Buffs Run 125 Plays In First Spring Scrimmage
BOULDER - The University of Colorado football team held its first scrimmage of the fall, as the Buffs ran 125 plays, 90 on offense/defense and 35 special teams, inside Folsom Field on Saturday.
The CU offense didn't waste any time getting into the end zone, as sophomore quarterback Tyler Hansen found senior tight end Patrick Devenny crossing the field and Devenny did the rest as they connected for a 70-yard touchdown on the first play of the scrimmage. Devenny finished the day with four receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
"He's one of those guys who just works hard," Hansen said when asked about Devenny. "He's always finishing first in the sprints. It was just a matter of time before it was going to show on the field, and it showed today. He's doing a good job."
Both Hansen and junior Cody Hawkins had impressive performances at Saturday's scrum, as they both led the offense efficiently as they rotated between first and second-team duties throughout the day. Hansen finished the day 13-of-23 for 207 yards and three touchdowns in addition to two carries for ten yards. Hawkins went 18-of-28 for 328 yards and seven touchdowns; neither quarterback had any turnovers.
"They played pretty efficiently," said coach Dan Hawkins. "We'll have to grade them out, but they didn't turn the ball over and for the most part they both moved the club."
Sophomore Jason Espinoza was the team's leading receiver, as he recorded seven receptions for 154 yards and three touchdowns, all of which came from Hawkins. One player itching to get some game-like action was sophomore wide receiver Markques Simas who showed why the team is so excited to have him on the field this year as he recorded three receptions for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
The other three touchdowns were recorded by players missed the entire 2008 season for various reasons; tight end Ryan Wallace (redshirted) recorded a 12-yard touchdown grab, tight end Luke Walters (injured) recorded a nine-yard touchdown reception and wide receiver Ryan Maxwell (injured) recorded a two-yard scoring grab.
"We have a lot of guys working really hard," Cody Hawkins said when asked about the wide outs. "We don't have a lot of big guys but I think our guys are fighting a lot?the way that Patrick Devenny and Jason Espinoza stepped up today was great. Marques Simas is definitely a guy that was missed last year. We're going to dress things up a bit and put our play-makers in position to do what they do best."
The defense was led by the linebackers, as Marcus Burton had a team-best nine tackles (seven solo), two of which were third-down stops. Michael Sipili was a force on defense as well, recording five stops; two of which were quarterback sacks and three were third-down stops.
"As a defense, we have a lot of stuff we need to work on, but I think the first scrimmage was good," Burton explained. "It doesn't matter (that I led the team in tackles). It's just fitting into my part on the defense, the line makes the plays on defense that allows the linebackers to shoot the gaps and I was able to do some of that today."
Safety Patrick Mahnke had a strong scrimmage as he recorded five tackles, two third-down stops and a quarterback sack. Linebackers Jeff Smart and Zack Farley and defensive lineman Eric Lawson also recorded sacks in Saturday's scrimmage.
While the defense didn't force any turnovers, they had consistent pressure on the quarterback with six sacks and 10 other plays where they hurried the quarterback as well as breaking up six passes.
"It was impressive (from an offensive standpoint)," Dan Hawkins said. "Again, it's a good news, bad news deal. It was a great job by the offense, not so good by the defense. When your offense is really really on it and they're being really diligent than it becomes hard for the defense because your quarterbacks will never just toss one up and throw the ball in there where you have a chance for things to happen?but it's great from an offensive standpoint."
The special teams provided their fair share of highlights, especially in the return game. Incumbent returner Josh Smith returned the ball twice for 121 yards (73 and 58) and Rodney Stewart also had a nice 58-yard return.
Aric Goodman continued to have an impressive spring, as he connected on 7-of-9 field goals (long of 48 yards) and on all six of his extra point attempts. One of Goodman's misses was actually a blocked field goal by Taj Kaynor who recorded one of the two blocked kicks on the day as well as Farley's blocked punt.
The punting game received the crowd's attention as incumbent Matt DiLallo is competing with running back Darrell Scott for punting duties. DiLallo had a solid scrimmage with five kicks for an average of 44.6 yards, a long of 66, one was pinned inside the 20-yard line and he had one blocked. Scott had six kicks for a 37.0 yard average, one pinned inside the 20 and a long of 51-yards that received one of the biggest cheers of the day.
The Buff defense was especially stingy against the run, as they held the offense to 108 yards on 33 carries and only one touchdown. Stewart let the Buffs with 43 yards on 13 carries and the lone touchdown. Brian Lockridge had eight carries for 29 yards and Scott finished with 21 yards on nine carries.
"If you look at what we were doing in the passing game, our defense is really focused on taking away the running game," the younger Hawkins explained. "A lot of times when we beat them over the top, it's because they had nine guys in the box. Anytime you're outnumbered in the box, it's going to be tough to run the football and you need to be able to make plays down the field."
Notes: The Buffs have Sunday off before returning to the practice fields on Monday. Junior tailback Demetrius Sumler received good news when he found out that he only had a strained neck, the coaching staff expects to start easing him back into practice starting on Tuesday. The Buffs scrimmage again next Friday (April 17), but it has yet to be determined whether or not it will be open to the public.
The Annual Spring Game will be held Saturday, April 25, at 1:00 p.m. as part of CU Spring Fest in Folsom Field and is open to the public.