BUFFS READY TO SQUARE OFF IN SPRING FINALE
BOULDER - The University of Colorado football team finished up its last day of spring practice Friday afternoon, and now the Buffs are primed to hit the field for their annual spring game Saturday afternoon in Folsom Field (1 p.m.), which is free and open to the public.
After only practicing for an hour in shorts, interim head coach Brian Cabral said that his team had a good, light go during the day. Conserving energy for their big scrimmage, which will pit the "Black" team versus the "White" team, the Buffs left the practice turf in a spirited fashion anxiously awaiting Saturday's showdown.
Due to the low amount of injuries sustained during drills this spring, CU was able to create two different teams by conducting a player draft. Senior defensive tackle Matt McChesney captained the White team, and with his first pick he chose junior quarterback Joel Klatt. At captain for the Black team, senior tailback Bobby Purify selected sophomore guard Brian Daniels with his first preference.
With the choice of Klatt, sophomore James Cox ? who is next on the depth chart ? was automatically drafted as the Black squad's quarterback, just as another starting offensive linemen was given to the White team to balance out the choice of Daniels. The remainder of the draft carried on with this format, as the Black squad finished with 37 total players compared to the White's 34.
"There is a lot of competition happening already between the Black team and the White team," Cabral stated after practice. "If we stay healthy (during the scrimmage), we can finish the game that way. If not, we may have to change jerseys at halftime and do the offense against defense. But, this is the format the players were asking for. They are really into this."
And so too is the personnel surrounding the Buff players. Cabral also said that even the athletic trainers, weight room staff, academic support staff and media relations office has been split up evenly for either the Black or White teams. Over the past three seasons, CU used a "defense vs. offense" points system, but this year's coaching staff decided that there are enough available players to make a change. With the goal of getting the entire football department actively involved in the game, Cabral believes that everyone is excited to be a part of the 2004 CU face-off.
"The game plan will be very simple on both sides of the ball," Cabral added. "We are looking for execution and to just let the players play and execute like they can. The history of this format is a pretty tight, pretty close and pretty competitive game."
To raise the stakes and competition even higher, the losing team will serve the winners a steak and shrimp dinner next Wednesday night, and the losers will dine on beans and franks. Taking matters even further, Cabral also split the beat media up between the two teams, as each losing reporter must bring the winning reporter his favorite snack treat during the first session of fall camp two-a-days.
Cabral will be the head coach of the White team, while offensive coordinator Shawn Watson will man the helm for the Black.
Spring Game Notes: CU will not perform any punt or kick off returns, as following a third down the ball will be advanced 40 yards to simulate a punt, or placed on the 25 yardline after a score. The Buffs will, however, kick field goals. ... Klatt will be the only quarterback who is not "live" for tackling, as Cabral said this spurred some debate between the two teams over the rules. ... Wide receiver Blake Mackey (leg) will not play for the White team, nor will offensive tackle Sam Wilder (arm). ... Tailback Brian Calhoun (knee), linebacker Chris Hollis (foot) and receiver Stephone Robinson (hamstring) will also be sidelined for the Black squad. ... Preceding the game from 10:30 a.m.-Noon, kids can join players on the field for the "CU Experience" to participate in drills and challenges. Autographs will also be available at this time. ... At 11:30 a.m., an alumni flag football game will take place between many former Buff greats. ... After the scrimmage, the Buff Club will hold a barbecue in Balch Fieldhouse. For information or to reserve a spot, call 303-492-5497.