, Colorado (PressExposure) April 25, 2009 -- The 2008 season was one of pain for the University of Colorado Buffaloes. It was a season that saw them finish 5-7 overall but a mere 2-6 in Big 12 conference games. This season was bad enough that for the first time since the 1982 season, Colorado did not send any players to postseason all-star games, and Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes left after two seasons to accept the same position at Auburn. The year began with a show of promise as the Buffaloes won their first three games, all at home in Folsom Stadium. But the season took a down turn as they dropped three straight to Florida State, Texas and Kansas.
Fans grew a bit concerned when by Christmas time, Coach Dan Hawkins only had nine commitments. The fact Coach Hawkins doesn't get the overwhelming amount of talented commitments as other Big 12 schools is not surprising when you look at his record. In his first three seasons in Colorado, he has posted records of 2-10, 6-7 and 5-7. He understands that to get the higher rated prospects, Colorado must do much better in the Big 12 rankings, and have post season play.
Coach Hawkins is optimistic, as one would come to expect from a coach in an interview, saying, "I really think we're poised to have a breakout year. I'm really excited when we do break the plane and we kind of get going, then I think you're going to see it, you know, it gets easier in a sense." However, this recruiting class is only ranked 48th in the nation, way down from last year's 15th ranked class. Colorado only signed 19 prospects this season, but for the third straight year they have managed to wrangle in the highest rated in state talent, defensive end Nick Kasa of Broomfield, which is significant considering that after the prestigious program began to fall apart, all the in state talent began looking beyond the Buffaloes.
Colorado did address two areas where they were in need of help, with the signing of four defensive linemen and three wide receivers. Kasa will more than likely be competing for immediate playing time, though defensive end Forrest West and defensive tackles Edward Nuckols and Nate Bonsu could also receive early looks. The Buffaloes ranked only 11th in the pass heavy Big 12 conference last season averaging 194 yards per game, a stat they hope to improve on this season with the addition of Andre Simmons, a transfer from Independence Community College in Kansas. Simmons was originally committed to Kansas State but switched to Colorado; however, he must become academically eligible.
Line backer Lynn Katoa could help the Buffaloes immensely if he can keep it together. He has to get his grades together to participate in spring practice and he was academically ineligible last fall after he was suspended from school the previous spring following an arrest and assault charge in an off-campus incident. Also Colorado needs to stay healthy, as nine players underwent season-ending surgeries last season and an additional five players underwent off-season surgery. If Colorado can keep healthy and get their key players aligned, they will do well this year.