Buffs Run Through First Spring Scrimmage
BOULDER-The University of Colorado football team conducted its first scrimmage of the spring in Folsom Field Saturday in conjunction with Junior Day.
About 200 guests comprised of high school juniors and their parents, along with about 300 more spectators, came out to enjoy a sunny day of Buffalo football and the team's first practice in pads this spring.
"I think the whole team is way different," head coach Dan Hawkins said. "They are all playing better?better intensity, better attention to detail and knowing what they are doing. Even in limited action there was more offense in this scrimmage than there was in the whole spring or fall last year. It's not even close. The whole team is much better that way."
The team was limited because only five offensive linemen were available for live drills. Junior Erick Faatagi is still recovering from knee surgery last season and junior Daniel Sanders is day to day with a bruised knee.
"When [Jeff] Tedford took over at Cal, I think he had four [offensive] linemen," Hawkins said. "And everything they did was kind of half-sided and one-on-one things. It's interesting because I thought it was a pretty creative way to practice. And I think later they were going ?we should practice like that all the time.'"
In just 34 live plays from scrimmage, the Buffs were able to rack up 200 total yards on offense. Redshirt freshman Cody Hawkins completed 5-of-7 passes for 105 yards, including a 49-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Cha'pelle Brown. Junior Nick Nelson completed 3-of-7 passes for 51 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman running back Demetrius Sumler. Senior Bernard Jackson completed his only pass for eight yards to sophomore running back Kevin Moyd. Jackson did not practice Thursday which was one reason he did not see as much live action as the other two quarterbacks.
"Part of it also is just trying to force feed those two guys [Cody Hawkins and Nelson] a little bit," Dan Hawkins said. "And then obviously we will bring Bernard along."
Senior Dusty Sprague led all receivers with three catches for 43 yards, and the running game produced 17 rushes for 51 yards.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Marquez Herrod led all defenders with three total tackles (all solo). Sophomore defensive tackle Taj Kaynor and sophomore linebacker Michael Sipili both registered quarterback sacks.
Brown, who caught the 49-yards pass from Cody Hawkins, is seeing his fist action at wide receiver for the Buffs after playing cornerback as a true freshman last season.
"You get guys who can do both [offense and defense], who are good with the ball in their hands and then you try to find out where they fit in best," Hawkins said. "With him I think his size [5'7, 175] is probably more conducive to being successful on offense to some degree than he is on defense just because of match up problems at some times. That's not to say that someone his size can't play DB, but I just think he is better suited as an offensive guy."
It remains to be seen who will be throwing the ball to Brown and the rest of the Buffs' receivers next fall, but Hawkins said the coaching staff has not put a lot of emphasis on the quarterback battle yet.
"I think it's kind of unfair a little bit, particularly to Nick, just to say ?hey we are going to start charting it from Day One,'" Hawkins said. "You have to give that guy a chance. [Offensive coordinator] Mark [Helfrich] started Thursday and [after] this practice we will start charting guys and getting their rating going."
Cody Hawkins said the three quarterbacks have all been supportive of each other in an attempt to improve the offense.
"It's definitely a lot of fun and competing is only going to make us better," Cody Hawkins said. "We all want to win football games and we have to have the best quarterback out there. We are only going to get that accomplished if we help out one another."