Dave Krieger has been a guest-host on 850 KOA since 2005. Now, Dave is heard every weekday afternoon on The Dave Logan Show.
"I've had a blast as a guest host on 850 KOA over the past several years and I'm grateful for the opportunity to join their team on a full-time basis," Krieger said. "I look forward to partnering with Dave Logan, a friend for more than 25 years, in the competitive landscape of PM drive. As I've recently discovered, thanks to the web, 850 KOA's reach now includes the entire country."
Since 2009, Dave was a popular columnist with The Denver Post. Before that, he spent 27 years with the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News as a cityside reporter, Broncos and Nuggets beat writer and longtime sports columnist. He won various state and national awards during a newspaper career that spanned 36 years.
Dave was named the 2011 Colorado sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He also won the award in 2010 and 2009 and shared it in 2008 with former Rocky Mountain News colleague Tracy Ringolsby.
BOULDER -- Midway through the fourth quarter Saturday night at Folsom Field, in a tie game, University of Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson caught the football across the middle and waited for the hit.
There was no Central Arkansas defender within 10 yards of him. From upstairs, it was a bizarre scene, reminiscent of last week, when Colorado State elected not to cover Colorado's most dangerous offensive weapon on the second play from scrimmage.
Again Saturday night, not only was there no one on Richardson, there was no one between him and a wide swath of goal line. This produced his fourth touchdown in two games and contributed to his 417 receiving yards, which lead the country by more than 100 yards.
"I was definitely surprised at how wide open I was," he said afterward with a laugh. "I was waiting to get hit, I was looking back, I think I stopped a little bit. But you know, I closed my eyes and I ran across the line."
"They played cover zero there, so they're bringing pressure, and no guys were in the middle, no defenders," CU quarterback Connor Wood explained. "He ran, like, a stutter-through, and the floodgates opened. So just give the ball to him."
Well, yeah. In the first two games of the Mike MacIntyre regime, Wood has connected with Richardson 21 times.
"Connor's doing a good job of finding him, and he's kind of slippery," MacIntyre said. "He kind of gets through there and makes plays and is making catches. When we see certain matchups, we're going to go attack it. And he'll go get it."
About the only question Richardson hasn't answered yet during his CU career is whether he can stay healthy. Two years ago, he started almost as fast, catching 11 passes for 284 yards against Cal in the second game of the season. He looked poised for a monster year.
But later opponents scouted and contained him, and he missed several games with a knee injury, finishing his sophomore season with a relatively modest 39 catches for 555 yards and five touchdowns.
Last year, of course, he missed the entire season after blowing out an ACL.
He entered his junior season ranked 21st in career receiving yards at CU. It has taken him two weeks to climb to ninth.
He showed off his remarkable speed, acceleration, burst, on the first of his two touchdowns Saturday night against Central Arkansas, closing the gap on what appeared to be an overthrown ball and in the process leaving a defender in his dust, road runner-like.
It was good for 55 yards, Richardson's eighth career touchdown of more than 50. The average gain on his 15 career touchdown catches for CU is 40.8 yards.
"I was holding my helmet," said Wood. "I was like, 'I overthrew him,' and then he just, shooo, got it.
"I've seen it a few times, so I wasn't nervous," Wood said with a grin.
Richardson tied the school single-game record with 11 receptions in Saturday's 38-24 victory. He had 10 the week before, in the opener against Colorado State. His back-to-back 200-yard receiving games are just the fourth and fifth in school history. Counting that Cal game a couple of years ago, he now has three of them.
Richardson's second touchdown, the one where he found himself wide open, was the play that put CU ahead to stay Saturday, breaking a 24-24 deadlock with a little more than nine minutes remaining.
Buffs defensive back Chidobe Awuzie changed the game by ripping the ball from the arms of Central Arkansas wideout Jatavious Wilson. The Buffs tried a running play, to no effect, and then Wood hit Richardson over the middle with a 30-yard touchdown pass to give Colorado a 31-24 lead.
There are story lines aplenty in CU's 2-0 start. For one thing, it's already twice as many wins as the Buffs had all last season. For another, players led by Richardson are being quite explicit complimenting the "constructive" criticism they get from MacIntyre and his staff, which seems an obvious if unspoken contrast with the previous staff, fired after a 1-11 campaign last year.
But the schedule gets tougher from here, so we'll soon see just how much progress they've made.
The same is true of Richardson. Two years ago, after his sizzling start, defenses adjusted and then he got hurt. He has yet to sustain the sensational play that has given him such glittering single-game numbers.
But he's two years older now, two years wiser, a team captain and leader, and part of what appears to be a more sophisticated offensive design. For now, he leads the nation in receiving yardage, is tied for first in receiving touchdowns and ranks second in receptions.
If he can just stay healthy, he could put up numbers CU has never seen by the time the season is over.
Imagine you're the defensive coordinator for a team that has to play the Denver Broncos. In fact, you're the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, the team that has to play the Broncos first. Just so you know, your name is Dean Pees.
Your opponent has three 1,000-yard wide receivers, which is a problem. Nobody has three 1,000-yard receivers. You can't double-team Demaryius Thomas (1,434 receiving yards last season), Wes Welker (1,354 for New England) and Eric Decker (1,064). You'll have to mix and match, disguise, throw in some zone looks and hope you can limit the damage.
Now imagine somebody tells you that two minutes and 30 seconds into the second half, Peyton Manning will have three touchdown passes against your defense and none of them will be to any of those guys.
More frightening even than Manning's NFL record-tying seven touchdown passes in Thursday's season opener was the fact that the first three went to Julius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Andre Caldwell.
Thomas, a 6-foot-5-inch former basketball player, had never caught a touchdown pass in the NFL. Caldwell had six career touchdowns, but none for the Broncos as he entered his second season with the club.
In Julius Thomas' coming-out party after two years stunted by injury, the big, athletic tight end caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, adding yet another difficult matchup to what was already an impressive array of weaponry. Meanwhile, the veteran Caldwell, the fourth of four wide receivers, was the picture of efficiency, getting one pass all night and catching it for a touchdown.
So now imagine you're Perry Fewell, defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, who play host to the Broncos in Week 2. Do you have to take Julius Thomas, the tight end, as seriously as you take the Broncos' big three?
About a half hour after Manning put up the shiniest stat line in a career full of shiny stat lines -- 27 of 42 for 462 yards, seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 141.1 -- I asked him if the emergence of the second Thomas in his arsenal will make defensive coordinators rethink how they game plan the Broncos.
"It would be an interesting question," he said. "I'm not sure how they will answer it, or if they will, but it will be interesting to see how teams play Julius all season. He is a big guy, he definitely will make teams have a conversation, and that's what you want. You want guys that make teams have a discussion -- 'how are we going to handle this guy?' -- and he's a big guy.
"First play of the game, he ran a seam route. He didn't do exactly how he was coached to do it, but that guy (Ravens safety James Ihedigbo) put a pretty good hit on him and he got right back up and hung in there, did not have to come out, and made a couple big plays."
It didn't seem like a good sign at the time. For an instant, it looked like a substantial completion on the first play, before Ihedigbo separated Thomas from the ball.
"That 'out' route on the left side where he made the guy miss, that was a huge play because they had some momentum and I think we just had the penalty and we were up on our heels a little bit," Manning said. "But we did a great job answering the score there. A lot of credit goes to Julius Thomas there."
The Broncos trailed 14-7 at the time. After a scoreless, forgettable first quarter, cornerback Chris Harris gave them a shot of adrenaline with a diving interception in front of Brandon Stokley early in the second. Manning hit Julius Thomas up the seam for 24 yards and a touchdown on the next play to make it 7-7. Manning complimented the aggressive call and made a point of crediting first-year offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
Then Welker muffed a punt near the goal line and gave the turnover score right back. So the Broncos were again down a touchdown when they were hit by the penalty Manning referenced -- an offensive pass interference call on Decker -- putting them in a first-and-20 hole at their own 33-yard line. Manning hit Julius Thomas with a short out, Thomas juked with an agility that belied his size and rambled 44 yards up the sideline to the Ravens' 23. Manning went back to him for the touchdown, and the game was tied again.
"It went like we all thought it was going to go," Julius Thomas said afterward. "The whole offseason we've been talking about how many different weapons we have, and I think we were able to display that today. We had a lot of guys make plays -- all of our backs, receivers, tight ends. So that's just what we look to do. We just want to find the right matchups and try to go after those."
If Julius Thomas can become a consistent weapon alongside all those thousand-yard guys, the Broncos offense could be pretty close to unsolvable. Which is what happened in the third quarter, as if Manning and the orchestra had been merely tuning their instruments since a 33-minute lightning delay to start the game.
"I don't make excuses, but I do think that the lightning delay did slow us down," Manning said. "I was telling somebody earlier, you guys have seen teams break it down -- you come out of the team prayer and put your hands in and everyone says 'Broncos' or 'Win' on three, then you go out onto the field.
"We did it three times tonight. We went back and sat down for another 10 minutes and came back and, 'Now we're really going,' and then it was all for naught, go sit down for another 10 minutes. So it took us a little while to get started, but they had to deal with it also."
If you're still imagining you're a defensive coordinator in the league, the third quarter was the equivalent of a horror movie. The Broncos received the second-half kickoff and took just six plays and 2:30 to traverse 80 yards. Manning finished the drive with his only throw of the night to Caldwell. It was the home team's first lead.
The Ravens went three-and-out and then Broncos special teams ace David Bruton blocked their punt, giving Manning the ball at the Baltimore 10-yard line. He threw two five-yard passes to Welker and it was 28-17.
The Ravens went three-and-out again, got their punt away this time, and set up a nine-play, 63-yard Broncos drive that symbolized the night. Manning tried to throw his fifth touchdown pass on a fade to the left, but Decker, who had an off night, let it slip through his fingers. So Manning turned and threw the next one to Welker on the other side.
In eight minutes, 28 seconds, the Ravens' 17-14 halftime lead had turned into a 35-17 deficit. Baltimore's defense looked spent. The Broncos were operating out of the no-huddle at a mile above sea level, they were eating up big chunks of yardage, and as the quarter went on, the Ravens looked more intent on breathing than reading keys.
"We wanted to play an uptempo game," Manning said. "It helps when you can get into a rhythm when you are having positive plays on those first and second downs. Early in the game, it was first down, second down, third down, every single time. Once we got into a rhythm, we weren't even getting into third downs. It was first down, second down, first down. That is tough on a defense when you can keep moving into a good clip. It still comes down to the execution. I don't necessarily think tempo is the reason for it, but the execution got better later in the game."
When Demaryius Thomas is the cherry on top, you're got a pretty good sundae. Both of DT's scores came in the fourth quarter as the Broncos kept their foot on the gas, perhaps in response to all the complaints about how conservative they were the last time the nation watched them play.
If linebacker Danny Trevathan hadn't hot-dogged an interception return, bringing back memories of Leon Lett as he dropped the ball in celebration before crossing the goal line, turning a touchdown into a touchback, the score would have been even more lopsided than it was.
At 49-27, it was plenty lopsided anyway. Manning became the sixth player in NFL history to throw seven touchdown passes in a single game, and the first to do it in 44 years. The others were Sid Luckman of the Bears in 1943, Adrian Burk of the Eagles in 1954, George Blanda of the Oilers in 1961, Y.A. Tittle of the Giants in 1962 and Joe Kapp of the Vikings in 1969.
The second-most recent name on the list rang a bell for the most recent.
"Yeah, Joe Kapp -- great Canadian quarterback out of Cal," Manning said. "Kicked the crap out of a guy on YouTube a couple of years ago, too."
Of the six, only Manning and Tittle threw seven touchdowns without an interception. That's sort of a football equivalent to baseball's concept of a perfect game, only more so. There have been far more perfect games in baseball than seven-touchdown-no-interception games in the NFL.
"A couple guys were joking, we were saying it's like Madden -- the only time you get to throw seven touchdowns," Julius Thomas said.
I asked if he had a nickname that would distinguish him on second reference from the other Thomas, and he said he didn't. Someone suggested "Orange Julius" and he said that would be OK with him. I'm not sure it solves the second reference problem.
In any case, his reference to Madden seemed apt. There were times Thursday night when it looked a little like a video game from the press box, especially the first three possessions of the third quarter.
This was not just a win, one game out of 16, although that's certainly what the Broncos will say over the next 10 days as they prepare for a trip to New York and a Manning vs. Manning storyline. It's a long season.
But this was a historic performance that will be cited 50 years from now, just as performances by legendary names like Luckman and Tittle are cited here. This was the very definition of an auspicious beginning.
In exuberance on the field afterward, first-year Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre hugged everyone in sight. In fact, he hugged running back Christian Powell with 27 seconds still on the clock, after Colorado State fumbled away its last chance. A bunch of his players ran to the South Stands to celebrate with their fellow students.
Junior running back Tony Jones walked around as if in a daze, telling everyone he ran into, "Best feeling ever! Best feeling ever!" There may have been an adjective in there somewhere too.
It's been a while since any CU football player said that. Certainly not last year, when the Buffaloes were in the conversation about worst feeling ever. In fact, they scored more points in Sunday's 41-27 victory than in any game last season, when they went 1-11.
A year ago, quarterback Connor Wood, a transfer from Texas, appeared in six games, completing 21 of 42 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions. Of the three quarterbacks who played last year, he was the only one still in a position to compete this year, but the word that he would start -- that any remnant of last year's travesty would lead this year's team -- didn't seem that encouraging.
Sunday he looked like a completely different guy. He completed 33 of 46 passes for 400 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. For the first time since his arrival, he looked in command, despite being on his third head coach and fourth offensive coordinator in four years of college football.
It didn't hurt that his primary target was Paul Richardson, the dynamic weapon who missed all last season after blowing out a knee. Richardson picked up right where he left off before the injury, catching 10 balls for 208 yards and two touchdowns, both long plays on blown Colorado State coverages.
Was Wood transformed by some cosmic force, or did he finally land in a system that gave him a chance to succeed?
"This summer was really huge for me," said Wood, who will turn 22 in November.
"We did those player-run practices three times a week. It was really organized and we got a lot of stuff done doing team drills with all of the offensive linemen. So throughout the summer we got a ton of reps. We hit the ground running in training camp and we continue to try to get better throughout the season. Summer really propelled us into training camp."
From the press box, not only did he look more confident, he looked like he was operating a much better design.
"Scheme has something to do with it, there's no doubt, but work ethic, repetition -- rep after rep after rep -- he has thrown those routes a million times, he's made those calls a million times, he's handled it all," MacIntyre said.
"So I think it's just the repetitions and (offensive coordinator) Brian Lindgren is a great quarterback coach. Not just a good one, a great one. I saw him do it last year. I see him doing it now when I watch every day. Our other quarterbacks are getting better and better . . . .
"Our scheme is very good. We know how to attack things, and the quarterback knows where to go with the ball. Believe it or not, he had some reads tonight -- when he watches tape, he'll go, 'Oh, gosh' -- that he could have hit, and he'll hit those next week and hopefully put up some even bigger numbers."
Which would certainly be interesting. The virtues of MacIntyre's scheme were on display early, when CSU's defensive backs got confused on the Buffs' second play from scrimmage and unaccountably left Richardson, the most dangerous weapon on the field, all alone near the left hash. It's been a while since I've seen a receiver that wide open. There was nobody within at least 20 yards.
"The corner was clouded on me, so I was anticipating the safety being over top of me," Richardson said.
Cloud refers to a zone pass coverage in which the cornerback has responsibility for the flat and a safety is responsible for deeper routes.
"The safety bit on the under route and let me go free," Richardson said.
"It was motion and we didn't get the check," said Rams coach Jim McElwain. "The corner thought he had help and the safety thought he had support."
I asked MacIntyre what he was thinking when he saw his best playmaker that wide open.
"Don't fall down, don't drop it, throw it right to him. I thought all of that at once."
CU dominated the game most of the way. The Buffs ran 81 plays, about what they hoped their fast-paced offense would produce. Colorado State managed 67, but could not sustain enough drives to keep up until the Rams' special teams took over.
"Offensively, we didn't do a very good job of keeping our defense off the field and sustaining drives," McElwain said. "I thought we missed a couple opportunities here and there. But I want you to know this: We've got a very good football team. And I believe in our football team. I believe in the commitment, I believe in what they've done. We've got a ways to go. I get it, OK? But I do, I believe in this football team and I think we've got a lot of good things to look forward to."
The Rams stayed in it on the strength of special teams, which produced a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown and an 84-yard kickoff return that set up another. The Rams were actually ahead for a minute late in the third quarter, 24-23, but the Buffs outscored them 18-3 in the fourth.
The turning point came early in the final quarter with CU back on top 26-24. CSU moved the ball 20 yards in three plays to the Buffs' 48, where Rams quarterback Garrett Grayson hit wide receiver Joe Hansley with a little swing pass. Hansley was CSU's leading receiver in the game -- eight catches for 91 yards -- and the author of the 74-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Buffaloes defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe ripped the ball from Hansley's grasp and cornerback Greg Henderson picked it up and carried it 53 yards the other way. Suddenly, a potential CSU lead had become a two-score deficit at 33-24. A field goal pulled them within a single score and then they busted another coverage on Richardson to finish it.
Considering the state of football at Colorado's two big state schools lately, both schools should be encouraged. They put on an entertaining game that suggested the two coaches, both bright and determined, might just get this thing turned around.
Happily, the outcome wasn't determined by failure, as it often has been recently. It was determined by big-time football plays -- exciting kick returns, hard-to-believe pass plays.
They announced 59,601 tickets distributed for the 76,125-seat Broncos stadium in downtown Denver, which magically became "attendance" in the final box. It was not.
The Broncos regularly report the difference between tickets distributed and tickets actually used. The latter figure is attendance. I consulted with a few other veterans of the joint and decided actual attendance was somewhere in the 45,000-50,000 neighborhood, or about the same as last year.
Which isn't too bad considering these programs combined for five wins last season. If this game was any guide, Colorado college football just might be on the way to getting interesting again.