of their team is in the secondary. Any one of the guys who they’re going to replace him with — if he’s out — have been a starter or played a lot before. So, it’s not like they’re playing rookies back there. But, you do hate to lose an all-Big 12 performer, especially a guy who’s so good in the punt return game.”
On CU’s Offensive Scheme: “We’ve got to play better than we did last week against Missouri, and we all know that. You have to go into every game figuring you’re going to block (the defense well). Otherwise, we are going to get ourselves in a situation like Washington State where you are so help and protection conscious that you don’t have much offense to call. You have to go in thinking you’ll block well and also have a scheme that will help protect, as well.”
On OSU TB Vernand Morency: “He’s got great balance; he’s strong and he seems to have great vision. He’s 5-11, 215 and he cuts well. But he’s also physical — he can go right inside or bounce outside. He’s pretty versatile from that standpoint.”
QB JOEL KLATT
On the Physical Play at Missouri: “I definitely saw a difference between Missouri versus North Texas and CSU, but Washington State was very physical and I could see the difference between conferences. The Pac-10 is a big time conference. The physicality picked up a little bit. Missouri is a very good team up front, so that caused us some problems and consequently we didn’t make enough plays.”
On the MU Game/General: “That game is one of those games where we were close and consistency on offense hurt us. In terms of week-to-week, we haven’t been able to put back-to-back games together, or quarters together. I think that we need to strive for consistency a little bit better. I think that (MU’s) defensive tackles caused a few problems; they’re very good football players that have played a lot of Big 12 football. Other than that we need to put that game behind us and continue on from there.
“I think that we can pay more attention to details individually on offense. We had some big plays slip away from us, obviously. When it comes down to it, our defense made the plays to give us the chances and our offense didn’t make the plays to get in the end zone or give us a chance to score. It is a situation of missed opportunities for us and we just need to make more plays.
“I thought that we had a very good game plan. I thought that we had some things there to make some plays, but we didn’t make plays to capitalize on our opportunities.”
On Oklahoma State: “Offensive lines dictate a lot in terms of what your team is going to be like. They’re obviously running the football well right now. When your offensive front is good, and your defense has to play them everyday in practice, then your defense is going to be physical like that. So, I’m looking for them to be very stout up front defensively. I’m expecting them to have guys that will really get in there and get tangled up a little bit. They also have some tremendously talented players in the secondary.
“The next two games are huge for us, and every one from here on out will be huge in the Big 12. We’re not in any shape to be looking ahead of anyone right now. Oklahoma State is absolutely a tremendous ball club, so it will take our best effort of the season to beat them. We need to cure things on our side and make sure that we’re ready and able to play well on Saturday.
“Honestly, when you look at a defense you have to look at the middle of the defense. Any defense with a good tackle, linebacker and safety is normally going to be a good defense. A corner can only do so much. Can he shut down part of the field? Absolutely. If (Williams) is not playing we’ll probably be able to spread the ball out. He’s a tremendous player, and if he’s not playing it will allow us to do some more things, but it’s not as if an all-Big 12 nose tackle isn’t playing.”
On TB Bobby Purify: “It will be a little bit more difficult, but guys will just have to step up. That’s why we’re here on scholarship. Lawrence (Vickers) is a terrific back. He’ll be able to carry the ball, as well as Daniel (Jolly). They each have Big 12 carries under their belt and we’ll need to get them prepared. I know Bobby will try to play. I had the same exact injury last year and I know he’ll be gutting it out pretty seriously. But in the event he can’t carry the ball we’ll find a way with Lawrence.
“I still think I (Purify) can be effective (if he plays with pain) because he knows the offense inside and out. LV is about the same in knowing the offense. So I don’t think it will hurt us tremendously. But a player with his ability and leadership capabilities, it hurts us a little bit if he’s not 100 percent.”
On His Play Thus Far: “With the exception of the Washington State game I feel as though I’ve played pretty consistently. My completion percentage is up there close to 60 percent. I feel as though we’re playing ball well and I’m managing the offense well.”