Buffs Start Final Week of Spring Practices
BOULDER-The University of Colorado football team started its final week of spring football outside on Monday, due to the clear skies and warm weather.
One of the surprise players of the spring would have to be sophomore linebacker B.J. Beatty who is pushing two-year starter Brad Jones not just for playing time but for his starting position. Beatty credits graduate assistant coach Andy Avalos for helping with his improvement.
"Coach Avalos has really been helping me," Beatty said. "We've been doing extra work?ladders, hand drills, and watching more film."
At practice on Monday the defense was using a 3-4 defensive alignment on occasion with Beatty, Jones, Marcus Burton and Jeff Smart manning the four linebacker spots.
"You always want to get your best players on the field," head coach Dan Hawkins said when asked about the new defensive look. "It's nice to get some new looks."
Coach Hawkins addressed how well the offense has been moving the ball on the ground and how that has been an offensive strength this spring. He added that that also means the defense has to work on their run defense for the same reason.
"We're adapting really well," sophomore tailback Brian Lockridge said. "We changed our entire offense so things have been difficult at times but we're really starting to come along. In the spring game we should be moving fast with no confusion."
Now that Coach Hawkins is in his third spring in Boulder, the team is starting to pick up new philosophies quickly and there isn't the apparent learning curve that there had been in the past, particularly in his first spring two years ago. This has been the biggest difference in the coaching staff's ability to start adding more complex schemes.
"You can't show up on your first day and build a space ship," Hawkins said. "Orville and Wilbur (Wright) don't know how to fly that."
Beatty agreed with that assessment, saying that the defense is really starting to come together and commenting that mentally the defense is significantly ahead of where they were last year.
This is the first spring football for a number of players, and the extra practice and work has not gone unappreciated by the players.
"So far I really like spring ball," Lockridge said. "It's a great learning experience, everyone gets reps and it's a time for us to improve both individually and as a team."