BOULDER – University of Colorado head football coach Gary Barnett held his weekly media luncheon Tuesday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center, as Barnett addressed the media during the afternoon press conference. The following are excerpts from the gathering.
On the Texas Game: “We didn’t spend a lot of time looking at Texas (film) as a team. We did as a staff, but we also just decided that at this point in time we need to look forward and not spend so much time looking back. I think as a staff, we can tell what we did, at least physically wrong, and we have to try to correct those things. But, we did not spend much time showing our guys the Texas film — just didn’t see a need to do it. What we have got to do is concentrate on what we can do now and look forward to what can happen. With Texas, we hung on for a while, and then we just couldn’t make any plays, and I’m not sure why. I can’t put my finger on that.”
On the Kansas Game: “All of our efforts are going towards Kansas now and the opportunities out there for us. One thing that we’ve got to be careful of is that we’ve just got to look towards Kansas. That is the only team we are playing and that’s the only team we can be concerned about. Kansas always plays us tough and it’s always a good, hard-fought game. They are really dangerous on offense because they do so many different things. They have got some weapons. Statistically that doesn’t show, but I know our defensive coaches feel that (TB John) Randle is probably the second best back we’re going to face after (Texas’ Cedric) Benson. They are going to start (quarterback) No. 8 (Jason) Swanson, and he really moves well. He is an option type of quarterback; so we expect more option out of him, quarterback runs and draws. He made a couple big throws in the K-State game to beat Kansas State. They have been trying to bring him along and bring him along, so now with the other kid being hurt they are going to play him.
“Defensively, they are really impressive. For the last two years they have just steadily improved on defense. They are really sound; they really tackle well. They make very few mistakes and they make you earn everything. There are no big plays against them. You have to take the ball and drive it, sustain it and keep possession of it. And, this is what we haven’t done. So, this is our challenge: to be that kind of team. Kansas, statistically on defense, they are right in the middle of the pack — much higher than we are. So, practice today is critical. We have to have a good practice today and tomorrow. For us, the key to winning the game is to find a way to move the ball on their defense — finding some way to move the ball. (We cannot) get caught up in all the options. There are a lot of smoke and mirrors with their offense and a lot of different things they do — a lot of trick plays. We just have to be really sound.
“Their defense has kept them in every game. They’ve played two quarterbacks (often) and they played three last week, so I’d image that they just want to settle down a bit and go with one guy. This particular quarterback (Swanson) is a J.C. transfer, and they are probably just now at the point where they feel comfortable with him. And, you worry about a team that is just getting to that point, especially as steadily as their defense is playing; nobody has moved the ball on them.
“They are just really solid (defensive) players, and they’re all good tacklers. They play a scheme that doesn’t give up the big play. They are a ‘bend don’t break’ kind of scheme and they tackle really well. You can never fool them and they never get out of position and you never get a big play out of them. They are deadly on defense about screen passes; nobody is able to do anything with them.
“This (Kansas) team plays hard every snap. Last year I felt that way, and the year before when we played there I went in the locker room after that game and was so impressed with the way they played every minute. That’s the way they play right now. You turn the film on and the first thing you say is, ‘Man, those guys play hard.’”
On CU’s Current Mindset/Play: “We sort of have to look at this as a three-game season. We always try to play our best football in November. We have a saying that says, ‘They remember what you do in November,’ and that’s the kind of team we want to be.
“I think we are making considerable progression our secondary. I think that group has steadily improved every week. Now we just need to be a little more disciplined.
“On special teams, with John Torp and our punting game, we are leading the country in net punting (42.1 yards) and second in the country in punting (47.1 yards). He is doing a great job. We need to get (Mason) Crosby back involved in there and get a little bit closer.
“We (CU’s offense) can’t change. We have to get better at what we do. You just can’t (change). If you can add one new play a week, then that is pretty significant. We just have to get better at what we do and find better ways of doing it. Most of it is getting better at what we do. We had no running game last week. We’ve got to get better and remain balanced. While we knew we had to throw it a little bit, we didn’t want to have to throw it as much as we did. But, the way the game was going, we shot ourselves in the foot and couldn’t get any rhythm going in the first half. We got a little bit in the in the second half, but not enough.
“Texas did a couple things to us that they hadn’t done all year, and I’m sure Kansas is going to try to play to that too. On the other side of that, you have to figure that the team that had it done to them is going to fix it this week. You can’t wholesale it out, but you do add a wrinkle or two.”