K Mason Crosby

2004 Statistics

Coach: Gary Barnett
42-33, 6 years
2004 Record: 8-5
at Washington State WON 20-12
at Missouri LOST 9-17
at Texas A&M LOST 26-29
at Kansas WON 30-21
at Nebraska WON 26-20
vs. Oklahoma LOST 3-42
vs. UTEP WON 33-28

2004 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

Winning and succeeding are apparently two different things at CU. The Buffs opened up 3-0, and, in the hubbub, as they reached their third Big 12 championship game in four years, many chose to ignore the off-field scandals and watch the fun. Colorado tried to put the sexual misconduct charges and their coaches' insensitive words behind them this way, but now it resurfaces and should again be enough distraction to derail where this squad could go if focused. The school's president during this time of crisis (Ms. Elizabeth Hoffman) has chosen now to resign as of June 30, 2005, and she sites leaked grand jury testimonies - that (1) indicts one former department employee for soliciting sex from prostitutes (for recruits), (2) substantiates two female trainers accusations of sexual assault by an assistant, and (3) corroborates a slush account set up via funds made through head coach Barnett's football camp - as the main reasons. Nine women have made similar sexual assault claims, and their lack of follow through does not reflect on a lack of evidence, just fear of reprisal and career/personal damage due to Barnett's denials being so strong (and the years it would take to prove guilty those assumed to be innocent).

As we said last year here, Gary Barnett is doing nothing good for (college) football by continuing to set such a terrible example for his players by hiding the truth. Hoffman has the integrity to step aside, realizing that she isn't bigger than this, and helps the university move through it quicker by doing so. Barnett's example of constant denial in the face of legitimate evidence says so much about what is being taught to these student-athletes - that football is more important than genuinely hurting others and is above the morals of society. And if this situation doesn't affect the minds of the players and therefore the play on the field, then we marginally digress from stressing this as an on-field factor.

Barnett's contract goes through 2006. For now, he is concentrating on football. (Conveniently stated), "It starts all over now," he said. "Just because we've got some guys coming back doesn't mean we're going to be a better team. It just means that we've got a bunch of guys who've got a year's experience. We're going to have to make it all work." The line on both sides will trickle down any abilities to try more adventurous plays/schemes. Special teams are also a big plus and will assuredly win them a few close ones with such stellar booters.

And, as always, they'll have to make it work with a difficult slate. Respectably, their schedule is always brutal, making on-field adversity an eventual asset. Rival Colorado State and Miami (FL) set in motion a whirlwind sequence, and CU's only solace is how Oklahoma isn't included.

After CU won the Houston Bowl to cap the '04 season, Vickers looked around Reliant Stadium and looked ahead to next season, when the Big 12 championship game will be played there. "No ifs, ands or buts about it, we're coming back," he said. "We're coming back. We're going to be really, really great next year. We have too many people coming back for us not to be."

Guys like Vickers are why CU has any chance, for his/their abilities to persevere and lead by altruistic example are the only way other young minds will get something positive/worthy out of the whole experience. What these young men do to achieve through such tough times will become self-sustained inner-qualities that will then get them through the real tests in life. Kudos to the players for sticking to their commitments and living up to their word(s). Anyone on the field is therefore a winner to us.

It's just too bad that Barnett & Co. cannot see their negative impact masked by the wins. Is this a successful program on the field? Yes… But, most importantly, is it a successful program when these boys need to learn about themselves/each other off the field? Unfortunately, not so much, and it won't until Barnett follows Hoffman and makes CU football and its players'/coaches' integrities a bigger issue than his own sorry hide.

Projected 2005 record: 7-4
QB - 4 DL - 3
RB - 3 LB - 4
WR - 3.5 DB - 3
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Joel Klatt, 334-192-15, 2065 yds., 9 TD

Rushing: Lawrence Vickers, 60 att., 248 yds., 2 TD

Receiving: Evan Judge, 29 rec., 336 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Mason Crosby, 19-23 FG, 28-30 PAT, 85 pts.

Punting: John Torp, 68 punts, 46.3 avg.

Kicking: John Torp, 68 punts, 46.3 avg.

Tackles: Brian Iwuh, 98 tot., 74 solo

Sacks: Alex Ligon, Abraham Wright, 4.5 sacks each

Interceptions: Lorenzo Sims, 5 for 53 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Terrence Wheatley, 16 ret., 22.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns:
Stephone Robinson, 35 ret., 7.7 avg., 1 TD


TE Joe Klopfenstein
OFFENSE: Bobby Purify-TB, Ron Monteilh-WR, Jesse Wallace-TE, Sam Wilder-OT, Terrance Barreau-OG, Daniel Jolly-FB (left team)
DEFENSE: Matt McChesney-DT, Brandon Dabdoub-NT, Terrence Wheatley-CB (injured)

Buffaloes quarterback Joel Klatt led CU to an 8-5 mark, including a bowl victory, in what can only be described as a trying season (off-the-field controversy). So, Klatt's production dropped dramatically - he went from a 21:10 TD:INT-ratio to 9:15, and his efficiency rating dropped from 140.2 to 109.3. Klatt has the arm strength and accuracy to succeed, but he often makes poor decisions on the run or when a play is busted, and this rattles him. The WR corps is again there, so excuses won't fly this campaign. Junior backup James Cox has the feet to go with the arm - a former 200 (23.4) and 400 (54.0) meter runner, he has 60-minute stamina as well as 4.6-second 40-speed. His play has proven valuable, with aerial numbers that (on scale) match Klatt's, but his INTs have, too, been a bit more frequent. But since Klatt is leaving and Cox is the heir-apparent, look for Cox' insertion early and often so any more growing pains can be exercised ASAP. Spring reps could even shake his shortcomings, and the push he then gives Klatt to start can only sharpen the Klatt Cannon or make the change happen sooner. Buffalo fans win either way, and the QB play will assuredly improve via whichever development happens. Quickster dual-threat Bernard Jackson will also figure in with the new guard, so he sees limited reps.

This is a fairly deep unit. At least seven players caught between 20 and 29 passes, and five of them return. Senior Evan Judge at one wideout will lead this crew, but the excitement is over junior Blake Mackey and soph Dusty Sprague. A stud with sprinter's speed (47.9-sec in the 400 meter won state) and NFL hands and size, Mackey is the only proven deep threat. But Sprague is himself a former hurdler-sprinter, and will only add to stretching the field so the underneath stuff can reestablish the passing game's confidence ASAP. The Buffs have developed a truly vertical passing game that few teams in the Big 12 can defend. Talent and size here mean that in order to solve the passing game's woes, the QBs have to deliver to this highly capable corps.

Running Back
The Buffs utilize the scat-type back and what is now termed a "V"-back, named for all-around impact player Lawrence Vickers. A VB is that huge FB-type that has tailback quickness with the range to effectively line up wide, too. Stuck in the shadows behind Purify, Vickers will start and be the feature back (25+ per game). His 27 catches make him expandable (into the slot) so that other kind of back (sophs Byron Ellis and Hugh Charles) can make this multi-dimensional running game have its maximum impact (as is needed). There's speed to burn here, with even a legitimate backup VB in Daniel Jolly. Incoming local Maurice Greer will test his lightning first-step, too.

Tight End
Joe Klopfenstein is a punishing combination of pass-catcher/blocker who does both with equal greatness. Even better, the Buffaloes love to utilize the tight end in their offense, so expect much from Klopfenstein.

Offensive Line
Center Mark Fenton will have to break in whoever plays to his right. Some may say that's a problem; but we feel it can only help to turnover a marginal group. Look no further than here to see why Klatt fell off so much. Additionally, CU was only 89th in rushing and allowed 31 sacks. Look for increased playing time and starting roles for Edwin Harrison and Gary Moore to inject some soul here. Four-star recruit Garrett Collins represents a marginal group of newbies - they are lighter and quicker than what exists, though, a good match for when Cox is in.

All the concerns from last year have shifted. The receivers are not the problem anymore. Instead, a shaky QB (who regressed) and an unworthy line plague these Buffaloes. Classically, he line's level of play will be the main determinant factor for the rest of the offense. The senior Klatt ha sit in him to be a good decision-maker, as you see CU's passing efficiency went from 18th in the country to 73rd. The short pass, utilizing the talents of the "V"-backs and TEs, will open the other possibilities up. But when they can't get four per carry as/against a team, watch how CU again is shut down totally, with little ability to instead use the pass to open up the run. That is, until Cox gets his wheels straight and takes over (what is now) his reserved seat for next season.


LB Thaddaeus Washington


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Joel Klatt-Sr (6-1, 210) James Cox-Jr (6-3, 210)
FB Lawrence Vickers-Sr (6-2, 235) Paul Creighton-Jr (6-5, 250)
TB Hugh Charles-So (5-8, 185) Byron Ellis-So (6-0, 200)
WR Dusty Sprague-So (6-4, 190) Alvin Barnett-So (6-0, 190)
WR Evan Judge-Sr (6-2, 215) Blake Mackey-Jr (6-3, 200)
TE Joe Klopfenstein-Sr (6-6, 245) Quinn Sypniewski-Sr (6-7, 265)
OT Tyler Polumbus-So (6-8, 280) Carl Zoellner-So (6-2, 290)
OG Edwin Harrison-So (6-4, 305) Jack Tipton-Jr (6-3, 285)
C Mark Fenton-Jr (6-4, 295) Bryce MacMartin-Jr (6-2, 290)
OG Brian Daniels-Jr (6-5, 300) Garrett Collins-So (6-3, 270)
OT Clint O'Neal-Sr (6-6, 300) Gary Moore-Sr (6-6, 320)
K Mason Crosby-Jr (6-2, 210) Kevin Eberhart-So (5-10, 185)


Defensive Line
The good - lots of experience still here, especially with backup DE Abe Wright. The bad: Colorado was 69th in run defense with only 20 sacks. The ugly: Colorado's chances of getting more from the same guys haven't increased very much. None of the returning starters proved able to handle tougher competition (OU and Texas ate them up). One year later, they won't be good enough still. Similar to the offense, the line here seems to be growing lighter and quicker, and this can only help - if your big men can't break through when needed, try (the common DE pass-rushing strategy of) going around them. Barnett will shuffle things in September to keep legs fresh and to see just who is worthy of getting the most time. If/when foes can again run it 500+ times at 4.1 per try, expect the entire team to suffer ripple affects (play calling and clock management are entirely revamped when a DL can't hold its own, impacting everyone).

Accordingly with where we think the line's emphasis should be, this seasoned, experienced group is svelte with great quickness, and succeeds due to such. Senior Brian Iwuh is the beast who goes sideline-to-sideline, able to quickly get to wherever he is needed. CU's linebackers might be among the fastest in the conference and each has a nose for the ball. Senior inside-sub Akarica Dawn bolsters well (his 13 third-down stops led team). The talent in the initial two-deep is strong, but drops off from there rather quickly. In other words, injuries cannot be afforded for what is sure to be the glue/strongest unit on this side of the ball. Sixty minutes of covering the other position's collective/individual asses will take its toll in the fourth quarter(s) as the deeper Big XII squads exploit this with their super-deep rosters.

Defensive Back
All four players who started are back, yet for what should have been a tight, cohesive unit, Colorado was an appalling 105th in pass defense (though 69th in efficiency). Upperclassmen Sims and Burle have held their own well, but the safeties have been pulled to help in so many places that they cannot yet find their true groove. Neither corner, though experienced, could be called a true cover corner. A few chances (like allowing LBs to pass and/or run blitz) will have to be taken if there is going to be any help for the line's assured struggles. This means modestly-stacked recruiting results will dictate (via their levels of play in nickel- and dime-packages) just how the entire defense eventually is applied. Early trial-by-fire grading should yield better second half results as the proper guys are by then found and inserted.

So many players are returning that there are only two holes in this entire starting crew. So why worry? Oh, little things like Colorado giving up 60 more first downs than it made, allowing an average of 5.4 yards on first down, allowing opposing teams a third-down conversion rate of almost 45%. The Buffs were 94th in total defense last year, the worst among the 12 conference teams. With this many back having lived/player through so many off-field distractions (still), adversity ostensibly has not been taught to build character, or has it? Results will quickly dictate whether the massive youth movement is to be kicked off earlier than expected, or if battle scars have taught fruitful lessons. This tentative balance means there will be little improvement overall, though run-stopping numbers should improve.


LB Brian Iwuh


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Alex Ligon-Jr (6-3, 250) Alonzo Barrett-So (6-3, 240)
NT Vaka Manupuna-Sr (6-1, 290) Marcus Jones-Jr (6-4, 300)
DT James Garee-Sr (6-6, 275) John Guydon-Sr (6-2, 285)
DE Abraham Wright-Jr (6-3, 240) Greg Newman-So (6-4, 235)
ILB Thaddaeus Washington-Jr (5-11, 240) Walter Boye-Doe-Jr (6-4, 240)
ILB Jordon Dizon-So (6-0, 215) Akarika Dawn-Sr (6-2, 240)
OLB Brian Iwuh-Sr (6-0, 225) Brad Jones-Fr (6-4, 220)
CB Gerett Burl-Jr (5-10, 160) Vance Washington-Jr (5-10, 185)
CB Lorenzo Sims-Sr (5-11, 185) Stephone Robinson-So (5-9, 185)
SS Dominique Brooks-Jr (6-1, 200) Charlie Sherman-Fr (6-1, 190)
FS J.J. Billingsley-Jr (5-11, 185) Tyrone Henderson-Jr (5-10, 175)
Tom Hubbard-Sr (6-5, 220)
P John Torp-Sr (6-2, 205) Mason Crosby-Jr (6-2, 210)



Finally, a bright spot…After an erratic 2003, NC.net second-team all-American Mason Crosby came into his own, hitting 79% of his tries (and 5-of-7 from 50+, with one from 60!). He finished third in the country in field goals made and will have an inside track for the Lou Groza Award.

John Torp is back after he finished second in the country with an average of 46.54 yards per try. The net results were even better (nation's best), a funny reality when considering the defense's play. But how can we say this will change? We can't, so field position battles will be won here, too.

Return Game
The special team's flip side is found here, as Colorado finished 82nd in PR average and 65th in KO returns. Terrance Wheatley did his KO job well, but Stephone Robinson, who did take one back for a score last year, needs to pick it up to remain his partner. Robinson is adequate in PR, but spring action will yield another speedy guy, so stay tuned here for any further developments.