Day 5 of practices. Helmets, shoulder pads, shorts and no tackling.
Today was the first time the Buffs practiced outside. The weather was nice and sunny (65-70 degrees), with some wind coming out of the West. The advantage for the players and coaches in practicing outdoors is that they are more spread out, and capable of having more room for drills, as opposed to being bunched up in the dome. The disadvantage for spectators, like myself, is that it is twice as hard to see everything that is going on.
Nonetheless, here are some observations from practice:
- Players, coaches, and fans were greeted with a big banner that read “PASSION” when walking through the gates onto the practice field–a reminder of why these student athletes play this game.
- The Defense looked very sharp throughout most of practice.
- Defensive coordinator Ron Collins has shown various formations, which has given the defense the ability to bring pressure from all over. Marquez Herrod, Marcus Burton and Patrick Mahnke all recorded sacks, and Mike Sipili batted down a pass. Continue reading
Day 4 of spring practice in the bubble.
The $3 million facility has been getting a lot of use by Hawkins and the Buffs, and why not? With Colorado weather being so unpredictable, I don’t blame the fourth year coach for holding practice in a controlled environment. Also, the soft playing surface in the bubble is a lot more forgiving than the thawing ground of the outside practice fields.
After the weekend, the young CU team was in full pads again today, picking up where it left off on Friday.
Here are some of my observations from practice:
- The Buffs didn’t mess around today and went to an 11-on-11 no huddle, two minute drill immediately after team stretches.
- The offense moved the ball well, and Markques Simas made a nice grab (approx. 20 yards) down the field for a TD on one of the plays. Continue reading
Day 3 of practices. Again in the bubble. First day of full pads.
Here are some observations from todays practice:
- If I were to place a theme on today’s practice it would be special teams and urgency.
- Like they’ve done all spring, the offense worked out of a huddled offense. However, there was a sense of urgency in breaking the huddle and sprinting to their spots for a quick snap.
- Special Teams have been an emphasis all spring, and today was no exception. Hawk has also made it an emphasis to get the best players on the field as much as possible. Point in case: Nate Solder (6’9″) and Ryan Miller (6’8″) lining up on the field goal blocking team. Miller showed off his size as he was able to get his hand on a field goal attempt from Aric Goodman. To Goodman’s defense, it could have been a kick from Mason Crosby, and Miller still would have blocked it with the penetration he created. Continue reading
Day 2 of spring practices in the bubble. Shorts and helmets.
Here are a few observations from today’s practice:
- I’ve only seen Denver Johnson (the new offensive line coach) twice in action, but I already love the guy. I don’t know what fires me up more about him–his high white socks, or the fact that he stands on the blocking sled during drills. He seems like a very good hands on, technique kind of coach.
- It’s a great sight to see the 14 healthy offensive linemen participating in drills this spring. It’s hard to believe that two springs ago, we only had 6 offensive line to work with.
- I think it is safe to say that Rodney Stewart and Brian Lockridge are healthy. They both are making good cuts and show no signs of setbacks. I remember last season, Coach Hagan saying that Speedy is the type of guy that could make you miss in a phone booth. It’s good to see B-Lock going at full speed…in fact, I’ve determined that the guy has 2 speeds: stop, and really fast. Continue reading
When Dan Hawkins joined the Buffs from Boise State, fans had hopes of a high powered offense attack with the ability to stretch the field with its passing game. However, in Hawk’s three years in Boulder, the Buffs pass offense has ranked 12th in the Big 12 in 2006, 10th in 2007, and 11th in 2008. In a pass-happy Big 12, the Buffs will need to improve these rankings if they hope to compete at a Big 12 North Title. This Spring, CU will have four scholarship wide receivers competing for playing time, and seven walk-on’s competing for a roster spot.
The anticipated debut of Markques Simas will be a huge boost to the Buffs. He has great size (6’2″, 200lbs.), speed, and route running abilities. It was a huge blow to the Buffs offense when he was declared academically ineligible last Fall. From what I’ve seen in practices, he is by far the best receiver on CU’s roster. If he keeps his grades up, he can be an All-Big 12 receiver in the immediate future. He should start and see plenty of action in 2009.