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Buffs Kick Off Spring Ball In Strong Fashion

Mar 30, 2005

BOULDER - Exactly three months and one day removed from its 33-28 victory in the 2004 Houston Bowl, the University of Colorado football team took to the gridiron Wednesday afternoon for its opening practice of the spring and officially kicked off the 2005 campaign.


In what was the first of 15 practices over the next few weeks, the Buffaloes drilled for two hours in cold conditions accompanied by steady snow during last 15 minutes of the day. While head coach Gary Barnett admitted his troops were somewhat out of form, he was happy to report that the initial day of camp was an overall success.  


"There was a lot of energy today, but we sort of looked a little bit like dogs chasing cars," he stated. "But, we had so much energy that it was a good practice. We were rusty, but it was good to get the first day out of the way." 


Senior quarterback and team leader Joel Klatt agreed with his coach's assertion, noting specifically that he and his teammates were eager to build off last season's fortunes. More so, Klatt felt that the Buffs treated their first practice as a stepping stone that will ultimately provide the confidence and attitude needed in the coming weeks.


"It went really well for our first day," Klatt added. "Obviously we need to get the kinks out and work on the new installations, but getting back out there and getting your feet on the field feels good. We're just going to continue to get better, keep getting those young guys ready and improve as a team over the next 14 days.


"Spring ball gives you an opportunity to look to the future, prepare yourself and set certain goals as a team. Right now, we feel we could good be a really good ball club. And, we have a great chance to be just that with all the experience we return."


On a team that boasts 21 seniors ? compared to last year's 12 ? the Buffs return 17 starters, including seven on offense and 10 on defense. In addition, CU has six players with significant game experience, which means those players have started three or more career contests. Because of this, the Buffs have reason to smile, and Barnett also knows that he can enjoy the comfort of being ahead of schedule after Day 1.


"We have a lot of guys coming back, so we're probably able to move at a faster pace because so many are back," the seventh-year head man proclaimed. "We already have a lot of the offense and defense in, and we were able to get right to it today even though it was rusty. I think we may be a step ahead than we normally are at this point in time because we do have so many guys back."


"It's great to get things going again, get out on the field and be with your teammates to throw the ball around," junior inside linebacker Thaddaeus Washington added. "We know we have talent on this team, and we are all more mature after last year. We had a great off-season, and I think everybody trained really hard. Now it's time to take what we've done over the past few months and get results on the field."


Injury Update: V-back Lawrence Vickers missed practice with streptococcus, but Barnett said he expects the senior to return to action Friday ... Junior tight end Dan Goettsch tweaked his back during practice, but should be healthy enough to drill Friday.


Welcome Newcomers: The Buffs welcomed two new coaches to the field Wednesday, as defensive line coach Bill Inge donned a Colorado whistle for the first time along with former technical intern and CU quarterback Darian Hagan, who was named an offensive assistant in February. When asked how the two handled their first practice, Barnett said: "They need to learn their systems, but they are doing just fine. They will be fine."