Buffs Hold First Full Spring Scrimmage
BOULDER - The University of Colorado football team marked nearing the midway point of spring drills by scrimmaging for 94 plays in just under an hour and a half here Saturday morning.
Eight starters were injured and unable to play, but head coach Gary Barnett and his staff got a good look at some of the younger players who had a chance to show their stuff in the seventh of 15 practices allotted in the spring.
"I'm looking for good things individually from our players," Barnett said. "I'm not too worried about how well the offense and defense play, I just want to know who is making progress and which guys we can count on in the fall."
The scrimmage started off with a bang?literally. On the third play of the first drive, wide receiver Dusty Sprague came over the middle of the field on a crossing route and was met by linebacker Brian Iwuh, who delivered a drilling hit and caused an incompletion.
"We need to keep Iwuh off the field against our own team because he keeps knocking guys out," Barnett said. "Iwuh knocked him into yesterday. Dusty thinks he's from Kansas."
Iwuh finished the scrimmage with three total tackles, a third down stop and a pass broken up. Linebackers Akarika Dawn and Thaddaeus Washington also had standout performances for the defense. Dawn tallied five total tackles, one of the Buffs' two sacks, a tackle for a loss, a third down stop and a pass broken up. Washington recorded five total tackles, a half sack, a tackle for a loss, a third down stop, a quarterback pressure and an interception which he returned for five yards. Linebacker Chris Hollis also contributed two solo tackles and recovered a Bernard Jackson fumble which he returned for 36 yards down the sideline.
In the secondary, cornerback Corey Reid had a team-high seven total tackles, including two third down stops. Cornerback Lorenzo Sims broke up two passes and snagged an interception, and safety Ryan Walters continued to impress his coaches with a five-tackle performance, including one for a loss.
The scrimmage wasn't all defense, however, as the offense was able to sustain some long drives and convert them for scores. On the second drive of the morning, quarterback Joel Klatt connected on 4-of-5 passes, including two third down conversions. He finished off the drive with an 11-yard scoring strike to tight end Joe Klopfenstein. Klatt finished the scrimmage completing 8-of-16 passes for 71 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
"I felt really good today," Klatt said. "I made good decisions and our receivers were in the right spots."
Barnett also lauded the performances of backup quarterbacks James Cox and Jackson. Cox led the offense on a 90-yard scoring drive which included a 37-yard pass to wide receiver Marcus Gonzales. The drive was capped by a four-yard touchdown run by fullback Paul Creighton. Cox finished with 94 yards on 7-of-13 passing and an interception. Jackson showed flashes of his great quickness and scrambling ability, rushing for 45 yards on eight carries. He also had two good runs which were wiped out by holding penalties.
Running back Brandon Caesar led the rushing attack with 25 yards on six carries. V-Back Lawrence Vickers was limited to nine yards on five carries, while running back Byron Ellis contributed 23 yards on 10 carries and Hugh Charles chipped in 12 yards on nine carries. Despite the ineffectiveness of the running game, Barnett came away impressed by the talent he has to work with in the backfield.
"Hugh (Charles) has really improved," Barnett said. "He gives us a dimension in the backfield we haven't had before?pure speed."
Four of the Buffs' top receivers were inactive, including tight end Quinn Sypniewski who sustained a concussion in Friday's practice. Wide receiver Patrick Williams, who Barnett said is getting better and better, made the most of his opportunity and led the offense with five receptions for 45 yards.
The Buffs will practice again on Monday from 3:30-5:45, weather permitting. The Buffs are two weeks and seven practices away from the annual spring game on April 23 at Folsom Field.
Drive 2?Klopfenstein 11 pass from Klatt (Crosby kick)
Drive 3?Creighton 3 run (Garden kick)
Drive 15?Crosby 21 FG
Drive 17?Garden 39 FG
Plays?94 (includes kicks & penalties). Time?1:27
Individual Leaders (Full Stats Attached in PDF)
Rushing?Jackson 8-45, Caesar 6-25, Ellis 10-23, Cox 1-13, Charles 1-12, Vickers 5-9.
Passing?Klatt 16-8-1, 71, 1 td; Cox 13-7-1, 94, 0; Jackson 8-3-0, 28, 0.
Receiving?Williams 5-45, Goettsch 2-25, Klopfenstein 2-20, Joseph 2-16, Gonzales 1-33, Crawford 1-15, Vickers 1-13, Charles 1-12.
Interception Returns?T.Washington 1-7, Sims 1-0.
Tackle Leaders?Reid 6,1?7; Walters 6,1?7; Dawn 5,1?6; T.Washington 2,4?6; Dizon 4,0?4; Ligon 4,0?4; Iwuh 3,0?3; Sanders 2,1?3; Garee 1,2?3.