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Buffs Close Out Spring Football

Apr 14, 2007

BOULDER?The University of Colorado football team held its annual spring game under sunny skies Saturday afternoon.


It's safe to say the Buffs have made considerable strides?especially on offense?since last spring under the new system put in by head coach Dan Hawkins.


When asked about the difference between last year's spring game and this season's, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich described it as a ?180.'


"We were just joking about that in our locker room I don't think I spoke for about an hour after last year's spring game," Helfrich said. "Our guys have really improved a ton, made a lot of progress and stayed healthy. The defense made some plays but we also made some very correctable mistakes and that wasn't always the case last year."


The Buffs mixed live scrimmages with 7-on-7 drills and special teams work, completing a total of 13 drives.


Junior Nick Nelson and redshirt freshman Cody Hawkins saw most of the action at quarterback, while senior Bernard Jackson lined up under center in designed running plays.


Nelson completed 3-of-10 passes for 30 yards and an interception during live action. He also had two rushes for 20 yards. He fared better in 7-on-7 drills, completing 21-of-28 passes for 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.


"I think [besides learning the offense], I need to work on getting my timing down with the receivers."


Hawkins completed 12-of-20 passes for 119 yards an interception and a touchdown in live action. In 7-on-7 drills, he completed 15-of-23 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.


"There were a lot of things we did well, a lot of things we could have done better and a lot of things we need to work on for the fall," Cody Hawkins said. "We have to take the mistakes we made out here today and refine them in the off season.


Jackson finished as the team's leading rusher during the scrimmage, with 82 yards on nine attempts. His work was highlighted by a 37-yard touchdown run as a running back on the seventh drive of the scrimmage. Jackson also lined up at wide receiver and returned three kickoffs for 96 yards. 


"Its exciting with all these formations getting thrown at us," Jackson said. "It's just like playing quarterback except I play at different positions. I have the knowledge of what's going on and I can just apply it [wherever I play]."


Junior wide receiver Patrick Williams led all players with four catches for 48 yards. Senior tight end Joe Sanders added two catches for 28 yards. Senior wide receiver Dusty Sprague caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Cody Hawkins.


Defensively, senior safety Lionel Harris led all players with six total tackles. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Eric Lawson made five tackles and two third down stops. Junior defensive tackle George Hypolite made four tackles and added a sack and a third down stop.


Sophomore linebacker Jake Duren intercepted a Cody Hawkins pass late in the scrimmage and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown in part to a crushing block by junior safety Ryan Walters.


"Once we get a little more detail oriented we [the defense] will be right where we want to be," said senior linebacker Jordon Dizon, who finished with three tackles.


Dizon praised the secondary for the marked improvement the defense has made since last season.


"Those young guys are coming up and they are coming up quick," he said. "I'm excited to see them grow."


With nearly 6,000 fans in attendance to watch football in nearly pristine weather conditions, the Buffs made sure they came out with a game-like mentality.


"When fans are in the stands the intensity is a little higher," Cody Hawkins said. "It took us a little while to get the ball rolling but I think we ended pretty well."