Colorado Daily – April

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Colorado Daily – April

April 30th

Vote in CU poll to name Top 12 Buffs

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the University of Colorado’s first All-American in football, Byron “Whizzer” White, KOA and CUBuffs.com are conducting a fan competition to select 12 of the best players since White to wear the Buffalo uniform.

CUBuffs.com has broken down the candidates into six groups, and fans will select two from each to “share the spotlight.” Thus two players from the following areas will be voted on to come up with a dozen Buffaloes since 1937 who have excelled at their positions: offensive skill (quarterback, tailback and receiver), offensive line (tackle, guard, center and tight end), defensive line (end, tackle, nose guard), linebacker (inside/outside), defensive back and specialists.

For a player to be listed in a group, he must have been named a first- or second team All-American, earned multiple first-team All-Conference honors, had a distinguished NFL career, or be at or very near the top on CU’s all-time statistical lists.

Here is a link to the poll

Here is how I voted (you can vote for two in each category). Feel free to completely disagree:

Offensive skill: Kordell Stewart; Eric Bieniemy

Offensive line: Andre Gurode; Jay Leeuwenburg (Joe Garten would be a very close third)

Defensive line: Joel Steed: Tyler Brayton

Linebacker (impossibly hard category): Alfred Williams; Matt Russell

Secondary (almost as difficult): Deon Figures; Dick Anderson (though I didn’t see Anderson play. Of players I’ve seen play, I would put in Victor Scott)

Specialists: Mason Crosby; Barry Helton

What do you think?

Oregon quarterback without an NFL contract

Darron Thomas, who gave up his final season of eligibility at Oregon to go pro, remains unsigned.

He left Eugene as UO’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (66). He was also sixth in total offense (6,633 yards) and seventh in passing yards (5,910).

Thomas went undrafted, and did not sign a free-agent contract with any NFL team. Thomas has been offered the opportunity to mini-camps by the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, with a chance to try out for those teams.

April 28th

Ryan Miller and Toney Clemons drafted … Other Buffs sign as free agents

Ryan Miller

“With the 25th pick of the 5th round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select … Ryan Miller, offensive lineman, Colorado”.

The Browns took Miller with the 160th overall pick, in a selection acquired from the Denver Broncos. Miller said earlier this week that he believed he was able to change some opinions about his ability in February at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was the only Buff invited there this year. “People knew I was a big body, but they weren’t sure I could move,” he said. “I think I really proved a lot of that at the combine. … I’m thankful for wherever this opportunity is. It’s not one that many people get and I’m trying to make the most of it.”

Miller’s selection marks the seventh consecutive year that at least one CU Buff has been taken in the NFL draft. Since Colorado was last shut out of the draft, in 2005,  at least two Buffs have been taken in every draft except for the 2009 draft, when linebacker Brad Jones (seventh round, Green Bay) was the only Buff chosen.

“I’m thankful for it . . . I’m a Brown now and I couldn’t be happier,” Miller said. “It’s a dream come true; every kid whoever puts on a helmet wants to play in the NFL.”

Miller’s first look from the Browns will come at right tackle, then on the left side, then possibly at either guard. He reports to Cleveland on May 10 for rookie orientation, then minicamp.

“I’m an offensive lineman,” Miller said. “l’ll play wherever I need to play, wherever they need me.” 

Colorado has a long history with the Cleveland, with Miller becoming the 15th Buff to be selected by the Browns. In the past 20 seasons, five other Buffs have been late round selections by Cleveland: Rico Smith, wide receiver (6th round, 1992); Darrin Chiaverini, wide receiver (5th round, 1999); Brad Bedell, guard (6th round, 2000); Rashidi Barnes, safety (seventh round, 2000); and Lawrence Vickers, running back (6th round, 2006).

The highest round of any CU player chosen by the Cleveland Browns? None other than Dave Logan, chosen in the third round by the Browns in 1976.

Toney Clemons

“With the 24th pick in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select … Toney Clemons, wide receiver, Colorado”.

The Steelers took Clemons with the 231st overall pick. Clemons, a Pennsylvania prep star (heading home!), came to Colorado as a transfer from Michigan, but did not initially live up to expectations. Still, Clemons finished strong, completing his CU career 17th in all-time receiving yards (1,162) and tied for 18th in all-time receptions (86), with his 11 touchdown receptions tied for the ninth most.  When he reached the 1,000-yard plateau, he became the 22nd player in school annals to do so.  His 11 touchdown catches covered 284 total yards, or 25.8 per score.  He became the first player to play in the Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences in his career with CU’s switch to the latter in 2011.  At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Clemons was named by the coaches as the co-recipient (with QB Tyler Hansen) of CU’s John Mack Award as the team’s most outstanding offensive player.

Clemons ended his senior season with a flourish, making 25 receptions in the final give games for 476 yards (19 yards per catch) and five touchdowns.

Clemons, a Pittsburgh native, grew up “loving the Steelers” and called being drafted by them “a complete shock . . . this is such a blessing.” He was told Pittsburgh was contemplating taking him in the fifth round, but selected another player. Then, without a sixth round pick, the Steelers came back to him in round seven.

He said the final month and a half of his college career opened Saturday’s door: “It didn’t matter what I tested, what my measurables were . . . making plays against the teams I did, that was huge for me. (Pittsburgh) said, ‘Let’s put tape on him against great competition’ – and I had that run of six of seven games. And then coach (Jon) Embree, coach (Eric) Bieniemy and coach (Rip) Scherer took a stand for me. I wouldn’t be in this position without them.”

Clemons said he plans to “go in with the same positive attitude and get on as many (special) teams as I can . . . they’ve got a lot of great guys there. But I plan on working and doing whatever I can to stay.”

Clemons becomes the 12th Buff selected by Pittsburgh, but there was a time in the 1990′s when the black-and-gold lineup of the Steelers was filled with the black-and-gold of Colorado. Between 1991 and 1998, six Buffs were selected by Pittsburgh, including four in the first two rounds. The 1990′s Buffs who were drafted by Pittsburgh: Ariel Solomon, offensive tackle (10th round, 1991); Joel Steed, defensive lineman, (third round, 1992); Deon Figures, cornerback (first round, 1993); Chad Brown, linebacker (third round, 1993); Charles E. Johnson, wide receiver (first round, 1994); Kordell Stewart, quarterback (second round, 1995); Ryan Olson, defensive lineman, (sixth round, 1998).

Of the 24 all-time first-round draft picks in CU history, three of them were chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In addition to Deon Figures and Charles E. Johnson, above, the Steelers chose one Byron “Whizzer” White with the fourth overall pick of the 1938 NFL draft.

Free Agent Buffs

Colorado graduated 28 players this past season. Only two were drafted, leaving others to try and catch on with other teams as free agents. Below is a list of CU seniors who are reporting to have signed with NFL teams:

Quarterback Tyler Hansen – Cincinnati Bengals

Running back Rodney Stewart – Cincinnati Bengals

Defensive lineman Conrad Obi – Arizona Cardinals

Others …

Former CU running back Darrell Scott – Dallas Cowboys

UCLA wide receiver Tyler Embree – San Diego Chargers

Infamous Oregon speedster Cliff Harris – Philadelphia Eagles

Washington running back Chris Polk – Philadelphia Eagles

Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore (50-3 in his collegiate career) – Detroit Lions

Colorado State offensive lineman Paul Madsen – Buffalo Bills

Colorado State running back Raymond Carter – Jacksonville Jaguars

Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict – Cincinnati Bengals

April 27th

Police reports from Ft. Collins released

Following up on the report Thursday that three CSU football players were only charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from a fight with fellow students on April 6th (story below), the Coloradoan has put out a story containing the Ft. Collins police reports.

Highlights … Junior defensive end Nordly Capi, junior linebacker Mike Orakpo and junior defensive end Colton Paulhus were all charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Also charged was freshman Donny Gocha, whom the three are accused of beating April 6. Police said Gocha was so badly hurt he looked like the “Elephant man” following the beating. The three football players were suspended from the team the day after the fight.

 According to Gocha, he and the football players exchanged homophobic slurs about 11:45 p.m. near the intersection of Shields Street and LaPorte Avenue. The football players then piled out of their SUV and fought with Gocha, witnesses said. Gocha’s friends tried to protect him as he was knocked unconscious.

According to police:

• Gocha told police that when the football players got out of the SUV, he said to one of them, “Well, are you going to sit there and call me a faggot,” and then got into a shoving match, grabbed the man’s legs and then blacked out after being repeatedly hit. Gocha told police that he remembered the man saying “hit him, hit this bitch” before he blacked out. “Gocha said he was not planning on starting a fight when he went to confront the male…,” police said.

• Redshirt freshman linebacker Aaron Davis, who was in the car, said everyone got out of Paulhus’ white Lincoln SUV and “Orakpo, Capi and Paulhus began assaulting these other guys.”

• Linebacker Nuuvali Faapito said that when he got out of the SUV, he saw Capi and Orakpo piled on top of someone and that he told Gocha’s friends to leave because they were overmatched. Faapito said he apologized to Gocha’s friends, and then he and Davis walked away because they didn’t want to get involved in the fight.

• Defensive lineman Alexander Tucci, who was also in the SUV, said he saw Orakpo fall to the ground because he had either been hit or pushed, and that Orakpo took Gocha down with him, and at one point had the smaller man in a headlock. “Mr. Tucci said that Mr. Capi and Mr. Orakpo had told him not to say anything to the other teammates,” police said.

• After initially denying that he had ever left his house that night, Orakpo admitted to being present at the fight and said he was tackled by Gocha, who he thought wasn’t very badly hurt when the fight ended. Orakpo said that since he wasn’t hitting Gocha, he believed Capi and Paulhus had punched him. Orakpo told police he had not discussed the incident with anyone via text message.

• Police recovered from Orakpo’s phone a series of text messages with a fellow player in which he said he and “Cap” had “f—– up,” had “got into it” and hoped that his teammates wouldn’t tell anyone. Orakpo was responding to his friend’s message asking if he really “whoop(ed) somebodys ass.”

And what will new Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain do with this information?

McElwain on Thursday said he had been made aware of the charges and said the three would remain suspended: “This matter remains under university investigation, and as of this time the status of the student-athletes remains unchanged.” 

The students are also facing an internal CSU disciplinary process, which is confidential. In a statement, university spokesman Mike Hooker said CSU officials are reviewing the police reports.

“The student conduct process is independent from the police investigation and can result in university disciplinary actions regardless of the decisions made by police and prosecutors in the criminal justice system,” he said in a statement. “CSU’s student conduct officials have and do exercise the authority to place a student on immediate interim suspension and ban students from campus while awaiting police reports and completing the disciplinary process. All students involved in criminal incidents are subject to a conduct review and may face university sanctions including suspension or removal from campus.”

April 26th

CSU players get misdemeanor charges

According to the Coloradoan … Three CSU football players and another CSU student are facing disorderly conduct charges for their roles in a large off-campus fight in Fort Collins earlier this month.

According to police, junior defensive end Nordly Capi, junior linebacker Mike Orakpo and junior defensive end Colton Paulhus were all charged with the same Class 3 misdemeanor, as was freshman Donny Gocha.

According to Gocha, he and the football players exchanged homophobic slurs about 11:45 p.m. near the intersection of Shields Street and LaPorte Avenue. The football players then piled out of their SUV and fought with Gocha, witnesses said. Gocha’s friends tried to protect him as he was knocked unconscious April 6. Gocha and his friends are significantly smaller than the football players.

“It is believed that Gocha’s friends were trying to break up the fight and protect Gocha, who was knocked unconscious at some point during the incident,” police said in announcing the charges.

Gocha took to Facebook to express his frustration with the decision to charge both him and the players.

“Once again our justice system pulls through on doing a royally s——- job,” Gocha posted on his personal Facebook page. “The football players and ME got charged with disorderly conduct!”

“I’m so mad about everything,” J.D. Haley, one of the freshmen who was another party involved in the assault, said. “I can’t even put it into words. I never even thought this was a possibility.”

 It may be just me – and it may be true that this was just a fight and not an assault – but it’s hard for me to believe that misdemeanor charges would be the result if CU football players had been involved …

April 25th

Buffs continue to shine off the field

Much is expected of Colorado junior linebacker Doug Rippy on the field this fall.

He is already doing very well off the field.

At the 20th Annual Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet, held in the Byron White Club Lounge at CU’s Folsom Field, Rippy was given the Clancy A. Herbst, Jr., Student-Athlete Achievement Award. The Herbst Award is given to athletes who overcome personal, academic or emotional difficulties to succeed both academically and athletically, and Rippy more than qualified.

Rippy has had to deal with two knee surgeries, one for a torn MCL and the second for a torn ACL, the latter of which abruptly ended his junior season last October, and in-between had a childhood friend, Damiko Russell, gunned down at the age of 20 in a drive-by shooting in Columbus, Ohio, in March 2011.

Also recognized at the Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet was the CU football team as a whole, which last fall recorded its best semester GPA (2.661) since the information was first compiled in 1992.

Overall, the grade point average for the fall 2011 semester for all 321 CU student-athletes was 2.867, while the cumulative grade point was 2.876; it was the best fall GPA on record and the third highest ever recorded.  Seven of the 14 programs (indoor and outdoor track are combined) boasted grade points of 3.0 or better for the semester, with the same seven also sporting a cumulative grade point besting the 3.0 mark. 

Well done, Buffs!

April 23rd

Colorado to play UMass in 2014, 2015, and 2019

The Buffs are heading for Beantown …

It isn’t official as far as the University of Colorado is concerned, but UMass has issued a press release showing three non-conference games with Colorado.

The Minutemen, who are climbing into Division 1-A and joining the Mid-American Conference this season, will play the Buffs at home in 2014 (September 6th), then travel to Boulder in 2015 (September 12th) and 2019 (September 7th).

UMass, which went 5-6 in 2011 in its final year in the Colonial Athletic Conference, has chosen an ambitious road as a new FBS team. The Minutemen will play future non-conference games against Notre Dame, Penn State, Wisconsin, Florida, Kansas State, Colorado, and Boston College. This is in addition to the 2012 non-conference schedule that includes UConn, Indiana, Michigan, and Vanderbilt.

In 2013, UMass will play at Wisconsin and at Kansas State in addition to the previously announced home meeting with Vanderbilt as part of a four-game series with the Commodores. The game at Kansas State will be the third all-time meeting between the Minutemen and the Wildcats. The programs first met in 2003 and most recently in 2009.

UMass will host the Buffs at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. 

April 21st

Buffs add preferred walk-on to 2012 roster

Chris O’Donnell (1988-91), Greg Pace (2002-05), Justin Drescher (2006-09) … names etched in the Colorado record books.

Names don’t ring a bell?

These three players are the only three players in CU history to hold down the thankless job of long snapper for all four years of their CU career.

Now Trevor Carver has signed on to the Buff roster to try and join that list.

According to the Daily Camera… Trevor Carver, from Monarch (Co.) high, will play long-snapper as a preferred walk-on this fall. 

The 6-foot, 180-pound Carver, whose father Scott played tight end at Michigan State, had been sitting on a similar offer from the Utah Utes for about a month before getting word from CU coaches that they would have a spot for him.

“I just felt a little more comfortable (at Colorado),” Trevor Carver said Friday. “I’m very excited.”

Carver said he had opportunities to play cornerback at a couple of Division-III schools in California, but had long ago set his heart on playing Division-I football. And long-snapping, which he learned from his father in pee-wee football, ended up being his ticket.

For Carver to join O’Donnell, Pace, and Drescher in the record books, he’ll have some work to do. The returning starter at long-snapper for CU is junior Ryan Iverson, who has already started for two seasons, and is halfway to joining an elite – if underappreciated – list of four-year starters at Colorado.

April 19th

Oregon pot use story bringing strong responses

I really didn’t think the ESPN story about pot use at Oregon would go very far … but I was wrong.

The article, “We smoked it all“, opens as follows:

“The sandwich bag brims with weed.

“On a frosty January evening in Eugene, a University of Oregon student plops onto a couch, nestled between a whirring space heater and a muted television at a friend’s off-campus apartment, and pulls a nugget from the bag. At his feet sits a backpack emblazoned with the logo of the Rose Bowl, which he and his teammates had won barely a week before. ‘Purple Kush,’ he says of his preferred marijuana strand, which he rolls into a hefty joint between his forefingers and thumbs. ‘It’s pretty much all I smoke.’

“The joint, to which he adds a dash of tobacco to make a spliff, is typical for this student-athlete. ‘Bongs and pipes mean more evidence,’ he says. He lights up, kicks back and exhales a dense cloud. Normally, he’d pass the spliff to one of his Oregon football teammates, but tonight he smokes alone. ‘Most of the guys are waiting until after winter workouts,’ he says. Once thoseconclude in March, he adds, they’ll gather in clusters to partake together. About half the team smokes, he estimates. ‘It’s a team thing. Like video games.’ ”

College students smoking pot? College kids smoking pot?

Yawn.

CU fans calling out Oregon players for smoking pot?

Something about a pot and the coloring of a certain kettle springs to mind.

Still … smoking pot is illegal, and it does violate team rules, even in Oregon (Cliff Harris’ response to a police officer’s inquiry about the smell of pot in his car – “We smoked it all” – notwithstanding), so a response was required from Oregon and its head coach, Chip Kelly.

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens responded to the magazine article as follows: “Similar to many college campuses wrestling with the same issue, the University of Oregon actively works to address potential use of any illegal substance through a combination of education, prevention and enforcement activities”.

Oregon head coach Chip Kelly’s response: “If we had that many kids doing it, we wouldn’t be 34-6 (for the last three seasons),” Kelly said. This past season, the Ducks defeated Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl. We win because of how hard we practice, and I see our kids every day in practice. If we saw signs of it — I haven’t seen signs of it.”

The ESPN article spawned an article by CBSSports.com - Oregon’s success on the football field has increased in recent years, so has the school’s leniency in student-athletes that test positive for drugs … Two years ago, a player was dismissed at Oregon after a third positive drug test. However, now it takes four positive drug tests before dismissal, according to the school’s substance abuse policy.

In 2010, Oregon’s substance abuse policy, obtained through a public records request, indicated that the “continuing use of tested-for drugs on two occasions beyond the initial positive test, the student-athlete shall be expelled from the team and shall lose all athletic grant-in-aid support beginning with the next academic term.”

Under the current policy, a third positive test only results in missing 50 percent of games played in a season. If a player’s ineligibility is not complete by the end of post season play, it carries over to the next season. A fourth positive test at Oregon results in dismissal and the player “will lose all grant-in-aid support, beginning with the next academic term.”

Of the more than 60 BCS schools, Oregon is one of at least 17 schools that require at least four positive drugs tests before dismissal, according to public record requests obtained in the past two years by CBSSports.com. The BCS schools, which include five Pac-12 members, are: Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, Illinois, Penn State, Purdue, Oklahoma State, Arizona, UCLA, Washington, Washington State, Arkansas Florida and Mississipi State.

The story will not likely go a great deal further, but, as George Schroeder of the Oregonian put it:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the real Oregon percentage (of marijuana use) is more in line with the survey — or if the actual number nationwide is closer to the anonymous Oregon guesstimates. But that’s not the point. Neither is the inevitable argument about whether marijuana use should be considered a problem, anyway. 

“What’s undeniable is this: Oregon’s image just took another hit.”

“I’m not sure there’s a crisis, or if it’s worse at Oregon than anywhere else. The issue felt overcooked. Next someone will discover and report that it rains a lot around here. (Although the article suggested the weather might have been a reason some guys lit up.)

“But while ‘We smoked it all’ wasn’t good, you almost couldn’t help but laugh.

“We smoked it all the way to the Rose Bowl? Now that’s a bad buzz.”

 We know how we’d feel about it if the story originated in Boulder …

April 18th

CU Defensive coordinator Greg Brown interviewed by ESPN.com

Ted Miller of ESPN.com has posted an interview with Colorado defensive coordinator and secondary coach Greg Brown.

It’s worth reading in its entirety, but here are a few choice responses regarding spring practices:

Give me a couple of names of standouts this spring? Who impressed you?

GB: [Defensive end] Chidera Uzo-Diribe, he had a very good spring. He’s got skill. He’s got speed. He’s got size. And he’s tenacious. He’s a good player. He played last year for us and was fine but he stepped up this spring and filled a void — we had two defensive ends graduate. He stepped up and really became a guy. He would be the top dog in the D-line. If there is one other defensive lineman who can play, it’s Will Pericak. He’s a good player — steady, consistent. He’s been around the block. Has size. He’s played for a long time here. Good player. You’ve got those two up front. After that, there’s really nobody to write about [on the defensive line]. We’re just waiting on the young kids to get here.

How about linebacker?

GB: Linebacker-wise, our best player is Doug Rippy. He’s our captain, a team leader. He ended up missing, from the Washington game on last year, missing the season. He tore his ACL in that game and he was held out of spring ball and can’t do anything yet. But we’re looking to get him back. Jon Major is another ‘backer who is back, has a lot of experience. He’s a jack of all trades for us, can do a lot of things. Smart, can rush the passer, cover. He makes plays. He’s good. Linebacker is where the most numbers are back. After that, you’ve got some guys who have played. Derrick Webb has played. He can run and hit. Then there’s a smattering of younger kids who have some ability. They just haven’t proven anything yet. They’re up and coming.

And then the secondary?

GB: We’ve got one returning guy. That’s Ray Polk; he’s a safety. Good player. Big kid who can run and hit. Been starting here a long time. Good future in front of him. Ray’s issue was he could only do non-contact stuff during spring. He had surgery on a torn ligament in his wrist. So he did seven-on-seven and that was probably it. The next one to talk about back there would be [cornerback] Greg Henderson. He came in as a true freshman and won a starting job. He took advantage of the opportunity and won a job and he kept it all year. He continually progressed every week. This spring, he got better as you’d expect. They come in as freshmen and just look to survive, which he did more than ably. But we’re looking for improvement this year and looking for him to be a guy. He’s athletic. He can run, he’s smart. And he’s tough. And as much as anything, he stayed healthy. After him, a guy who is a good player for us, is Oarj Orms. He plays nickel, safety and corner. He plays all three. Good athlete, tough kid. He missed quite a bit of the year. He only played five games for us. And he got hurt this spring, which is unfortunate. He tore his hamstring. He played three days of spring then tore that thing. In the five games he played for us last year, we either won or had a chance to win because he allowed us to do things on defense we could not do when he was not in there.

April 17th

Colorado athletic director promises “transformational” project in September

If you wait long enough, it will come ….?

The long-awaited announcement from the Colorado athletic department concerning facilities upgrades came Tuesday. Unfortunately for the Buff Nation, the announcement was akin to promise ring – not quite an engagement ring, but a promise to give a ring at a later date.

When will an actual announcement be made? Not until September, according to Bohn.

According to the Daily Camera … The project has no start or completion dates at this time because it is contingent on working out several avenues of funding, including gathering an unprecedented level of private donations. A portion of the project will be financed against future Pac-12 Conference revenue.

Bohn said if the school cannot gather enough private funding, the project would have to be scaled down and only some of the options being discussed could actually be built.

Financing for the project is still being studied, with Bohn citing “the private piece, the department piece” and what is expected to be a healthy television revenue stream from CU’s membership in the Pac-12 Conference. In the first year (2013), CU is expected to receive at least $20 million – a figure exclusive of whatever else the school realizes from possibly participating in a BCS bowl, the NCAA Tournament, etc.

A feasibility study for the ambitious facilities project, said Bohn, is being done through the CU Foundation, the fund-raising arm he said has grown from five staffers to 14 since he arrived in the spring of 2005. He also said the Foundation has “made major investments in helping us raise money . . . anytime you’re working on a project of this scope, private funds are a big part of that.”

Bohn called fund-raising for the massive upgrade “extremely complex” and emphasized that his discussing an announcement almost six months out is “not going to be an empty promise and that’s one I take pride in . . . It’s not a dream, it’s not a vision; it’s a project that we’re working hard on (and) that’s our No. 1 priority.”

CU President Bruce Benson, Chancellor Phil DiStefano and the school’s Board of Regents “are right at the table with us, they’re in the trenches with us,” Bohn said. “That’s inspiring to me and it should be very, very positive to all those who have the ability to engage with our program. That’s imperative . . . let there be no mistake about that.”

Bohn acknowledged that the athletic department is still repaying an $8 million loan (with interest) from campus as well as “dealing with a significant buyout ($14-$15 million)” to leave the Big 12 Conference and join the Pac-12 last summer. Nonetheless, he remains optimistic that all the financial “moving parts” will be pulled together and allow the fall announcement of a project that had its genesis in former CU Athletic Director Dick Tharp’s Vision 2010.

“I’d say we’ve made enough progress to continue to be aggressive in moving this forward, but it’s clearly not materialized at this point,” Bohn said. “We’re talking private dollars, also investments from the athletic department budget, the Pac-12 television revenue as well. (It’s) enough to keep us going but we have a lot of work to do there.”

In addition to giving Folsom a facelift, the project would help pull together athletic department offices that currently, conceded Bohn, are “all over the gates (at Folsom).” Also in line for renovation on Folsom’s west side would be antiquated Balch Fieldhouse and the Flatirons Club. And the Coors Events Center, which last summer was joined to a basketball/volleyball practice facility, also is undergoing more modifications to accommodate the Pac-12 Network.

“You start getting an idea of the scope of the whole plot we’re trying to build and why it’s significant in what we’re putting together,” Bohn said. “(But) the vision is it’s beyond just a facility piece. It’s a comprehensive presentation of organizational effectiveness and organizational strategy, having a staff that can deliver all the things we’re talking about in addition to the facility piece.”

Sounds good … until you look at the calendar, and realize that there is four more months of waiting for an announcement which had been expected as early as May.

When it does work out, all will be forgiven. Until then, Buff fans will just have to sit back and read stories about the upgrades being announced by virtually every other school in the Pac-12.

Pericak found not guilty

According to an article in the Daily CameraA Boulder jury found University of Colorado football player William Garrett Pericak, 21, not guilty earlier this month of physical harassment and trespassing charges in relation to a reported incident at a local bar.

Both charges were Boulder municipal offenses. A third charge of threatening bodily harm was dismissed.

Pericak was initially arrested on suspicion of physical harassment and trespassing back on January 29th.

According to the police reports, at around 1 a.m. on the 29th a bartender at the Pearl Street Pub and Cellar at 1108 Pearl St. said Pericak lit the contents of a metal bucket on fire. Bartenders said the bucket contained trash and miscellaneous papers and were able to put it out with no damage to the bar.

When the bartender asked Pericak to leave, he refused and then started swearing and walked aggressively towards the bartender, police said. The bartender told police Pericak then gave the bartender what he described as a “chest-bump.”

The bartender told police Pericak fled the bar when police were called. The bartender followed Pericak and police contacted him near Broadway and Walnut Street.

This story received great play in the media when it was first announced. It will be interesting to see how much play it gets now that Pericak has been exonerated.

April 12th

“Buffalo Highway” … with or without buffalo

One out of two … so far.

A Colorado state Senate committee on Wednesday gave its unanimous approval to a resolution to rename the Boulder Turnpike the Buffalo Highway.

That stretch of road leads from Denver to Boulder, home of the University of Colorado. “I think it’s a nice reminder of the University of Colorado, which has the best mascot in the whole country,” said Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder. “Why not take advantage of it?”

The resolution, which already passed the House, allows the Colorado Department of Transportation to accept gifts, grants, and donations for the initial “Buffalo Highway” signs.

Meanwhile, back in Boulder …

Open Space and Mountain Parks staff members presented the initial findings of a study at an Open Space Board of Trustees meeting. Officials said the land would only be able to support 10 to 12 buffalo, with likely only one male, as opposed to the 25 animals Turner proposed.

Edie Stevens, of Friends of Boulder Open Space, said the group is concerned that the extensive fencing needed to keep the herd contained would rob the native wildlife as well as Boulder residents of the chance to enjoy the open space.

Some Boulder residents say the herd would add to the city’s appeal, according to a story in the Camera.

“It would add a lot to the ambiance of Boulder,” said resident George Russell, who prefaced his comments with a rendition of “Home on the Range.”

“I understand some of the concerns people have, but it would be nice to have that herd to make us feel at home.”

Proponents said it would be a postcard image to see a thundering herd of buffalo as drivers come over Davidson Mesa into Boulder.

But Craig Smith, of Merry Lane — right next to the site proposed on the south side of U.S. 36 — said with the amount of space and fewer than 20 animals, the likelihood of people actually driving by the herd would be low.

“What are the chances they will be right there?” he said. “The odds are they will be someplace else, most likely right outside my house. So that means 300 people are coming down my quiet street to take pictures of the bison.”

Most of the residents’ concerns centered around the quality of life for nearby neighborhoods and the use of open space rather than the cost of maintaining the buffalo herd. The city estimated it could cost up to $650,000 up front and up to $100,000 annually to keep the herd.

David Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association, said his group could help the city with monitoring the herd. Carter — who has some buffalo of his own in Westminster — also said the city should use the herd as an educational opportunity.

“We think that this is a tremendous opportunity with the city, and it fits with the character of the city,” he said, adding that buffalo lived on similar land years before. “The notion that this would be a zoo couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The Open Space Board of Trustees will make a final recommendation April 30. The City Council is scheduled to hold a study session on the matter May 29.

April 11th

Turnpike may be renamed “Buffalo Highway” …

U.S. Hwy 36 from Denver to Boulder, long known as the Boulder Turnpike, hasn’t actually been an actual turnpike for over 30 years.

So perhaps it’s time for a new name.

According to the Camera … a Colorado state Senate committee will be considering legislation to rename that part of U.S. 36 from Denver to Boulder the “Buffalo Highway”.  If passed, the resolution will allow the Colorado Department of Transportation to accept gifts, grants, and donations for the initial “Buffalo Highway” signs.

Among the sponsors is Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, who is co-director of the Ralphie program, which runs a buffalo down the field at home games. He was one of the runners when he attended CU in the 1990s.

And have actual Buffaloes

In a separate action, the City of Boulder may take up Ted Turner’s offer of a herd of buffalo to show off on the Turnpike … er … Buffalo Highway.

Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, announced during an October visit to his bison-serving restaurant — Ted’s Montana Grill — that he wanted to donate a buffalo herd to the city for viewing along U.S. 36 between Davidson Mesa and Boulder.

Before accepting the gift, the Boulder City Council in December approved a study to determine the costs of caring for the 25 American buffalo.

The city worked with the Denver Mountain Parks Department — which has herds in Daniels Park and Genesee — to get a better idea of how to manage a herd on public lands.

“They showed us a lot, and gave us an idea of what it takes to manage a herd,” said Mark Gershman, environmental planning supervisor for Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks. “They have experience with the issues associated with containment being a high priority, especially in an urban setting.”

City staffers are expected to present some of their findings at an Open Space Board of Trustees meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Municipal Building.

According to the study, taking the buffalo would mean a $450,000 to $650,000 capital investment, most of which would go toward fencing needed to contain the herd.

Mayor Matt Appelbaum said the numbers weren’t a surprise, and they also aren’t the only question hanging over the decision of whether to accept the buffalo herd.

“It’s money, but it’s also a use of open space,” he said. “It’s a long-term issue. Conceptually, sure, it would be really cool, but we also can’t provide a truly natural habitat.”

Appelbaum said he wants to hear from the open space board before making up his mind.

Councilman George Karakehian said he thinks the buffalo herd is worth the cost, though he readily admitted he is biased in favor of the animals.

“It’s the reintroduction of buffalo, a native species, back to Boulder,” he said. “How does it get any better than that? It’s the University of Colorado buffalo. There’s just something about them.”

Karakehian said he has heard interest from private organizations in managing the buffalo herd, and he believes the city would not end up being responsible for the ongoing costs.

Councilman Ken Wilson also said he believes not all the cost would have to come from taxpayers.

“I think people in the community would step up and donate,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of people say they would, and I would.”

April 10th

Wide receiver corps may be the weak link of the 2012 Colorado lineup

With the loss of star wideout Paul Richardson for the 2012 season, the passing game for Colorado just went from suspect to non-existent.

Colorado will enter the fall sans its 2011 quarterback, leading rusher, leading tight end, and only returning wide receiver with over 200 yards in receptions.

Welcome to a brave new world, Connor Wood.

One of the questions of spring ball was which of the number of returning wide receivers would become the No. 2 man behind Richardson. Ironically enough, in an interview with cubuffs. com on Monday, CU wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy identified red-shirt freshman Nelson Spruce as the Buffs’ No. 2 guy. “He’s had a solid spring . . . he’s light years ahead of where he was when last season ended,” Kennedy said Monday of Spruce, a 6-2, 195-pounder from Westlake Village, Calif. “Things have slowed down for him, he’s able to execute better and he’s got a better understanding of what we’re trying to get done . . . he’s not thinking as much, he’s able to play a little faster.”

Now Spruce, who has yet to take the field in a Colorado uniform, the Buffs’ go-to wide receiver.

Before we press the PANIC BUTTON on the 2012 season, let’s review what Colorado has to work with this fall.

Not including the incoming freshmen (who we will get to in a minute), here is the Colorado wide receiver depth chart:

Nelson Spruce- R-Fr. – At Westlake High School, Nelson pulled in 149 career receptions for 2,795 yards and 37 touchdowns, earning him a spot on the Ventura County All-Decade Team. Spruce lists two of his strengths as “having sure hands and running good routes,” which always leads to early characterizations about the kind of receiver he will become. Sure, you know where this is going, but Kennedy isn’t sure the “possession receiver” label fits. “It’s always good to have a guy you know is going to catch it,” Kennedy said, “but from what I’ve seen out of Nelson, he’s able to wriggle free and make some big plays and score some touchdowns. I wouldn’t necessarily think of him just as a possession guy. I’ve seen him as he continues to gain more confidence be a guy who can make plays. He can become an impact guy.”

Tyler McCulloch- So. … 2011 stats: ten catches for 96 yards and one touchdown …  Kennedy termed McCulloch “still a work in progress” and said he must overcome day-to-day inconsistency: “He’ll have a good day, an off day . . . he needs through the summer to keep progressing and put things all together. We need him to step up and start making (plays).” More specifically, Kennedy said, McCulloch’s lanky physique often seems a detriment to his release from the line of scrimmage against press coverage. “He’s got to continue his development there,” Kennedy said. “And he needs to stop trying to ‘body’ catch; he’s got good hands. He just needs to continue to develop confidence in his hands. He can use his body and reach for things; catch them clean rather than trying to ‘body’ things.”

Keenan Canty – So. … 2011 stats: 14 catches for 161 yards; no touchdowns … Canty is now the Buffs’ most productive returning wide receiver, with all of his 161 yards (running back Tony Jones did have 168 yards, if you want to include all returning Buffs). “Keenan is doing so many things better than last fall, but he’s a guy I’m talking about when I mention consistency,” said Kennedy. “He’s got to show that.”

Dustin Ebner – Sr. … 2011 stats: zero catches; zero yards; zero touchdowns … Ebner, though the elder statesman of the wide receiver corps, has spent most of his career on special teams. “Dustin has showed some things,” said Kennedy. “He didn’t get many opportunities last year. But he’s showing he can make some plays.” Ebner had three catches for 15 yards in his red-shirt freshman season, back in 2009.

Jarrod Darden – Jr. … 2011 stats: zero catches; zero yards; zero touchdowns … Darden has only seen spot action in his first two seasons of eligibility. Counting his red-shirt freshman season (2009) and his senior year in high school, when he had to sit out his entire senior year with an ankle injury, it has now been four full years since Darden has had a catch in competition.

DaVaughn Thornton – Jr. … 2011 stats: six catches; 69 yards; zero touchdowns … Thornton came to Colorado as a highly recruited tight end, but the 6′-4″, 220-pound junior was not able to make it work, switching to wide receiver late last season. Coming into the spring, Thornton was listed at third on the depth chart at the “Z” wide receiver, behind Paul Richardson and Keenan Canty.

There are three walk-ons at wide receiver on the roster, juniors Tommy Papillion and Alex Turbow and sophomore Gabe Castillo. With spring practices closed to the public, it would be speculation as to whether any of these players are contributing, but the coaches have not singled them out in interviews.

What’s coming in …

Looking for immediate help this August? Colorado does have three wide receiver recruits coming in this fall camp, and all three will be given the opportunity to play as a true freshman.

“They’ll get a long, hard look,” Kennedy said. “We’ll see if they can compete with the older guys and give them the opportunity to earn a spot, just like we did with Tyler last year, and see if they can grab it and hold onto it . . . it depends on how they are when they get here, how quickly they learn, if they’re able to step up physically and compete with older guys. That’s always the big thing with wide receivers; you know they’re talented, but just like with Nelson last year, are they thinking quick enough to allow them to play fast?”

Here are the bios from the three wide receivers who were members of the CU recruiting Class of 2012, Gerald Thomas, Jeffrey Thomas, and Peyton Williams:

GERALD THOMAS – WR / KR

Just the facts … Committed July 5th … Thomas is a wide receiver prospect from The Colony, Texas. Thomas is 5’10″, 175-pounds. Thomas reportedly runs a 4.37 in the 40. Rivals bio Scout bio ESPN bio

What others had to say about Thomas … Thomas is considered to be a three-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout. Thomas is rated by Scout to be the No. 148 wide receiver prospect in the nation. 

For a 4-6 team this past fall, Thomas had 30 catches for 735 yards and seven touchdowns. As a junior, he caught 71 passes for 1,185 yards and 12 touchdowns. “I think my season could have gone a lot better,” Thomas acknowledged. “I got triple teamed and we didn’t pass the ball as much as we did my junior year.” Thomas’ 4.37 in the 40 was timed at TCU’s camp this past summer. After the camp in Dallas, this is what PurpleMenace.com had to say about Thomas: “Gerald Thomas displayed plenty of speed … He’s a Jeremy Kerley starter kit (Kerley was a star receiver for TCU in 2010, collecting 56 passes for 575 yards and ten touchdowns. Kerley also had 388 yards on punt returns and 527 yards returning kickoffs), not as bulky but a little taller and silky smooth in his route running. Prior to the start of camp, Thomas told Purplemenace.com that the coaches wanted to see how fast he could run. Thomas didn’t disappoint as he sprinted his way to a 4.37, good for third best on the day. He also had a 35-inch vertical, also one of the top numbers on the day. But, let’s get back to his route running. Thomas was the most impressive of the group. He did have a few drops, but there’s no denying that he has plenty of talent and could make a splash at TCU at the slot, ala Kerley. There’s a good reason eleven programs have offered The Colony receiver.”

Thomas had other offers from … at least ten other schools. From the Pac-12, there were offers from both of the Arizona schools. From the Big 12 came offers from Iowa State and Kansas. Iowa and Minnesota from the Big Ten had also extended offers.

In his own words … “My speed and quickness help separate me from the average high school receiver, and my competitiveness also separates me. I want to win every game,” Thomas told BuffStampede.com. “I want to go undefeated. I am great in one-on-one matchups and my route running has gotten a lot better since my sophomore year. “I used to play running back and I think that helps me as a receiver, too. After I catch the ball, I turn into a running back. I can make people miss in the open field. Every time I have the ball in my hands, I have a chance to score.”

Of his official visit in December, Thomas told BuffStampede.com, “Everyone I talked to said I was going to love it out here and I took them at their word but it was nice to see how beautiful Boulder and the University is with my own two eyes. I wish I was still up there in Boulder right now. Their coaches are real cool and laid back. They are good people, so are the players. I just loved the atmosphere and tried to soak it all up”.

One plus: Thomas won’t have to get used to a new set of school colors … “I was black and gold in middle school, black and gold in high school, and now in college,” Thomas told Scout.com. “Now I have to go on and play for the Saints, so I can keep it going!” Few Buff fans would be upset if, five years from now, Thomas is suiting up for the New Orleans Saints …

JEFFREY THOMAS – WR

Just the facts … Committed June 18th … Thomas is a wide receiver prospect from Duncanville, Texas. Thomas is 6’3″, 180-pounds, and runs a 4.66 in the 40. Rivals bio Scout bio YouTube video highlights ESPN bio

What others say about Thomas … Thomas is considered by both Rivals and Scout to be a three-star prospect. Scout rates Thomas to be the 117th-best wide receiver in the nation. For a 7-4 Duncanville high team this past fall, Thomas led the team with 59 receptions for 899 yards and 12 touchdowns. One report from Scout.com had this to say about Thomas: “Thomas is a big receiver with long arms who uses his body effectively to shield defenders from the ball. He will work the middle of the field and will make the sound catches. Because of the style of his game he will thrive once he gets in to college and starts to add on weight with maturity and conditioning.”

An Orangebloods.com’s scout had to say about Thomas: “I don’t know why things haven’t completely come together for the 6-3, 180-pound Thomas because he’s a guy that at his best has some absolute star upside as a receiver. Obviously, the kid has size, but he’s a guy that has flashed really good ball skills and big-play upside in his time at Duncanville. What you like about Thomas a big-play receiver is that he can stretch the field and go up to get the football. But he also has a little shake and bake after the catch that makes him a difficult player to defend in space. The knock on Thomas is that he’s not a burner and it’s fair to say that he’ll have average speed as a college receiver … At this point, he’s a work in progress, but there’s a lot there to work with. When we talk about three star prospects with four-star upside, he’s a perfect example.”

Thomas had other offers from … a number of schools, but only one other from a BCS conference school, Iowa State. Thomas did also hold offers from schools like Boise State, Memphis, Tulsa, Wyoming and North Texas. Thomas had attracted attention from Georgia, Cal, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Texas A&M.

In his own words … Colorado used wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy’s seven years of service as the recruiting coordinator at Texas to its advantage. “I met (coach Kennedy) at a Texas camp and when he changed schools he kept up with me,” Thomas told BuffStampede.com. “He came out to spring ball (in May) and offered me on the spot. I was excited about that.”
Thomas said he’s intrigued by Colorado and the prospect of playing in the Pac-12. He also likes the idea of playing in a pro-style offense. ”I think my biggest strength is my ability to go up and make plays, I’d consider myself a physical receiver and I definitely like to use my size and strength to my advantage,”  Thomas told the OldCoach.com, who says he wants to improve his straight line speed and his route running this summer.

“Out of all the schools that I talked to and possibly could get an offer from, Colorado just had everything right to offer and I see no downside to it. Now was a better time than ever,” Thomas told BuffStampede.com. “When I committed, I talked to every coach on their staff and they all loved me and can’t wait to get me out there. They were excited.” Thomas grew up in the Richmond area of Northern California. He moved to the Lone Star State prior to seventh grade. “I have a lot of family still out there in California and they can come see me play in the Pac-12,” Thomas said. “I wanted to play in the Pac-12 my whole life. Knowing that I am going to play against USC and Oregon and all those schools, it is just great.”

PEYTON WILLIAMS – WR

Just the facts … Committed July 14th … Williams is a wide receiver prospect from Southlake, Texas. Williams is 6’1″, 185-pounds, and runs a 4.5 in the 40. Rivals bio Scout bio ESPN bio

What others had to say about Williams … Williams is considered to be a three-star prospect by Rivals, but only a two–star prospect by Scout.  As a senior, Williams, before being injured, had 81 catches for 1,064 yards and ten touchdowns. Williams’ Carroll Dragons went 16-0 and was ranked as the No. 14 team nationally (Williams was injured in the first quarter of the state semi-finals). Last May, Williams’ 4×400 relay team captured a state championship. “I had a low 48 in my split, which wasn’t my best, but we won with a time of 3:13,” Williams said.

Williams had other offers from … a diverse collection of schools, including Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Memphis, Tulsa, Wyoming, and North Texas. Other schools reportedly showing interest were Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa and West Virgnia. Why Colorado? Thank CU wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy. “I call Coach Kennedy every week,” Williams told BuffStampede.com back in April. “I love Coach Kennedy. He was at Texas, now he is there. Colorado seems like a really cool place.”

In his own words … “My personality is that I’m not satisfied with anything,” Williams told Patherlair.com. “I’m trying to work on everything. I’m not happy with anything yet.” As far as his game skills, Williams told BuffStampede.com: “I am not afraid to go across the middle and make plays and I am a good blocker. I like to think I have the whole package.”

Concerning his knee injury … “I had surgery (in early January) and it went really, really well,” Williams told BuffStampede.com. “The doctors were very pleased and very impressed with how it went. I started rehab that next week so I am already into that. It feels good. You just sit there for a while and you sulk and stuff but now I have the surgery over with, that is a big step, and now I have the rehab, standing up and walking and all those steps. Every day it is getting better.”

Some Colorado fans wondered if Williams might grayshirt and join the Buffs next spring. Williams says that has never been discussed. Not only does Williams not see himself as a grayshirt candidate, he is not even looking at a red-shirt season in 2012. “Well, I’m anticipating I’ll be full go (for fall), but, you know, they say about six months,” Williams told BuffaloSportsNews.net. “But I’m not like most people. I’m going to work a lot harder. So I’ll probably heal a lot faster I’m assuming.”

April 9th

Suspensions “indefinite” until investigation concluded

CSU head coach Jim McElwain confirmed Monday that the three players he suspended from the team on Saturday were those who were involved in a fight Friday night.

According to the Coloradoan … The three players – linebacker Mike Orakpo and defensive ends Nordly Capi and Colton Paulhus – were suspended indefinitely by the coach, who said he is waiting for police and university investigations into the incident to be completed before taking any additional action.

Four freshmen students said they were they were beaten up by a group of Colorado State University football players after a verbal exchange of taunts near the intersection of Laporte Avenue and Shields Street following a late-night party Friday. One of the freshman, John ”JD” Haley told the Coloradoan on Sunday that they had been asked not to specifically identify the attackers in public while the criminal investigation is ongoing. He said the rest of the football team offered apologies and condolences to he and the other victims throughout the weekend.

”At this point, the three players reported to be involved in the incident over the weekend are indefinitely suspended from the football program,” McElwain said in a statement released about 11:30 this morning through the school’s sports information office. ”That means they are effectively no longer part of this team and will not take part in any football-related activity. We do not condone in any way, shape or fort this type of behavior. It is completely unacceptable.

”I understand people want me to remove them from the team immediately. But until the investigation concludes and due process takes its course, suspending them indefinitely is the strongest action I can take.”

April 8th

Colorado State suspends three, including two starters

One day after leading the defense in a 27-sack onslaught during a scrimmage (see April 7th story, below), star defensive end Nordly Capi has been suspended from the team.

Nordly Capi a junior, was suspended along with  junior linebacker Mike Orakpo and junior defensive end Colton Paulhaus. All three were all suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules. There is no timetable for how long the suspensions will last.

Capi led CSU last season with 10 sacks and seven forced fumbles. He was named to the Mountain West all-conference team and earned honorable mention All-American honors from Sports Illustrated. Orakpo has played in all 24 games in his career and was third on the team in tackles in 2011 with 87. Paulhaus played mostly on special teams in 2011, recording seven tackles on the season.

There was no immediate indication that the suspensions were directly related to the St. Patrick’s Day incident which involved both Capi and Orakpo.

UPDATE – A later story in the Coloradoan indicates that the suspensions are related to a fight which broke out in the dorms on Friday night.

Four CSU freshmen are recovering from injuries they say they suffered at the fists and feet of fellow students and university football players following a late-night party in Fort Collins.

“It wasn’t really much of a fight. It was basically just a beating,” said freshman John ‘JD’ Haley, 19, who suffered a black eye, cuts and bruises while trying to protect his friend during the attack. “I’ve never seen anyone so mad, so violent. The kid was on a rampage.”

Members of the football team have been apologizing all weekend to the four students about the incident that happened late Friday night in Fort Collins. CSU football player Trey Cassidy posted on Facebook that he worried the public would paint the entire team with the same brush. “Well first off, I want to apologize for what my teammates have done to three students last night. I just talked to the students who were assaulted. I hang out in their hall regularly, and do not believe that there is any hostility between us,” Cassidy wrote on a Facebook group where Haley had posted photos of his injuries. “I figured everyone else should know that not everyone on the team are like these athletes that get into fights every other weekend. But it is this select few… that get the rest of us labeled as a group, you would assume that everyone on campus would realize this. But let’s face reality people, some people are going to label the entire team as hot headed people that can’t be trusted.”

Cassidy later added: “A group of football players jumped a few students, I am not allowed to really get into it but I can say they are currently suspended.”

So, while the names of the football players involved in the fight have not been officially released, it is not difficult to connect the dots here. Three players were involved in a fight on Friday, and three players on the football team were suspended for “violating team rules” on Saturday.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out … those of us in the Buff Nation know how it would have played out had the incident taken place in Boulder with CU football players involved …

April 7th

CSU scrimmage a sack-fest

Colorado has its problems along the defensive line, with so few healthy bodies available that the CU Spring Game will be reduced to a Spring Scrimmage.

Still, if the status of the Buffs’ first opponent for 2011 doesn’t improve, Jon Embree may have any number of his nine true freshmen coming in this August volunteering to open their careers against Colorado State.

The Rams conducted a scrimmage on Friday, with 131 plays being run. Out of those 131 plays, CSU quarterbacks were sacked 27 times.

You read that correctly … 27 times.

According to the Coloradoan … C.J. James had five of the sacks, and fellow defensive ends Nordly Capi and John Froland had four sacks apiece as the Rams’ defensive line completely overwhelmed the offensive front with a variety of stunts and blitzes that often left defenders with clear paths to the quarterbacks.

McElwain doesn’t allow defenders to hit the quarterbacks during practice, so plays were simply blown dead by the officials whenever a defender got to a quarterback before he could get rid of the ball.

The four quarterbacks, battling winds gusting in excess of 20 mph, completed just 27-of-58 passes for 207 yards with one interception, which redshirt freshman linebacker Cory James returned 31 yards for a touchdown. Sophomore Garrett Grayson, who started the final three games for the Rams’ last season, was 11-of-21 for 101 yards, while redshirt freshman Conner Smith, last year’s scout-team quarterback, was 8-of-12 for 63 yards. Senior M.J. McPeek was 8-of-21 for 43 yards and threw the interception, while Craig Leonard, a true freshman out of Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, was 0-for-4.

The only other touchdown of the 1-hour, 45-minute scrimmage came on a four-yard run by Tommey Morris.

Sophomore kicker Jared Roberts missed his first two field-goal tries from 48 and 33 yards out but made the other two from 41 and 26 yards out.

Junior Chris Nwoke, who ran for 1,130 yards last season, was the leading rusher with 52 yards on seven carries. Morris finished with 33 yards on eight carries, and redshirt freshman Davon Riddick had 29 yards on five carries.

Colorado State is coming off of three consecutive 3-9 seasons. New head coach Jim McElwain has been brought in to break that pattern, but from the above numbers, it does not appear that the Rams are ready just yet to make bowl plans.

April 6th

Spring game activities set

The only opportunity for Colorado Buff fans to watch the 2012 players this spring comes on Saturday, April 14th.

The kickoff for the game is set for 5:00 p.m., but is only one of several activities set for that day.

At 2:00 p.m., there is a “Feast and Fix” with former head coach Bill McCartney at the practice bubble. In addition to Coach Mac and Coach Embree, the 2012 team and former Buffs will also be in attendance. The cost for this event is $10.

At 3:30 p.m., there is the chance to watch former Buffs in an Alumni flag football game.

After the Spring game, at around 8:00 p.m., the CU mens’ lacrosse club team will take on the Utah Utes.

The format for the Spring “Game” at present, due to injuries on the defensive line, will be a standard offense versus defense scrimmage (1’s vs. 1’s, 2’s vs. 2’s, 1’s vs. 2’s, 3’s vs. 3’s, etc). There will likely be quarters, or at least halves. With the smaller roster and injuries, the team scrimmaged minimally this spring (three short sessions instead of extended ones).

Here is a link to all of the above activities – Go Buffs!

April 4th

Bill McCartney’s grandson joins CU staff

The legacy of Coach Mac (the real one, not the new pretender up in Ft. Collins) continues …

T.C. McCartney, the son of former CU quarterback Sal Aunese, and the grandson of former CU head coach Bill McCartney, is joining the Buffs.

McCartney has decided to come home after nearly five years at Louisiana State as a football player and graduate assistant coach under head coach (and former CU assistant coach) Les Miles to join the program his father once led at quarterback.

Colorado coach Jon Embree offered McCartney the chance to continue his graduate assistant work in Boulder where he grew up and played high school football.

T.C. McCartney, the oldest grandson of former CU head coach Bill McCartney, will officially join the Buffs as an offensive graduate assistant on Aug. 1 when a new NCAA rule takes effect allowing programs to have four graduate assistant coaches, two on each side of the ball. In the past, programs have been limited to two graduate assistants.

“That’s definitely exciting,” T.C. McCartney said in an article in the Camera. “It was all Colorado football since I was born. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be a part of so it will be nice to finally get to do that.”

T.C. McCartney is the second grandson of Bill McCartney to join the program in the past two months. His half brother, Derek McCartney, signed a national letter of intent with the Buffs in February to play defensive end. Derek McCartney has agreed to grayshirt next fall, delaying his enrollment until January. So the brothers won’t actually be on the field and in team meetings together until 2013.

Though they grew up together — Derek is the son of former CU defensive lineman Shannon Clavelle — the brothers were far enough apart in age that they never were able to be teammates in any of the sports they played.

McCartney was a star quarterback at Fairview high in Boulder, and was a walk-on at LSU in 2007, being a part of the Tigers’ national championship team as a freshman.

McCartney spent three years as a scout team quarterback for the Tigers, finally getting awarded with a scholarship last year while filling a role that included signaling in the plays from the sidelines. After completing his playing career, McCartney remained with the program to pursue his master’s degree in education while launching his coaching career with LSU last season.

 Welcome home, T.C.!

Colorado State head coach looking for answers

New Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain is being referred to by the Ram faithful as “Coach Mac”.

Which is, of course, sacreligious talk in the Buff Nation.

But, if nothing else, coach McElwain is providing good fodder for Buff fans.

On Tuesday, McElwain dissed the Rams’ 2 1/2 year old, $13 million indoor practice facility (see story, below).

On Wednesday, McElwain was asked, according to the Coloradoan

On the pieces of the team he likes:

“Right now, we really look good at stretching. I get excited about that.”

The other Coach Mac also likes the weather in Ft. Collins: “This weather with no humidity is awesome”.

Go, Rams, Go!

Stretch, Rams, Stretch!

April 3rd

CSU head coach critical of practice facilities

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Tuscaloosa anymore …

New Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain practiced in the Rams’ indoor practice facility for the first – and possibly the last – time Monday.

According to the Coloradoan … “I’ve got to really evaluate,” McElwain said after the 1-hour, 50-minute session in the 2 1/2-year-old facility, which cost $13 million to build. “And to be productive and successful, it doesn’t do us any good to practice in here.”

McElwain said there simply wasn’t enough room to conduct a proper practice. The indoor facility’s field is 70 yards long, counting a full end zone at one end. A regular football field is 120 yards, counting the two 10-yard end-zones at each end of the 100-yard playing field.

McElwain said he moved the practice indoors on a cool but not unusually cold day so that he and his staff could get a feel for what they would and would not be able to do when weather forces them to practice indoors.

“We wanted to, as a staff, get an idea of our limitations and really what it showed is we aren’t really going to be able to use this much,” McElwain said.

For the record … CU’s “bubble” is about the same size as CSU’s facility …

April 2nd

Season ticket renewals coming due

Hope your tax refund is readily available …

The CU season ticket renewals have just gone out (I got my email today), and the deadline is coming … next week.

Renewals are due by Friday, April 13th. If you need to get your season ticket renewal going, here is a link to the CU season ticket page.

Go Buffs!

April 1st

Texas still struggling to find a starting quarterback

Perhaps the Longhorns miss Connor Wood more than they thought they would …

It has not been the best of times in Austin. The last two seasons, Texas has posted records of 5-7 (2-6 in the Big 12) and 8-5 (4-5 in the Big 12, including a 55-17 loss to Oklahoma). The Longhorns enter the 2012 season with two year losing streaks to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor (Baylor! Imagine how well that is sitting with the UT faithful!).

Much of the concern over the 13-12 overall record over the past two seasons has had to do with poor play at the quarterback position.

Texas has just concluded its practices for the spring, with no resolution as to who will be quarterback this fall.

According to ESPN, sophomore quarterback David Ash says he feels like the leader of the Texas offense.

Coach Mack Brown, however, still refuses to publicly declare a starter and says he’s confident that either Ash or junior Case McCoy could lead the Longhorns next season.

If Sunday’s spring scrimmage showed anything, it’s that Ash has earned the right to call himself the starter, but McCoy still could challenge for the job if he can eliminate costly turnovers.

Ash threw only six passes – one for a touchdown – and directed three early scoring drives. He was 5 of 6 for 31 yards. McCoy was 9 of 15 for 139 yards with a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions in the end zone as Texas wrapped up spring drills.

“I thought I made pretty good decisions,” Ash said. “I’ve been trying to understand defenses better. … I’ve been trying to improve the mental side of my game a lot.”

When asked if he thought the offense was his to run, Ash replied, “Yes sir.”

The quarterback battle – or struggle, depending on the week – has been a yearlong theme for a Texas team trying to rebuild into a Big 12 title contender. Both Ash and McCoy struggled last season when Texas went 8-5 and finished with a losing record in the Big 12 for the second year in a row.

McCoy, the younger brother of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, went 3-2 as a starter last season and rallied Texas to a last-second win over rival Texas A&M in the final game in that century-old rivalry. But the week after that game, he committed five turnovers in a loss at Baylor.

Ash was 3-3 as a starter and appeared to have taken over the role when he played the entire game in the Holiday Bowl win over California. Ash was the most valuable player of the game after passing for one touchdown, catching another and not committing any turnovers.

Colorado sophomore quarterback Connor Wood, the odd-man out in the Texas quarterback battle last off-season, must be feeling preety good this spring about his decision to transfer …

March 29th

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott calls the conference “undervalued”

A $3 billion television contract? Peanuts.

A network, wholly owned by the conference, which may bring even more revenue to the league than the television network? Just getting warmed up.

In an article in Broadcastingcable.com, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott indicated that the best may be yet to come. Speaking at the American Association of Advertising Agencies meeting in Los Angeles Thursday, Scott said “revenue from television is still a fraction of what it should be.” Ratings of big college football games are comparable to Monday Night Football NFL telecasts on ESPN, but rights fees are a lot less, he says, blaming a landscape with 31 division one conferences and a structure in which rights reside with the NCAA, with conferences and with individual schools for fragmenting the market.

The Pac-12 Network, coming in August, will have seven feeds. One will be national; the others will be localized, with Pac-12 networks in L.A., the Bay Area, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Mountain.

That should create opportunities for marketers. “With seven different feeds, we’ll be able to maximize audience from an advertiser perspective. It allows us to be very flexible and efficient in terms of a national platform,” Scott said. You can be a regional advertiser or a local advertiser. If you are company that just has business in the L.A. area, you can buy on the Pac-12 L.A. network.

The conference has also rolled up the digital rights to all the member school’s websites, creating a one-stop-shopping opportunity. “This is what pro sports do. We’re applying it for the first time to the college space.”

The network will launch in August after the Olympics and will air seven football games when the season starts Labor Day weekend.

6 Responses to “Colorado Daily – April”

  1. Julian

    Never too early to start thinking about next years draft … 2013 draft prospect rankings are up on NFLDraftScout.com Here are the CU players I saw:

    Will Pericak #20 DE
    Nick Kasa #41 DE (!?)
    Ray Polk #16 FS
    Jon Major #19 OLB
    Ryan Dannewitz #26 OT

    In the ‘one that got away (twice)’ category they have Christian’s nephew Joseph Fauria as the #1 TE prospect.

    For reference, there were 20 DEs, 9 FSs, 24 OLBs, and 23 OTs taken this year, so that would put all of these guys pretty close to the cut/UFA mark. My hunch is that with good health and good coaching we will see one or two drafted again, especially Major if Cabral and his cronies can work their usual magic with a full healthy season. Rippy could play his way into consideration as well.

  2. Mark Mensik

    The best player in CU history aside from Wizzer White is Darian Hagan. He should be hands down the top vote getter, but that’s just my opinion. Not sure how Salaam can be kept off either being the only Heisman trophy winner.

  3. jw blue

    and IF it were CU players
    and IF they were only charged with misdemeanors
    the Denver Post would bring out the torches and pitchforks again

  4. What a coup d’état! Imagine a recruit (any sport) coming down 36 and seeing a herd of Buffalo with a backdrop of snow capped peaks. It don’t get better than this Herman.

    I can imagine the Mayor being all up tight about the introduction of a herd near Hwy 36 and not knowing a damn thing about the animal, other than the concern about “Open Space” and the cost of bringing the herd in. Solution: Run it like a Buffalo Ranch… hell, they make all kind of $$$…. ever buy a pound of ground Buffalo (in the range of $8.99 a pound) ? Use it as a cow/calf operation and only have one bull for the herd, then sell the yearlings. Cull the yearling heifers, keep the good ones, then cull the cows and maintain a genetically superior herd. Man, give me a herd of Buffalo ANYTIME YOU WISH.

  5. jah

    (4/3) Excuse #? Not sure if McElwain can coach under these conditions. Alabama has spoiled him. It’s just a matter of time.

  6. Michael

    Got my email today and renewed my tix today, didn’t even wait for the mail. Excited for a solid season from our Buffs. Gotta win the home games to have a successful (bowl game) season!

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