What Mike Sanford said after Colorado lost to Oregon Ducks

Colorado lost to No. 8 Oregon 49-10 Saturday at Folsom Field.

Interim CU coach Mike Sanford recapped the Buffaloes’ eighth loss of the season.

Below is a transcript of Sanford’s postgame press conference.


Opening Statement “Well hats off to Oregon, really good football team coming in. I thought at halftime we were competing at a fairly high level. You know, come out and put together a drive and put three on the board . Having answers consistently both scoring after scores for our offense proved to be a challenge. I think where the game got away from us were really the two interceptions and that’s on all of us. That’s on me. It starts out with the head coach, we got to make sure that we put our guys in the best position. We started to run the ball fairly well. I was pleased with Alex Fontenot’s return. I was pleased with Anthony Hankerson’s return. Dion was a little dinged up and I thought our defense in second half settled in fairly well. Oregon’s got an extremely dynamic offense and that we for the most part we took away the chunk plays down the field, but as per usual with Oregon’s offense, a lot of those check downs turn into chunk plays because everybody respects the speed so much.

“The most important thing for us right now is our thoughts, our prayers are with Jordyn Tyson. It looks like a lower leg injury. He’s with our medical team right now. Obviously, he’s put together as impressive of a true freshman campaign that I’ve personally been a part of at that receiver position and so proud of his continued growth. So our thoughts are going to continue to be with him.

On extent of injury to Jordyn Tyson and why he returned after targeting hit:

“We’ll find out more information as we get that information. I think that we’ve had our imaging yet on it. But it was a significant injury, and we’ll obviously hope and pray for the best and then we’ll communicate that when we meet again later on.

“I think that anytime there’s a targeting shot that happens at all in the game of football our medical team is going to always tend to the student-athlete, go through our protocol, which is very thorough and vetted it out very well. He was cleared to return and Jordyn Tyson loves football. That’s probably the No. 1trait about Jordyn that I personally love is how much he wants to be out there playing the game of football. He obviously has turned into our most dynamic playmaker, and when he wants to find a way to get back out on the field and he’s been cleared medically. We feel like we’re always in the fight and we’re going to continue to fight no matter what happens. We know we have a gauntlet that started today, but I think Jordyn, his love for the game of football is what separates him. And it just happens to be meshed with incredible physical attributes. There really wasn’t a decision like to try to put him back in the game. Jordyn was cleared medically and then he wanted to go back and play and that’s who Jordyn Tyson is.”

On Anthony Hankerson: “Hank wants to play too; I think that’s who he is. He’s been banged up. There really weren’t a lot of discussions and thoughts about him wanting to redshirt. I think he’s going to be a player that is going to maximize his four years of football. As we all know, if you ever play in a season and you do have some type of sustained injury, you can still have that redshirt year available to you. It’s just because you don’t quote unquote redshirt that first year it doesn’t mean by any stretch of imagination that you can’t at some point in your career utilize that. So it was something that he wants to play and as we saw today, 11 carries 54 yards against a really good football team. He’s gonna be a big part of being a playmaker for us. And once again, I just love the way he continued to just scrap down the stretch in the fourth quarter.”

On Oregon’s program: “I think every program has its unique aspects to it. I mean, it’s obviously very clear that the Nike part of Oregon is real, but we have what we believe are really significant positives of Boulder, of our support of our fan base. We have surrounding businesses that I believe are going to be coming into a position to jump behind our players and support them. Obviously they’ve had a very singular focus in terms of backing a program financially, that’s reality. That is the one of the largest companies in the industry of sports. And they have certainly a commitment from Nike to Oregon. And that’s not something really anything that’s new. They’re a good football team. They’re well coached. I think the thing that’s always interesting about Oregon is they’re – I was brought up myself by a lot of coaches that came form Oregon to Boise State from some of those really early (Mike) Bellotti staffs and Chris Petersen, Dirk Koetter, Mark Helfrich, those are all people that directly impacted me as a young player. It’s interesting that they’re certainly kind of going outside of what was the traditional Oregon model. And I think it’s gonna be interesting to see what happens going forward.”   On CU’s defense: “I thought, the biggest downside of our defensive effort today was the three scores in three drives. I thought our offense did answer a score with the score and give us a chance to make it a ballgame. I was proud with the second half effort we did against a highly dynamic offense, one of the most dynamic offenses in college football. They’re averaging in the 40s as we know. They’re averaging 450 to 550 (yards) depending on the day. I thought we settled in and fought and I thought we did have some answers in the second half. But the turnovers, I think playing on the short fields really in the second half, that’s where the score got a little bit out of line for us. But I am proud of our defensive effort in terms of the fight to the finish, even getting a fourth down stop and finding ways to get stops in the second half. But as we know, they’re a tough team to slow down. Bo Nix has played a lot of football. He had an obviously a very efficient day; 20 of 24 there’s four incompletions in there and he just takes what the defense gives him and everybody is so mortified of the speed going down the field that a lot of those underneath routes become check downs for him that get 15-20 yards. So that’s nothing that’s really new for Oregon. It’s what they’ve been. And if a team ever really truly wants to challenge them, then it’s going to be one of those type of down the field throwing games and they have the ability to do that as well.”

On keeping talent at Colorado:

“Well, I think it’s everything that we’ve put forward as an athletic department and really more than that is just the communication that we’re having with our fan base and with our supporters. I think obviously Jordyn is a phenomenal talent. He’s a freshman. I think not only the NIL space, but also just as a community to wrap our arms around a guy like him, because he really is what this program is going to trend towards. I mean, Jordyn didn’t have one other Power 5 offer. I don’t know if anybody knows that. There was Texas State, Texas Southern something along those lines, was really his only other offer. So I think that that is a niche for us both as a program and then certainly wrapping our arms around him as a football community and as a CU community. But I think that goes even further than just one player. I think we do have some good young players that are growing up. I think there’s a lot of players that the retention of those players is going to be really important for our program. You just look out there where we are young, and that’s nothing that is foreign to anybody. We’re young. We’re developing, we’re growing. The margin for error is small because of that youth and when you’re a true freshman or redshirt freshman playing 70 snaps a game in different positions there are some things from a developmental standpoint and a maturity standpoint a this level. I think you need to continue to keep those types of players around that have gone through the hard times. But what I’m most proud of with this team is not once have I seen since I’ve had a chance to look him in the eyes and on the sideline, I’ve never seen one person quit on the field. I think we’re fighting through for four quarters. And that’s going to be our calling card because you just never know when it does all click and all of a sudden here we are in a ball game against one of the top teams in the country.”

On shotgun snap exchanges:

“Today in particular, I can speak to today. It was honestly one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen especially in the late third early fourth quarter. I was watching the snaps come back and they looked like right on the money and they were getting blown. Literally blown down, blowing to the left, one to the right. You saw when the ball was placed down on the field, unless the umpire was putting his foot on the ball and it was doing the same exact thing. Certainly, the weather had an impact on the game. It did happen kind of later where those gusts really picked up. That’s a hard thing to truly prepare for other than just going under center every play, which we did, obviously in that true final drive. You saw with Oregon too, there were some balls that were getting batted around in the area, but it happened a little bit later in the game. Some of it too is just communication. There’s times where we’ve had different centers playing, we’ve had different quarterbacks playing, just the communication of the various tempos that we run and those are some of those mistakes that I’m talking about that you have to grow up in those situations if we do change tempo, just that the communication’s on a very high level and that’s something that we’re going to continue to harp this week in particular as we go and play in a hostile road environment.”

On JT Shrout’s performance:

“I thought JT did some good things. Obviously, not the easiest of tasks. I think there were some throws that he made that I thought were really good. I thought he continues to see it better. I do see that. Obviously, we’re in a position with Owen (McCown), to give an update on Owen. He’s fully participating in practice. He’s running scout team, but there are some limitations that he still does have. Clearly, we’re going to not put him in a position where we think we should just roll him out there and you don’t know what’s going to happen. The quarterback position in particular I think is very different. Particularly when you are a somewhat of an underdeveloped player as a true freshman. I think we’re trending in that direction to make sure that we make the best decision for Owen and with him not being fully cleared and there’s certain even movements that he does. He’s cleared to play football, but in terms of throwing on the run to the left, he does have some limitations that I don’t want to put him in those situations that either he can further aggravate an injury, or he’s not just fully 100% healthy. He’s been fantastic in terms of his commitment to the team. His preparation, even our scout team is getting a really good look with a guy that was a PAC 12 starting quarterback really running the scout team right now. He’s trending in a good direction health wise, but we’re obviously making some decisions for the best of his future and CU’s future.”

On Alex Fontenot: “I was pleased with it. I think one of the runs, the 27-yard run that he had was spectacular. I thought he did a good job. You worry about just ball security coming back, not having really any live licks. In practice we’ve been not getting him full contact. He ran out, I thought he ran well, he ran fearlessly. A couple of things on our outside zone play we took a negative on one that he ran, but that’s more for us kind of sorting through the different movements of Oregon’s front and the pressures that they were bringing. I think that gives us a lot of confidence in him and a lot of confidence going forward tfor these next three weeks, but he put on eight-ten pounds in this time, I thought he looked bigger, looked more physical, was running out of some tackles and I think that is what we’re talking about that maturity, that seasoned kind of veteran player. I think that’s going to help us as we play these last three games.”

On Oregon’s trick plays:

“That’s been a staple. When you have obviously really good players, you have to commit to the run fit. A lot of times in a run fit, once you commit to the run fit a quarterback it can be challenging to peel off. A lot of times that’s almost like you have to smell a rat as a player. We worked a variety of trick plays, but because of how they do run the football and sometimes the tempo and obviously the timing of the call, there was a good call particularly the throwback to Bo (Nix) was something in particular. Then they run basically a tackle eligible in an eligible jersey number. Obviously, we’re selling out to stop the run. They hadn’t released him on the season, but we did from a coverage perspective, we did have somebody for him it’s just executing in that moment I think becomes something that is challenging when you’re pinning your ears back and trying to try to get a stop.”

On pass rush: “Really good offensive line play. If you think about it, the way they throw the football, the ball is out. The ball is out quickly. Either they’re moving the pocket or the ball is out and some of their empty, quick game, some of the check downs that you see. I think there are challenges. I thought our pass rush got better as the game went on. I thought Chance Main started to show up being in position to apply pressure. Chance is a guy that I expect to see his best ball out of him in really these last three weeks. I think he’s eager to apply some pressure. Good offensive line play, the ball was getting out, they moved the pocket pretty well. Pretty consistent with all their games this year, probably minus the Georgia game and obviously Georgia is playing the NFL front. They have a good scheme and they have good players.”

On Christian Gonzalez’s interceptions:

“I think that’s a great example of just the modern space of college football. This is going to become commonplace. What I know that we as a department are doing and I know that this fan base wants to win and wants to win next season and that’s got to be our goal. We’ve got to win, we want to win next week. Certainly, retention is multifaceted. We’re going to see I think two more players that were on this team last year next week. That’s the modern space that we live in and certainly I think this is a reminder to all of us, coaches, players, everybody that we’ve got to make this the best place to be at in every way possible. This has got to be a place that, we know it’s beautiful, we know it’s a great academic institution, but our players experience here, in every single way has got to be the best experience. I think that’s been something that I’ve taken to heart, personally in leading this program through troubled times is how can we continue to make this a great experience for our players, and that’s some of the stuff that I think I’ve been fairly proactive with regards to our current roster. I think that there is greatness in that roster as they get older, as they continue to develop, there is greatness in that roster and we’ve got to make sure that those players know how much this institution, this coaching staff and really this community that loves CU football and is going to care for them.”

On wind impacting kicking: “It was interesting. Obviously, Cameron Warchuck wasn’t snapping. I think it’s important for us, there’s always moving parts. It’s snapper obviously the holder from the beginning of the season. Cole has been so good this year. I think the wind plays some bit of a factor. I think the laces were facing at him, which myself as a former four-year starting holder, I know the value and the importance of us putting the ball down and presenting the laces at the pipes. I think that was something that played a factor in that. Sometimes it’s the depth of the snap if you’re setup at seven yards instead of eight yards, that might just change the rotation by just a half spin. Those types of things do all play a factor in it and I always as a holder and I know my long snapper Clayton Adams in field goal. Clayton was our short snapper, we took great pride in making sure that we presented the laces and that’s something that I know we’ll do going forward. It’s just football. The winds blowing, there’s different factors. We’ve got to make sure we continue to put him in the best position to be successful. He had plenty of leg as we know I just think the ball just pushed right a little bit.”

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