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Buffs Back in Pads

Mar 16, 2006

BOULDER - The University of Colorado football team was back at it Thursday evening, returning to the practice fields after its midweek day off. The Buffs drilled for two and a half hours, donning pads for the first time. It's still early in the spring, but Head Coach Dan Hawkins is pleased with his team's demeanor thus far.


            "We're not even close (to where we want to be execution-wise). But attitude-wise, yeah. I like our attitude. I like how we are running around and how these kids are listening and being coachable. We are still a long ways away from executing how I would like to."


            Hawkins' fiery competitive spirit that he instills in his players came through as sophomore safety Ben Burney was returning an interception. The first-year CU coach sprinted down the sideline after him, attempting to strip the ball, and then gave him congratulatory high-five in the end zone.


"I've still got a little juice," he said. "I'm starting to get a little more acclimated (to the altitude). I've got some more hemoglobin in my blood."


Burney's interception was one of three turnovers caused by the defense, so Hawkins gave the offense the opportunity for redemption. Three offensive linemen unsuccessfully attempted to field punts in an attempt to "erase" the mistakes made by the offense.


"We put three big boys out there to try and save their team. It's nice to sometimes give these unheralded guys a chance to help their team?unfortunately they weren't able to field the punts.


"I want them to have fun, but they have to know that this turnover thing is a big deal."


Practice Notes: Senior quarterback James Cox sat out much of the practice after injuring his thumb. Hawkins said he hit his thumb on a helmet and that he would be fine. At the end of practice, the Buffs had a "Skill Sumo" drill. It pitted an offensive player versus a defensive player in a circular ring lined by cones. Each player had a blocking pad on each hand and tried to push his opponent out of the ring. If the offensive player won, the whole defense had to do push-ups, and vice-versa. "I always like to get guys out and compete," Hawkins said. "We did that sumo thing there to get guys going. We try to make it fun for these guys too."