Know Your Opponent: UCLA Football vs. Colorado Buffaloes 2017

BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Steven Montez
BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Steven Montez /
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BOULDER, CO – SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Steven Montez
BOULDER, CO – SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Steven Montez /

Colorado Buffaloes Offense

Get ready for some anxiety. The Buffaloes want to run the football and have one of the better running backs in the PAC-12 to get it done with. RB Phillip Lindsay has been in school for what feels like almost ten years now and he’s only getting better and better. He’s not a big back at all and even 5 years ago someone might look at him and call him a scat-back but don’t be mistaken, he’s a bellcow for Colorado. Washington was able to shut him down with their massive defensive line and active linebackers but he shouldn’t be taken lightly. Can this UCLA Football defense known for porous run defense finally find the recipe for success?

The quarterback position is one of concern for the Buffs. Steven Montez takes over for Sefo Liufau after he brought the program back to relevance. Gifted with an NFL ready frame and a rocket arm, Montez has plenty of solid targets to throw to and a competent offensive line but is still young and relatively inexperienced. He can be rattled in the pocket and can be a little careless with the ball but if he can improve his fundamentals and the staff doesn’t coach the gunslinger out of him I expect to see him give the PAC-12 fits for awhile.

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On the outside the Buffaloes are well stocked with pass catchers including a guy who Montez should look for with more frequency. Shay Fields is another guy who feels like he’s spend the better part of the decade in college but has always been a sleeper. He’s sneaky fast and although he’s smaller in frame, he’s been a reliable pass catcher the past three seasons. He’s adjusting to a new QB but his talents are evident with the ball in his hand. He’s not doing it alone either. Keep an eye on Juwann Winfree who might have some of the strongest hands on the team. He’s a bigger guy at six-foot-three, 210 pounds but has the agility of a jitterbug receiver.

This offensive line could give the UCLA Football defense plenty of trouble. They’re large, athletic and the Buffaloes use a variety of formations to get the looks they want. Case in point, Colorado came out on third and one with a two receivers outside and three backs in the backfield stacked in an elongated I-formation. This forced the defense into a bunched up look in the box. Colorado fed the ball to the up-man who was also the fullback for a first down but the middle back came out on a fake pitch while the deepest back had a fake swing pass thrown his way. The Buffaloes can use a variety of formations because this line is solid and defenses have to pick their poison. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this formation used against the Bruins in short yardage situations.