College Football

Woelk: Sanford Convinces Buffs To Believe In Themselves

Woelk: Sanford Convinces Buffs To Believe In Themselves

BOULDER — For the last two weeks, Colorado interim head coach Mike Sanford has insisted that “it’s all about the players.”

Saturday afternoon, while a few diehard CU fans were still celebrating an overtime win over Cal in Folsom Field, Sanford reiterated that belief.

“This has nothing to do with me hitting the right buttons,” a jubilant Sanford said at his first post-game press conference as Colorado’s head coach. “This is all for the players and all about the players. This is all about their response, their resolve … We talked about how unbelievable of a group of resilient fighters that we have in our locker room. I think everybody had a chance to see that on full display today. I’m just really proud of these players.”

When Sanford took the reins handed to him by Buffs Athletic Director Rick George on Oct. 2, he vowed to inject new energy into the program. He changed up CU’s practice approach, spent time on the road recruiting, shuffled his coaching staff — but most of all, used every possible moment to convince CU players to believe in themselves.

Have joy in playing the game, he insisted. Remember why you love football, he told them.

They responded. His words of encouragement, his insistence upon playing with a positive mindset, his relentless enthusiasm and energy made a difference. 

Saturday afternoon, the Buffs did things they hadn’t done in five previous games, and did so in front of 50,000-plus fans who were hungry — desperate — for anything resembling a positive step forward.

The Buffs delivered more than a step. They took a huge leap.

Under the direction of new coordinator Gerald Chatman, Colorado’s defense was terrific in every regard. The Buffs tweaked their scheme to include “big nickel” and “joker” linebackers, while also simplifying the defensive front alignment.

The result made people wonder where that defense has been the last five weeks.

After recording 18 tackles for loss and three sacks in the first five games, Colorado had 10 TFLs — including two sacks — against the Bears. Linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo had 3.5 tackles for loss. Terrance Lang had two and five other Buffs were in on at least one.

After giving up more yards rushing per game than any other team in the nation in the first five games, the Buffs strangled the Cal run game. The Bears limped out of Folsom…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at University of Colorado Athletics…