TE Joe Klopfenstein

2003 Statistics

Interim Coach: Brian Cabral
Coach: Gary Barnett

34-28, 5 years
2003 Record: 5-7
Colorado State   WON 42-35
UCLA WON 16-14
at Florida State LOST 7-47
at Baylor LOST 30-42
at Kansas State LOST 20-49
at Texas Tech LOST 21-26
at Iowa State WON 44-10

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

Following back-to-back north division championships, Colorado dropped back a notch in 2003. Making matters worse was a ridiculously tumultuous off-season which featured the embarrassment of the program and questioned the integrity of the university. The program's recruiting scandals have been the story of the off-season. And, after much controversy and disagreement, this all eventually led to the administrative suspension of in-denial head coach Gary Barnett. Forget the escorts - what about his disrespectful comments and attitudes towards past kicker Katie Hnida, as well as her claims of rape? For a team which entered the off-season with the hopes of turning the program around, the timing (of Barnett's circumstances) could not have been timed worse. But, with the bed for the team he and the university have made now, the players must get acclimated to an "interim" staff, and relearn the system a new way. And a new hiring could make all of this have to happen again. Adversity often makes bad situations worse, but it also has a tendency to bring people closer to together. Considering the events of the last few months, the Buffs need to take that unity and turn it into an "Us-against-the -world" mentality.

The program has shamed itself, and, in many ways, has turned into a public enemy of sorts. While winning football games is obviously one key, this ostensibly makes how students are lured to the program (and how they subsequently are graduated) more important for shaping the minds of these young athletes. The school must win back its national respectability first, but ignoring the situation has been the M.O. for interim coach Brian Cabral. Who can (somewhat) blame him, for the focus has to be football. Yet, without this situation being resolved, it will be a dark cloud that will plague the team at unpredictable times in unpredictable ways.

On the field, a postseason birth is within reach. Important is 2003's trend of outscoring opponents 200-183 in the first half, but being outscored in the second half by the "gross" margin of 212-113. Also, opponents sacked the Buffs 39 times, while they only pulled opposing QBs down 19 times. The disparaging stats continue (QB-hurries - 58 to opponent's 91, avg. gain per play 5.04 to 5.99, avg. yards per rush 2.58 to 4.02), so there is much worry for the program, its performance, but most importantly, for each of the young men and how they will deal. Talent and experience returns at almost each position, and quarterback Joel Klatt has the ability to lead the program back to prominence.

Like the entire country already expects, look for a mixed bag of performance and letdown that the team's circumstances will definitely produce. We hate to be cliché-minded, but think of the kids, please. They're experience and how football shapes adulthood needs to be paramount to winning, so lessons as the struggles continue can be character builders through facing adversity and not just avoidance. The schedule CU has to face is possibly the nation's toughest, so it just won't end for these guys until the last gun fires. And, to use another cliché, look for 2004 to show what 2005 can be.

Projected 2004 record: 6-5
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 3 LB - 3
WR - 2.5 DB - 2
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Joel Klatt, 358-233-10, 2614 yds., 21 TD

Rushing: Brian Calhoun, 195 att., 810 yds., 5 TD

Receiving: Brian Calhoun, 32 rec., 266 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Mason Crosby, 7-9 FG, 31-37 PAT, 52 pts.

Punting: John Torp, 63 punts, 42.5 avg.

Kicking: Mason Crosby, 7-9 FG, 31-37 PAT, 44 long

Tackles: J.J. Billingsley, 94 tot., 64 solo, 8 TFL

Sacks: James Garee, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Sammy Joseph, 2 for 17 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Jeremy Bloom, 24 ret., 24.5 avg., 1 TD

Punt Returns:
Jeremy Bloom, 24 ret., 12.0 avg.


QB Joel Klatt
OFFENSE: Derek McCoy-WR, D.J. Hackett-WR, John Donahoe-WR, Marwan Hage-C, Karl Allis-OT, Brian Calhoun-TB (transferred)
DEFENSE: Gabe Nyenhuis-DE, DeAndre Fluellen-DT, Sean Tufts-MLB, Clyde Surrell-SS, Medford Moorer-FS, Phil Jackson-CB, Sammy Joseph-CB (transferred), Marques Harris-DE (transferred)

The scary thing is that last season was Joel Klatt's first year as a starter. He came out of nowhere to immediately become of the Big 12's most consistent, and feared, quarterbacks. A gunslinger of sorts, Klatt does not shy away from the idea of throwing it 40 or 50 times a game. He possesses a strong arm, but thrives off his accuracy in the intermediate passing game. Physically, Klatt has all of the needed tools to become an elite passer nationally. As he becomes more comfortable, and learns the subtle idiosyncrasies of the game, he will do just that as he helps CU's pass attack rank even higher than 18th (as they did in '03). Eric Greenberg stepped in due to injury in numerous games and averaged more yards per touch than Klatt. He is obviously capable and is, too, a pure passer who could start, if needed.

Running Back
With Bobby Purify being granted an extra year of eligibility, and Brian Calhoun returning, the 'Buffs feature an impressive one-two punch that can do well in the Big 12, but failed miserably in 2003. Purify is a pure power runner, who has dominated opposing defenses throughout his career. Calhoun, who is a more speed orientated back, has good field vision, and will provide a nice change of pace to Purify. Calhoun is also a talented receiver, and can be a valuable option in the flat on third downs. Short-yardage specialist Daniel Jolly, who led the team with six rushing touchdowns in 2003, will figure into the rotation, while fullback Lawrence Vickers returns to lead the way. The unit was 113th last campaign, averaging just over 90 yards per game and 2.6 per carry. Along with ethics, the team has much to prove in this area. (TB Brian Calhoun has transferred).

Wide Receiver
This unit is incredibly unproven. With the exception of Jeremy Bloom, who's situation is unpredictable anyway, there is virtually no returning production. If Bloom does return, the team will have one of the more explosive players in college football, despite his size. Ron Montleilh has good size and should adjust well to his starting role. He should provide the leadership needed in this unit. Another California-native, Blake Mackey, will emerge as a top option. He has NFL-size and is a long-distance sprinter - Monteilh runs a 10.6-100. Mackey's skill, along with the wide-open depth chart, invites him to become a star. The unit will improve, but how much will go a long way toward outlining CU's ability to improve as a team.

Tight End
Joe Klopfenstein will be a major contributor in the passing game. He caught 20 passes in 2003, despite being overshadowed by the talent at receiver. He has a rugged frame allows to him become a viable target around the goaline and also makes him a valuable blocker. Because of the abilities of backup tight end Jesse Wallace, who like Klopfenstein, caught a pass in each game, and Quinn Sypniewski, look for Colorado to use the "ace" formation quite often. Doing so will allow them to spread the field, and take advantage of mismatches due to their rare depth with size at the position.

Offensive Line
The front five has experienced some growing pains, but will be better for them. Power-forward sized tackles Clint O'Neal and Gary Moore return, although sophomore Brian Daniels played well at the position during his first year on campus. The center spot is an area of strength, with Derek Stimrich and Mark Fenton both returning. The interior looks strong, too. Because of roster changes, injuries and inconsistent play, this unit did not continue the proud tradition of their predecessors. With promising depth and four returning starters, things should be back to normal.

The backfield is absolutely loaded. Klatt, along with Purify and Calhoun, ensure than points will be scored, and sometimes in bunches. Just like last time, Klatt (and sometimes Greenberg) are again the primaries, but concern should be paid because, in '03, they led the 18th-ranked passing offense, yet only the 28th-ranked pass-efficiency offense. This means there is much room for improvement in streamlining. Klatt must improve, no matter how good he already is (great pocket presence). The offensive line must improve as expected, and wide receiver is an obvious concern as to its time needed for development. Thankfully, a bevy of a capable tight ends return to aid the passing game, but a few downfield options must develop for the offense to reach its potency. We say work those TEs so safeties and extra men in the box cannot become common. This way, the line can play helmet-to-helmet and keep opponents honest, they key to becoming multi-dimensional on offense.


TB Bobby Purify


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Joel Klatt-Jr (6-1, 200) James Cox-So (6-3, 215)
Erik Greenberg-Jr (6-2, 200)
FB Lawrence Vickers-Jr (6-2, 230) Daniel Jolly-So (6-0, 220)
TB Bobby Purify-Sr (6-0, 220) Isaiah Crawford-Fr (5-10, 190)
Brandon Caesar-So (6-2, 210)
WR Jeremy Bloom-Jr (5-9, 175) Ron Monteilh-Sr (6-1, 190)
WR Blake Mackey-So (6-3, 195) Evan Judge-Jr (6-2, 205)
TE Joe Klopfenstein-Jr (6-5, 240) Quinn Sypniewski-Sr (6-7, 255)
Jesse Wallace-Sr (6-3, 245)
OT Sam Wilder-Sr (6-5, 285) Jack Tipton-So (6-4, 285)
OG Brian Daniels-So (6-5, 300) John Guydon-Jr (6-2, 290)
C Mark Fenton-So (6-4, 295) Terrance Barreau-Sr (6-3, 295)
OG Derek Stemrich-Sr (6-6, 285) Gary Moore-Jr (6-7, 340)
OT Clint O'Neal-Jr (6-6, 285) Edwin Harrison-Fr (6-5, 300)
K Mason Crosby-So (6-2, 195) Kevin Eberhart-So (5-10, 175)



Defensive Line
The strength is definitely the interior. Seniors Matt McChesney and Brandon Dabdoub are both gritty performers, who will provide leadership and poise, but both are sub-300 pounders. They understand the game, and understand how to work together. Will Sam Wilder play both sides of the ball, meaning he will be in on the inside-rotations? Even more depth here makes Colorado ready for Big XII play for fresh legs and plugged middles. The return of defensive end Marques Harris from injury will bolster the pass rush and add even more experience to the already veteran group. Alex Ligon and James Garee will step into the end spots for the first time to start, with one being displaced when Harris is healthy. We think Ligon is the better of the two, but barely. This should not be a marginal area this time, but a strength.

Numerous different players could fit in here, but losses make this area a concern. Thaddeus Washington, Brian Iwuh and Akarika Dawn have gotten the starting call as of spring, but all could change. Middle-man Washington is a star in the making. He has imposing size and is a ferocious tackler, but has yet to reach his potential. He makes backs and receivers think twice about running underneath. Because of the sheer number of capable players, the depth chart won't be firmly established until after spring practice. But the talent exists, so don't be surprised by a strong showing, yet, likewise, be ready for the unit to never gel and be a liability again. When the team gets rid of a LB corps that manned the 97th-ranked defense, they are happy with the turnover.

Defensive Back
This group has the potential to be extraordinary, and is starts at safety. J.J. Billingsly and Dominique Brooks are a special, and young, tandem who will only get better with experience. Both players are remarkable talents, who are the building blocks for the 'Buffs defensive turnaround. Highly touted Tyrone Henderson is expected to be the third man in the lineup. Corner is a bit uncertain, although much of the ambiguity is due to inexperience rather than talent. Freshly-appointed starters Sammy Joseph, Terrence Wheatley, as well as Lorenzo Sims, were all key performers in the rotation as freshmen, and though they had their moments of infamy, they will be stronger because of that year of progression. Vance Washington is a bit undersized, but is a feisty defender, and will play in nickel and dime sets. The entire unit of three-deep is pretty much all six-foot and up, so sizeable WRs will not intimidate this bunch. But they have to first learn to keep the play in front of them so they won't again allow 27 TDs while only getting 10 INTs. They will improve, but how much is another important barometer for the team's fate.

Though the squad was roughed up at times last season, 2004 provides promise. Experience is now abundant, rather than a rarity, and that alone should prompt improvement. Success will start up front, where Wilder, Dabdoub and Harris will form a daunting front line. The secondary is the key, however. At times last year, they were torched by opposing quarterbacks, but with numerous freshman gracing the lineup, that was almost expected. A year of experience should do wonders for their familiarity and confidence. For the 'Buffs to make the postseason, the defense must make a notable turnaround. Early on, all signs are pointing that way. This side of the ball will determine where this team lands by December.


WS J.J. Billingsley


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Alex Ligon-So (6-4, 240) ..
DT Brandon Dabdoub-Sr (6-1, 290) Vaka Manupuna-Jr (6-1, 275)
DT Matt McChesney-Sr (6-4, 285) Marcus Jones-So (6-5, 290)
DE James Garee-Jr (6-5, 255) Chad Evans-Fr (6-4, 265)
MLB Thaddaeus Washington-So (6-0, 235) Chris Hollis-Jr (6-1, 240)
WLB Akarika Dawn-Jr (6-2, 230) Walter Boye-Doe-So (6-2, 230)
BLB Brian Iwuh-Jr (6-1, 220) Ben Carpenter-So (6-4, 210)
CB Vance Washington-Jr (5-9, 180) ..
CB Terrence Wheatley-So (6-0, 175) Gerett Burl-So (5-10, 160)
SS Dominique Brooks-So (6-2, 195) Chris Russell-Fr (6-3, 195)
FS J.J. Billingsley-Jr (5-11, 185) Tyrone Henderson-So (6-0, 180)
P John Torp-Jr (6-2, 200) Mason Crosby-So (6-2, 195)




Mason Crosby currently tops the depth chart. He wasn't used often last fall, as he only attempted nine kicks, but seven of his tries were successful, including 3-of-4 form 40+. Crosby does have decent leg strength, but he missed enough PATs at crucial times that, along with an 0-for-2 day versus KSU (11-11-04) that led to three games the Buffs lost, make us worry about how many games he will win and/or lose for them again. The altering of game plans due to erratic kicking is all this team needs, huh.

John Torp is solid and reliable. His 42-yard average gets the job done, but the Buff's coverage blew it

Return Game
Simply put, Jeremy Bloom is one of the best return men in college football. He totaled 879 yards via kick return last season, scored one touchdown, and came close many other times. He has the ability to change a game with his talents, but his presence is uncertain. This makes for another no-call by us, due to the unknown factors, including who would become primaries if Jeremy isn't there.


TB Brian Calhoun has asked to transfer, reportedly heading to Wisconsin. WR Mike Duren has helped fill the gap left by Jeremy Bloom, who's still waiting to hear if he'll be able to play at CU this year. The Buffs got sound play from their top four QBs, continuing to annually produce one of the deepest QB crops in the country. Some impact newcomers who could see time are RB Byron Ellis, who Barnett has compared to former Buff great Chris Brown, and WRs Patrick Williams and Reggie Joseph, whose roles could be significant if the Buffs are as banged up as they were this spring. As a side note, this team has continued to show genuine character in the midst of all the distractions. Don't be surprised if this group fights off all the doubters and puts themselves in the hunt for the (north) division title come November.

Starting CB Sammy Joseph has asked to transfer, though it is unknown at this time where he is heading. The defense has gone to a more traditional 4-3 look, now that they have the experience and bodies to do so. They responded well in the spring game - both units took control of the opposing offenses and dominated. In the absence of Marques Harris, soph Abraham Wright played well, contributing well to the Buffs' pass rush. The play of the starting LBs was the highlight of the spring, as Dawn, Washington, and Iwuh staking claim as perhaps the Big 12's top corps trio. At the start of June, the Buffs were still without a secondary coach, and that compounds other defensive problems, especially with the loss of Sammy Joseph. DE Marques Harris, who has struggled with the injury that caused him to sit through the entire 2003 season, was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. In Boulder, when it rains, it pours.

Potential starters -- cornerback Sammy Joseph and defensive end Marques Harris -- and reserve offensive linemen Fredrick Staugh and Del Scales will not be back this season.

WR/KR Stephone Robinson (rsf)
DE Abraham Wright (jr)
RB Byron Ellis (fr)