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Buffs Have Full Pads Practice In Prep For Alamo Bowl

Dec 24, 2020
CU's Jarek Broussard is a finalist for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year award.

CU Alamo Bowl Notex

BOULDER — After a planned day off Wednesday, the 4-1 Colorado Buffaloes went back to work Thursday in full pads in preparation for next Tuesday's 7 p.m. Alamo Bowl matchup with 20th-ranked Texas (ESPN).

 CU head coach Karl Dorrell called the workout a "Tuesday-style" practice.

"Kind of getting back into the swing of our normal rhythm," Dorrell said. "Attitude is great. We're working to get our game plans in and we're a little bit ahead of schedule in terms of the information. We have some things to clean up, but I thought the energy was good. We're getting where we need to be."

The Buffs will face a Texas offense, led by quarterback Sam Ehlinger, that averaged 274 yards per game in the air (29th in the nation) while scoring an average of 41.3 points per game (12th in the nation). Ehlinger is a true dual-threat quarterback, as he threw for 2,406 yards and 25 touchdowns this year along with rushing for 382 yards and eight scores.

"He's a dynamic player," Dorrell said. "The thing I'm impressed with is he's a big athlete, physically strong. He's become a very efficient passer, has great fundamental skills, he works the pocket and he can extend plays."

Defensively, the Longhorns gave up 274.2 yards per game this year, 114th in the nation. On the ground, however, Texas allowed just 135.6 yards per game while giving up just under 30 points per game.

The bowl appearance is no doubt a reward for a CU team that ignored prognostications and produced a second-place finish in the Pac-12 South and reached the nation's top 25.

Now, Dorrell said, the chance to play in a state that has been a fertile recruiting ground for Colorado against a tradition-laden program is another opportunity.

"To finish this season on a positive note would be a feather in everyone's cap for all the fruits of their labor," he said. "We're trying to get this team geared to play well and hopefully get a victory at the end of this thing."

ON BROUSSARD: When Dorrell arrived in Boulder and began studying the CU roster last spring, he admits running back Jarek Broussard's name didn't jump out. Broussard, hampered by injuries his first two years in Boulder, has never played a down for CU.

"He was one of those guys that was just on the peripheral of our thoughts," Dorrell said. "We thought it would be Alex Fontenot, the guys that played last year. It was, 'We'll see if he's ready for camp, where he would be in our depth chart, things like that.'"

But Broussard surprised everyone. He had an excellent summer in strength and conditioning and became the most consistent back in fall camp. He then rushed for 813 yards and three touchdowns in five games to earn the Pac-12's Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Earlier this week, he was named a finalist for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year,

"For that scenario to happen back in March and how we ended camp — he was our best player in that position," Dorrell said. "We weren't sure if he was going to be healthy enough to play — to now he was the player of the year. He's come a long way."

SCHEDULE: The Buffs will have Christmas Day off, then return to practice on Saturday before flying to San Antonio on Saturday evening. They will then have two days of preparation in San Antonio before Tuesday night's game.

ACTUAL CROWD NOISE: Because of different Covid-19 restrictions in Texas than in most places in the Pac-12 footprint, the Buffs will also see a crowd for the first time this year. While they did have a handful of family on hand for their opener against UCLA, they could see between 15,000 and 18,000 fans at the Alamodome.

"To me, it's going to look like a sellout compared to what we've been dealing with the last five games," Dorrell said.

Contact: Neill.Woelk@Colorado.edu