Colorado bolstered by Oklahoma game, despite loss

Updated: October 30, 2003, 4:09 PM ET

BOULDER, Colo. -- There is a surprising amount of optimism around the Colorado football team these days for a club that is 3-5.

The Buffaloes say they were satisfied to throw a scare into top-ranked Oklahoma last Saturday, a game they ended up losing 34-20. They were heartened by an effort that has apparently changed the players' outlook on practice and game days.

"Definitely," quarterback Joel Klatt said Wednesday.

The Buffs will have another tough test this weekend when they visit high-scoring Texas Tech. But practice habits are better and film-watching habits, particularly among the younger players, are improving.

"I see a difference," senior safety Clyde Surrell said. "We're ready to go out with a bang."

After the Red Raiders, Colorado faces Missouri, Iowa State and Nebraska. The Buffs would like to win all four.

"We understand that if we would have played that way the whole season, we could be 7-1 or whatever," running back Brian Calhoun said. "So I think we're uplifted, and we're looking forward to these next four games."

Added Klatt: "I think that more than having to gain confidence, I think we had to learn how to play hard as a football team. I was commenting to some people, the reason that teams like Oklahoma win every week is because they play like that every week."

Over the past two seasons, Colorado is 6-1 in November, including two wins over Nebraska, two wins over Iowa State and two wins over Missouri.

"We've played hard, we've played well and we've played good opponents in November," coach Gary Barnett said. "So if there's a little history on our side it says we're going to play well in November."

Good preparation has been lacking this season, something Barnett blamed on the youth of his team. But that seems to be changing.

"We saw enough (against Oklahoma) for all of us to be excited about our opportunity," Barnett said. "And we have, from the very first meeting (this week), put emphasis on playing our best football at the end of the year. Everybody is excited about playing."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

SPONSORED HEADLINES

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM