POSTED: April 15, 2021

Spring Practice Notes


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Spring Practice Notes

April 15th 

QB Brendon Lewis: “It feels like feels more and more like high school and I can just do my thing”

From the Daily Camera … A 6-foot-2, 225-pound freshman from Melissa, Texas, Brendon Lewis was the third-string quarterback during the Buffs’ abbreviated 2020 season. After the five-game regular season, however, backup Tyler Lytle entered the transfer portal – and eventually transferred to Massachusetts – and Lewis was elevated to second string for the Alamo Bowl.

Although the Buffs lost to Texas, 55-23, in that game on Dec. 29 in San Antonio, Lewis came off the bench to lead them to three touchdowns.

“Going in (to the season), it was definitely hard coming in and getting adjusted to everything,” Lewis said. “I just had to get adjusted to the speed of the game, and I think that whole half-season that we had really helped me, like going through practice, learning from coach Langsdorf and (head coach Karl) Dorrell, (offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini). Then, when I got in that game, I felt like I was ready.”

He certainly looked ready, as he completed a 26-yard pass to Dimitri Stanley on his first throw and finished the game going 6-for-10 for 95 yards and rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.

“I went in there with a little bit of confidence and after that first completion, I was like, ‘Oh this feels like high school,’” he said. “After that game, I knew I had a lot of stuff to work on in (the offseason) and that’s what I did. I knew I would be ready to come here in the spring and I feel like I did a pretty good job with that.

“Now everything just comes fast and easy. It feels like feels more and more like high school and I can just do my thing.”

Continue reading story here

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April 14th

**Video interviews: QB coach Danny Langsdorf; CB coach Demetrice Martin; QB Brendon Lewis**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf … 

Cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin … 

Quarterback Brendon Lewis … 

 

NCAA eliminates transfer rule (making QB J.T. Shrout eligible to play this season)

From the Associated Press … Starting next season, major college football and basketball players will be permitted to transfer one time before graduating without being required to sit out a year of competition.

The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to changed the long-standing rule that has often deterred players in high-profile sports from switching schools, two people with knowledge of the council’s decision told The Associated Press.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because two-day meeting was still in session and the council’s decisions would not become official until it ends Thursday. The Athletic first reported the council’s vote.

The so-called one-time exception has been available to athletes in other NCAA sports for years, allowing them to transfer and play immediately. Athletes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and baseball have not had that available to them without asking the NCAA for a special waiver and claiming a hardship caused the need for a transfer.

Athletes who have graduated have also been permitted to transfer without sitting out, but not undergraduates.

Starting this fall semester, all athletes will be operating under the same rules: Transfers will be allowed to play right away.

Continue reading story here

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April 13th

Brenden Rice has yet to practice: “He’s going to have to make it up on the backend”

From the Daily Camera … Receiver Brenden Rice had several explosive plays last season for the Buffs but has yet to take off this spring. Prior to the start of spring practices, Rice dislocated his finger. Then, he had to go through COVID-19 protocol.

“He needs to get back practicing and playing, that’s his biggest challenge right now,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He’s not clear to practice yet but he’s out there watching. If he doesn’t start practicing this week, he’s going to miss three weeks of spring practice, so he’s behind, the way I look at it.”

The Buffs have held seven of 15 practices this spring, but even with the missed time, there are high hopes for Rice. As a true freshman in the fall, he caught six passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns and had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown.

“We do feel like he’s a guy that can really help us, just like he did last year,” Dorrell said. “He has time to kind of get caught up. He’ll probably get a chance to practice the last couple of weeks and spring and then hopefully have a great summer, going into training camp and we’ll see how things stack up. He is missing some valuable time, but he’s just going to have to make it up on the backend.”

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Dorrell: “I feel like this team is really starting to grasp the concepts – I think we’re growing up a bit”

From the Daily Camera … A week ago, Dorrell was not pleased with the effort of the Buffs after a weekend off, but they’ve put together three solid practices since.

“I felt like their attention span was very focused and they felt that too,” Dorrell said. “At the end of practice, we talked a little bit about, ‘Men, if you keep practicing like that, there’s not much that’s going to be able to stop us. If we have a standard you can hold yourself to — a high standard — there won’t be a lot of teams that can get us this year.’ … I think that light bulb is starting to shine just a little bit brighter now.”

Nearly halfway through their 15 spring practices, the Buffs are progressing like Dorrell had hoped, even if they are a bit short-handed in some positions.

“I feel like this team is really starting to grasp the concepts and the things we’re really trying to preach, to get these things as part of our core in our system, both on offense and defense, and special teams,” Dorrell said. “I think we’re growing up a little bit.

“Hopefully we can stack up two more practices like that (this week).”

Getting to that point of growing up means Dorrell and other coaches have to lean on the team leaders to help the squad get ready for practice.

Continue reading story here

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April 12th

**Video – Karl Dorrell post-practice talk with media**

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsNation

Running back Ashaad Clayton … 

Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon … 

 

Freshmen making the most of their spring opportunities 

From CUBuffs.com … While a number of veterans are having solid camps, one of the highlights of the spring thus far has been the improvement of a number of young players.

That is, of course, one of the main goals of spring ball — give young players a chance to compete and develop. Dorrell has mentioned a number of youngsters and newcomers who have stood out thus far.

Some of those he mentioned after Friday’s scrimmage:

OT Jake Wiley — The redshirt freshman has stepped in at right tackle with the No. 1 offense and getting plenty of snaps to hone his skills. “He’s a guy that’s going to be factoring in an integral part to what we’re doing on offense this year,” Dorrell said.

ILBs Marvin Ham II and Alvin Williams — These two freshmen have consistently made plays. Williams had a sack in Friday’s workout while Ham made a nice break on a ball for a pass breakup over the middle in the team drills.

“I think both of those guys are getting fed confidence,” Dorrell said. “They’re getting a lot of snaps and getting better. They’re both explosive players. Once they get even more confident they’ll be playing even faster and continue to make plays they’re making. Both are making a lot of progress.”

RB Jayle Stacks — The 5-foot-11, 230-pound freshman got a couple of carries in scrimmage work and pounded out some tough yards. He’s one of the Buffs’ more versatile backs and can line up at several spots and is proving to be an adept receiver.

“He’s a load to bring down,” Dorrell said. “He’s one of those backs who’s a bigger back. He’s kind of a utility player for us. He catches the ball well out of the backfield, we get him in some run game, he does a number of things for us. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with Jayle. He seems like he’s got a comfort level with what we’re doing offensively. He’s a lot more comfortable doing a lot of different roles we’re asking him to play. It was good to see him have a few carries where he was actually carrying some people running down the field. I’m very happy with his progress.”

Safety Ray Robinson — After playing linebacker the last couple of years, the former safety seems to have found his comfort zone back in his old stomping grounds.

“Ray made a couple plays on the back end today that were impressive plays,” Dorrell said. “He was in the right position where it forced the quarterback to make an errant throw. I think Ray has found a home playing safety. There’s no question in my mind he’s a lot more energetic, he’s into it. We feel like he’s going to give us some really valuable depth playing safety for us, and he does all those things on special teams for us.”

CB Tyrin Taylor — The 6-foot-2, 180-pound true freshman is already showing a knack for being around the ball and will add depth on the outside for the Buffs. While he just enrolled this spring, he seems to have adapted quickly to the defense and had a nice break on a ball against the No. 1 defense in Friday’s team work.

“He has done some nice positive things,” Dorrell said. “That depth is really going to help us on the defensive side.”

RB Ashaad Clayton — After showing some flashes last fall, the freshman seems to be more consistent in this spring.

“He’s working really hard,” Dorrell said. “He’s made some really positive steps from what he did in the fall. He’s more comfortable understanding our system and being more proficient at it. I’m very encouraged where he’s at. He’s one of those kids who’s had some really bright moments and we’re hoping he continues that progress in making some of those plays and more efficient plays as we continue to move through spring.”

Read full scrimmage report here

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April 11th

Jayle Stacks trying to get into the mix at running back – Dorrell: “Pleasantly surprised”

From the Daily Camera … Between the proven production of Jarek Broussard and Alex Fontenot and the hype surrounding Ashaad Clayton, Jayle Stacks hasn’t received a lot of attention since joining the Colorado Buffaloes last year.

The freshman running back is making his mark this spring, however, and on Friday had a couple of powerful, tackle-breaking runs in the Buffaloes’ first scrimmage of spring.

“That’s what we’ve seen right there,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said of Stacks’ running style. “What you saw today is what he’s been doing the last two, three, or four practices since we’ve been in pads. He’s a load to bring down, and he’s one of those backs who is a bigger back and he’s kind of a utility player for us. He catches the ball well out of the backfield. … He does a number of things for us.”

The 5-foot-11, 230-pound Stacks is CU’s biggest running back and came to CU after a stellar career at Cherry Creek High School. With the Bruins, he was a four-time all-conference performer, rushing for 2,997 yards and 39 touchdowns during his career. He also turned seven of his 22 career catches into touchdowns.

“We’ve been, I would say, pleasantly surprised with Jayle,” Dorrell said. “He seems like he’s got a comfort level in what we’re doing offensively. He’s a lot more comfortable doing a lot of different roles that we’re asking him to play, and it was good to see him having a few carries where he was actually carrying some people, running down the field. Very, very happy with his progress.”

Continue reading story here

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April 10th

Freshman QB Drew Carter “progressing”, but “not quite ready to trigger in a scrimmage yet”

From CUSportsNation.com … Friday’s scrimmage had an emphasis on the red zone, with interchanging units on both offense and defense facing off in controlled sequences from the 25-yard line.

The third quarterback to enter the fray Friday was freshman walk-on Grant Ciccarone, who ironically enough, threw the scrimmage’s only touchdown pass, which was caught in the right corner of the endzone by fellow walk-on Michael Harrison from about 18 yards out.

Notably missing from the action was freshman Drew Carter, the lone quarterback Colorado took from the high school level in its 2021 recruiting class.

… Ciccarone getting some action at quarterback while Carter watched from the sidelines may well equate to Colorado’s freshman signal caller getting a slice of humble pie.

“Drew is progressing,” Karl Dorrell said. “He’s not quite ready to trigger in a scrimmage yet. I would say he’s still learning and digesting a lot of information.”

… At the end of the day, Carter is a newcomer to the program. Him not being 100% ready to run the show of the offense during the first scrimmage of spring shouldn’t be seen as indicative of him struggling.

“If you can imagine how ‘B-Lew’ would have been last year when I got the job, if we’d had a spring practice, he would have been swimming, just figuring out what we were doing offensively,” Dorrell said. “That’s what Drew feels, where he just stepped on campus a few months ago and he’s learning the system.”

Read full story here

**Video: Watch a few plays from Friday’s scrimmage**

From YouTube, courtesy CUSportsNation

 

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April 9th

**Video: Karl Dorrell – Post-Scrimmage talk with media**

From the Daily Camera … Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell would love to see his offense lighting up the scoreboard next fall, but he has no problem watching the defense get the upper hand at this time.

“I’m actually more encouraged that our defense is ahead of our offense,” Dorrell said Friday after the Buffaloes’ sixth practice of spring drills.

Near the end of the Buffs’ practice at Franklin Field, they held a short, 25-play scrimmage, with an emphasis on red zone situations. During that time, it was clear that the defense won the day.

“I feel like defense is making some really positive strides and coming together and getting better at challenging the offense on every single snap,” Dorrell said. “Offensively we weren’t at our best today, but I think there’s a lot of stuff that we need to continue to fix and work on.”

Outside linebackers Carson Wells and Devin Grant both recorded sacks; Na’im Rodman and other defensive lineman made tackles at the line of scrimmage, and safety Ray Robinson had an interception on a tipped pass to highlight the effort of the defense. The group also had a goal-line stand to force a field goal.

“I thought we came with a lot of energy,” junior inside linebacker Jonathan Van Diest said. “It’s definitely a first scrimmage, but I think our defense is showing a lot of signs of leadership and guys wanting to play. It’s a testament to (defensive coordinator Chris) Wilson and his defense and the scheme we have.

“It’s something that we’ve been able to grasp really well, which helps me play fast. Everyone in the inside linebacker room I can say, as well as just for the whole defense in general, there’s more trust and so we’re able to play downhill, or attacking.”

Continue reading story here

From YouTube, courtesy BuffStampede.com

Linebacker Jonathan Van Diest … 

Tight end Matt Lynch … 

 

List of players inactive for first spring scrimmage

Some of the names, like Nate Landman, Sam Noyer, and Chance Lytle (recovering from off-season surgeries, and are out for all of the spring) are not a surprise. The number of healthy offensive linemen (down to nine) could limit how much of a scrimmage that the Buffs can conduct this afternoon …

Chris Miller (S)
Guy Thomas (OLB)
Sam Noyer (QB)
Jaylon Jackson (WR)
Deion Smith (RB)
Mister Williams (ILB)
Nate Landman (ILB)
Terrance Lang (DL)
Austin Johnson (OL)
Casey Roddick (OL)
Nikko Pohahau (OL)
Chance Lytle (OL)

Defensive lineman Janaz Jordan: “He’s got a really high ceiling”

From the Daily Camera … Although he’s been at the University of Colorado for two years and is already going into his third season with the football team, Janaz Jordan has not been in the spotlight.

He has been a valuable piece to the puzzle on the Buffaloes’ defensive line, however.

A former junior college transfer, Jordan earned his way into the starting lineup last season and doesn’t appear to be slowing down as the Buffs have gone through the first five practices of spring.

“Janaz has been a pleasant surprise from a year ago,” CU defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said this week. “He’s got a lot of growth in him. He’s got a really high ceiling.”

Listed at 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, Jordan took over as the starting nose tackle for the last four games of the abbreviated 2020 season, finishing with 11 tackles. He had 12 tackles in a reserve role in 2019.

Jordan came to CU after playing his freshman year at Hinds (Miss.) Community College. Although he was recruited by the previous coaching staff, Jordan fits well in Wilson’s system.

“There’s been a lot of D-line coaches here in the last few years and what we’re doing now is we’ve got a system and we’ve got a guy (Jordan) who actually believes in what we’re doing right now,” Wilson said. “What I mean by that is we’ll tailor everything towards our players, so we’re asking these guys to do things that they can do. It’s not about the system. It’s really about the personnel, so he fits our personnel. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic, and we’ve just got to keep working on this conditioning.”

Continue reading story here

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April 8th

Maurice Bell trying to find his way onto the field: “Returning kicks is definitely fun”

From the Daily Camera … When Maurice Bell looks back at the 2020 season, he can’t help but think about missed opportunities on kickoff returns.

“I should have had three (touchdowns) last year,” said Bell, a junior receiver with the Colorado Buffaloes. “This year we’re gonna have to go for at least five. I’ve got some making up to do.”

Now one of the veterans in the receiver room, Bell is looking for big things next season, on offense and in special teams.

Last season, the 6-foot, 180-pound Bell earned the most extensive playing time of his career and, including the Valero Alamo Bowl, caught 10 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, while also gaining 151 yards on seven kickoff returns.

… “Maurice has worked really hard this offseason,” Chiaverini said. “He’s worked hard in the weight room, he’s worked hard obviously in the offseason conditioning program. I’m excited to see him take the next step this year.”

… “Personally to make a big step, something I really would like to work on is just being consistent and being dominant every single day,” Bell said. “Being a player that’s just reliable, that every day you’re on the field, you’re reliable to be consistent. That’s really where my big jump, I feel like, will come in.

“With the role that (Chiaverini) has me wanting to make this big jump, I’m definitely ready for it and more than excited to jump into it.”

Part of Bell’s jump could come on special teams, too. He was the Buffs’ primary kick returner in 2020 and nearly broke loose, but he said, “I was getting ankle tackled and that’s not OK.”

Whether it’s as a receiver or returner, Bell is eager to play a bigger role.

“I love just having the ball in my hands in general, honestly,” he said. “Returning kicks is definitely fun, especially with all the open space and opportunities you have back there.”

Continue reading story here

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April 7th

**Post-practice video – OC Darrin Chiaverini; DC Chris Wilson; WR Maurice Bell**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini … 

Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson … 

Wide receiver Maurice Bell … 

 

Nate Landman: “The rehab is going a lot better than I thought … I’m actually ahead of schedule”

From the Daily Camera … Colorado’s Nate Landman is encouraged by his progress this spring and aiming for a return to football this fall.

On Tuesday night, Landman took part in a CU-sponsored virtual event, “Discovering Dorrell.” During the event, host Mark Johnson interviewed head coach Karl Dorrell, while a set of former football players spoke with current players.

Landman was interviewed by Matt Russell, who won the Butkus Award as an inside linebacker with the Buffs in 1996. During the interview, Landman provided an update on his injury recovery from rupturing his Achilles’ tendon on Dec. 12 against Utah.

“The rehab is going a lot better than I thought,” said Landman, who was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award last season and is not participating in CU’s spring practices this month. “I’m actually ahead of schedule. I’ve been running for the past two weeks on the underwater treadmill and after this week, they’ll move me to the (AlterG treadmill), which is just modified bodyweight running. So, I would say about two, three (weeks), maybe even a month ahead of schedule on that term.”

The Buffs are hopeful that Landman will be ready to go when preseason camp begins in August.

“Nate’s in great shape, he looks great,” Dorrell said to Johnson. “He’s got a great mindset about where he’s going, he feels good about where the rehab situation is for him. … He’s going to be ready to go for sure by the fall before we start training camp.”

Continue reading story here

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April 6th

Dorrell on Brendon Lewis: “He looks very, very confident; very, very poised in the pocket”

From CUBuffs.com … Freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis, who didn’t play last year until the Alamo Bowl, is having an excellent camp thus far.

“He’s graduated from that developmental stage,” Dorrell said. “You remember seeing him in the Texas game and how well he played there. We all were excited about the type of production he was able to do. He’s even better than that.”

In his Alamo Bowl debut, Lewis guided the Buffs to three touchdowns. He completed 6-of-10 pases for 95 yards and rushed nine times for 73 yards and a score.

This spring he’s getting regular snaps with the No. 1 offense, as last year’s starter, Sam Noyer, is out following shoulder surgery.

“He has a better understanding of the concepts of the offense,” Dorrell said. “There’s no panic in his game anymore with the movements and things we’ve asked him to do. He’s reading through progressions really well. He looks very, very confident, very poised in the pocket. He’s made a couple big jumps of improvement and growth since the fall. He’s a lot more comfortable with our system. The familiarity is obviously very helpful.”

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April 5th

**Video: Karl Dorrell’s post-practice talk with media**

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsNation

Freshman defensive back Christian Gonzalez 

Offensive lineman Colby Pursell … 

Footage from practice … 

 

At outside linebacker, “potential” is the operative word

From the Daily Camera … Last week, Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell said the Buffaloes’ revamped defense could give the outside linebackers an opportunity to “pin your ears back and go.”

A smile came across the face of Carson Wells when he was asked about that comment.

“It definitely opens it up for us to make more plays,” said Wells, a junior outside linebacker. “We’ve just got to have that dog mindset in our play every play. This defense is really designed for us to make plays. I don’t want to get into it too much but it’s designed for us to make plays and we’ve just got to go out there and execute.”

Wells is coming off a dominant 2020 season in which he led the country with 2.67 tackles for loss per game. Despite playing just six games, he tied for third nationally with 16 total TFLs. Nationally, he was one of only 15 players with at least 14 TFLs, and the others each played at least nine games.

A 6-foot-4, 250-pound fourth-year junior, Wells is the unquestioned leader of the outside linebacker crew, but it’s a group with intriguing possibilities.

“It is a position that we feel confident that we can be very productive and mainly because of what Carson is able to do with his experience,” Dorrell said. “We know that he’s going to generate some plays on his side of it.”

The Buffs, who held their fourth practice of spring on Monday, are trying to find others who can produce at outside linebacker, as well.

Continue reading story here

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April 3rd 

Transfer linebacker Robert Barnes making an impression: “You can feel his presence on the field”

From CUBuffs.com … Dorrell also mentioned a handful of players who have performed well after three practices, including new linebacker Robert Barnes. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound graduate transfer from Oklahoma has been playing inside linebacker, but has the versatility to fit into CU’s scheme in several places.

“You can feel his presence on the field,” Dorrell said. “He’s a veteran player, had a lot of experience. You can see how he carries himself, how he can diagnose plays, how he tracks the football and how he fits on runners. You can tell he’s been around the block, so to speak. I think he’s going to be a really good piece for us. When Nate (Landman) gets back, there will be a couple guys like him that I think will really help engineer this defense to be a really good defense in the fall.”

Other defenders Dorrell mentioned included inside linebackers Alvin Williams (who made the move from outside), inside linebacker Quinn Perry, outside linebackers Joshka Gustav and Carson Wells, and safety Mark Perry.

Williams, Dorrell said, has “made his presence known” while Quinn Perry has “done some positive things.”

At safety, Mark Perry’s improvement could be key for a CU defense at a position that needs to replace a graduated starter as well as develop depth. Perry is also running sprints for the CU track team this spring.

“He made a few plays today that I didn’t see him make routinely last year,” Dorrell said.

Dorrell said Gustav, who saw some quality snaps down the stretch last season, is “carrying that to the next level for his development. Carson, same thing.”

On offense, Dorrell said some of the early standouts are the “usual suspects” — running backs Jarek Broussard and Alex Fontenot and wide receivers La’Vontae Shenault and Dimitri Stanley.

Read full story here

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April 2nd

Defense getting the best of it after first week of practices: “They like our scheme. It’s more player friendly”

From the Daily Camera … It’s still early in spring practices, and the first game is still five months away, but Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell is already impressed with the Buffaloes’ defense.

On Friday, the Buffs held their third practice of spring — their first in pads — and the defense made its mark.

“I think the defense got after (the offense) just a little bit more than what the offense did against the defense,” Dorrell said. “That’s usually a positive sign, particularly in spring practice. Your defense is usually ahead of the offense.”

That’s certainly understandable this year, as the Buffs are inexperienced at quarterback.

On defense, meanwhile, CU is introducing a new scheme, with new terminology, yet the group is off to a good start.

“They like our scheme,” Dorrell said. “It’s more player-friendly. We’re not having as many checks. Once you guys get a chance to watch the scrimmage … you’ll notice that even in practice, you’re seeing so much more communication, where they’re confident with the calls that they’re making. That’s something that I think last year, it was gray. You’re seeing a lot of assertive calling and adjustments on the defensive side. Guys stepping up, great verbal communication, and guys are lining up and doing pretty well. So I think defensively it was a really positive step forward for a new scheme.”

Continue reading story here

From BuffStampede.com … Video of Karl Dorrell’s post-practice talk with media …

Video from Friday’s practice

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April 1st

Freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis is “playing really well right now, very confident”

From the Daily Camera … A 55-23 loss to Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 didn’t produce many highlights for the Colorado football team.

Head coach Karl Dorrell was upset and disappointed during his postgame press conference but recognized one potential positive: the debut of true freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis.

“To be honest, he probably was the bright note of tonight,” Dorrell said at the time. “Hopefully that will be something that’s good for him to carry into the off-season and keep building on going into spring practice.”

CU opened spring practice on Monday – exactly three months after the loss to Texas – and Lewis’ confidence is still there. After both practices so far this week, Dorrell has said Lewis looks different than he did last season.

“He’s playing really well right now, very confident,” Dorrell said Wednesday. “He looks like a completely different player than what we saw prior to that experience in the Alamo Bowl, so he’s really doing well.”

Continue reading story here

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March 31st 

Practice No. 2 

Broussard brace-free – “I feel a lot faster”; Buffs down to ten offensive lineman – “Just enough for a two-deep, but it’s a good two-deep”

Related … “Confident Jarek Broussard sheds knee brace” … from BuffStampede.com

RelatedLink to B-Roll video of Practice No. 2

**Video – Karl Dorrell after Practice No. 2 – courtesy of BuffStampede.com**

 

From CUSportsNation … After rushing for 813 yards in just five regular season games last fall, a performance that earned him Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year honors, suffice to say that Jarek Broussard more than proved himself healed following his recovery from the second ACL tear of his football career.

Eventually, Broussard was going to take the brace off, but per Dorrell, he did so almost immediately after Colorado’s loss in the Alamo Bowl.

Through the Buffs’ winter workouts until now, two days into CU’s 15 spring practices, Broussard has been without the knee brace.

“Ever since we started offseason (workouts) he hasn’t worn it,” Dorrell said. “He’s got rid of the Linus blanket and I haven’t seen it since the season. He’s been training this whole offseason without it. He looks fabulous, he looks faster — which is what we all anticipated he would be without a brace — he looks good. He shed it after the Texas game and I haven’t seen it since.”

One torn ACL is grueling enough in terms of the injury and recovery that follows but suffering multiple ACL injuries adds a new dimension to it all.

That’s the reality Broussard faced, as he tore his ACL for the first time during his senior year at Bishop Lynch High School in the Dallas/Ft. Worth suburbs, and again in September of 2019, ending his redshirt freshman year at CU after a promising performance during that spring.

“The confidence is already there — I was never really worried about the brace, but just going throughout the winter workout period, I did it all without my brace on,” he said. “I feel like my cuts are pretty fluid, I feel faster, so the confidence I feel like is going to get better.”

As last season ended and winter workouts began, Broussard took time to dissect what he did on the gridiron through Colorado’s six-game season.

Now, he can compare how a few days of organized practices have gone for him without the brace on.

“Looking at film from last year, I noticed the brace restricted me in a lot of things,” he said. “This spring, I’m going without the brace to how to see how different (it is). I feel a lot better, I feel a lot faster, so right now, it’s going good.”

Karl Dorrell did not mince words when detailing the personnel situation Colorado is facing this spring at offensive line: it’s a bit tight.

“We’re not real deep at the offensive line in terms of practice players right now because guys are recovering from postseason surgeries,” Dorrell said. “We’re not as deep as we normally would be…we have some guys that are coming in in the summer, that are going to add some depth as we go, but it’s one of those positions that aren’t as deep right now due to guys recovering to surgery.”

Dorrell indicated that walk-ons Jack Seavall (Fr.) and John Dietchmann (So.) have been seeing extra snaps and playing time in an attempt to plug some of those holes, but overall, 10 scholarship offensive linemen are available and healthy enough to practice.

Those players are: Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan (Fr.), Frank Fillip (So.), Austin Johnson (Fr.) Josh Jynes (So.), Kary Kutsch (Sr.), Carson Lee (Fr.), Colby Pursell (Jr.), Kanan Ray (So.), Valentin Senn (Fr.) and Jake Wiley (Fr.).

Junior Chance Lytle, who was lost last fall at Arizona to a serious leg injury, is making good progress with his recovery but won’t be available this spring.

“Chance Lytle is out of the boot,” Dorrell said. “He was in a boot for a considerable amount of time until this week. I saw him lifting in the weight room and doing squats yesterday, so he’s gradually getting himself back into playing shape but he’s still a ways away. It’ll be sometime this summer before he’s back in full.”

Sophomore Casey Roddick is also out this spring with an undisclosed medical condition but Dorrell said he expects him back “in a short period of time.”

Finally, freshman Nikko Pohahau is a non-participant this spring due to offseason shoulder surgery.

While the injuries have certainly thinned things out for Dorrell as he navigates his first spring, there is also the matter of replacing second-team All-Pac-12 left tackle Will Sherman, who recently declared for the NFL Draft.

Dorrell has opted to move Fillip, who started every game at right tackle last year, over to the left.

“He is practicing at the left tackle position right now and doing really well,” Dorrell said. “He’s excited about it and loves the challenge and what that brings. I think he’s very confident about the year he had last year in 2020 and carrying it over to doing better things in 2021. He’s excited.”

“We really right now have 10 healthy players to give us a two-deep at o-lineman in terms of a one line and a two line.,” Dorrell said. “We have just enough to get through practice right now with a two-deep, but it’s a good two-deep.”

Continue reading story here

Sam Noyer not practicing, but leading; transfer linebacker Robert Barnes impressing

From the Daily Camera … Senior quarterback Sam Noyer, who started all six games last season, isn’t participating in spring practices because he’s recovering from shoulder surgery. His presence is certainly felt, however.

“You can tell Sam’s around because you hear him,” Dorrell said. “He’s showing his leadership qualities. He’s running, he’s doing everything from a conditioning standpoint. … He’s doing all of that stuff but obviously he’s not ready to throw a football yet.”

With Noyer out, returning freshman Brendon Lewis, true freshman Drew Carter and junior J.T. Shrout, a transfer from Tennessee, are competing.

“(Noyer) has being very encouraging for the quarterbacks and all the offensive players,” Dorrell said. “Sam is such, I think, a really positive influence on a lot of our players. He loves this team, being around the team and encouraging them to keep getting better and keep performing.”

Robert Barnes, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, is already making a good impression on the Buffs.

“He’s shown great leadership qualities since he’s been here,” Dorrell said. “He’s been great in our offseason workouts and getting to know his new teammates and voices some opinions and some things about how to do things . I’ve been very pleased with what he’s done for us since he’s been here.”

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Barnes was a safety at Oklahoma, but transitioned to linebacker last season. He had 77 tackles and two interceptions in 27 games with the Sooners.

At CU, Barnes is listed as inside linebacker, but could also play safety or Star.

“We know that he’s a pretty versatile player,” Dorrell said. “We’re trying to get a lot of looks for a lot of different guys and make a good assessment at the linebacker positions about, OK, what is the best combination, who are the best three or four guys we think that we can utilize and help us in terms of the core of that group?

“We feel that (Barnes) is going to give us flexibility to plug and play maybe the top three players and he might be one of those three, but he has versatility to be in a number of those positions.”

March 29th 

… CU in a few minutes … 

List of players (in addition to Sam Noyer and Nate Landman) who will be out this spring

From the Daily Camera … Offensive lineman Chance Lytle, who injured his leg against Arizona on Dec. 5th, is still in a walking boot and won’t participate in spring. Dorrell also said that defensive lineman Terrance Lang, Star/safety Chris Miller and outside linebacker Guy Thomas have had shoulder surgeries and won’t participate. Offensive lineman Austin Johnson, who missed the 2020 season with an Achilles’ tear, will also be out after recently having a bone spur removed from his other heel.

Despite having several players recovering from injuries, Dorrell said he is pleased with the progress of the Buffs in their first month with new director of strength and conditioning Shannon Turley.

“It’s going really well,” Dorrell said. “I think Shannon’s very comfortable. He’s a month in and he’s very comfortable where everything is right now and our players are getting better every week. They’re understanding the new process of how we train, what we’re teaching; those certain aspects of things.

“They’re getting a better feel of who he is and his personality, the things that are important that we’re trying to stress. That’s a little bit of a learning curve and I think their learning curve is getting even bigger and wider now because they have a better understanding a month into it.”

Read full story here

—–

March 28th

… CU in a few minutes … 

Roster Review: CU has 20 starters returning

Or … If you read Athlon’s Pac-12 Spring Power Rankings, CU only has 12 returning starters (6 on offense; 6 on defense)

Colorado has 73 lettermen returning for the 2021 season (65 from the 2020 team, five from 2019 and one from 2017); they break down into 31 on offense, 32 on defense and five specialists; the Buffs lose 12 lettermen off the 2020 squad (4 offense/6 defense/2 specialists). CU will return 20 starters from 2020 (12 offense—three players started three games each at two receiver and an offensive line positions/8 defense), losing five (2 offense/3 defense); the starter count was based off 14 players with three plus-starts on the offensive side of the ball. The 2020 starters are listed in bold (three or more starts); *—denotes letters earned primarily on special teams; QIS—quit in season. The breakdown:

OFFENSE
Position Returning (37) Lost (4)
WR La’Vontae Shenault, Daniel Arias, Brendan Rice,
WR Maurice Bell, Montana Lemonious-Craig, Jake Groth                       Lost: K.D. Nixon
WR Dimitri Stanley, Jaylon Jackson, Chris Carpenter, Alex Smith
LT *Jake Wiley                                                                                                    Lost: Will Sherman
LG Kary Kutsch, Kanan Ray, Austin Johnson (from 2019)
C Colby Pursell, Josh Jynes
RG Casey Roddick, Chance Lytle, *Carson Lee
RT Frank Fillip, Valentin Senn
TE Brady Russell, C.J. Schmanski, Matt Lynch, Nico Magri, Nick Fisher, *Alec Pell,*Luke Stillwell (from 2019), Jared Poplawski (from 2017)
QB Sam Noyer, Brendon Lewis                                                                   Lost: Tyler Lytle (QIS)
TB Jarek Broussard, Ashaad Clayton, Joe Davis, Jayle Stacks          Lost: Jaren Mangham
Alex Fontenot (from 2019), Deion Smith (from 2019)

DEFENSE
Position Returning (31) Lost (6)
OLB Carson Wells, Joshka Gustav, *Devin Grant
DE Terrance Lang, Justin Jackson
NT Jalen Sami, Janaz Jordan, Austin Williams, Lloyd Murray, Jr.
DE/DT Na’im Rodman, Jeremiah Doss                                                        Lost: Mustafa Johnson
ILB Nate Landman, Quinn Perry, *Marvin Ham                                   Lost: Devin Lynch
ILB Jonathan Van Diest, *Mister Williams, *Alvin Williams                   Lost: Akil Jones, *Chase Newman (from 2019)
OLB Guy Thomas, Jamar Montgomery
CB Christian Gonzalez, Nigel Bethel
SS Isaiah Lewis, Chris Miller, Mark Perry, *Ray Robinson, Curtis Appleton     Lost: K.J. Trujillo
FS Toren Pittman, *Anthony Lyle,                                                                 Lost: Derrion Rakestraw
CB Mekhi Blackmon, Tarik Luckett, *Jaylen Striker

SPECIALISTS
Position Returning (5) Lost (2)
P Josh Watts
PK Evan Price (PK/KO), Mac Willis (KO), Tyler Francis (PK; from 2019)       Lost: James Stefanou (PK)
SN Derek Bedell Travis Drosos

Spring schedule: Practices from 4:00-6:00; Spring game at 9:00 a.m. on April 30th

Schools are allowed 15 practices over 34 days per NCAA rules (not including spring break); sessions break down as follows, tentatively listed below on the column on the right: three in shorts (no contact), four in pads (no tackling, or pads-NT below), five in pads (tackling allowed 50 percent or less of the time), three in pads (tackling allowed throughout, as in extended scrimmages). The primary location at this time will be the practice field south of the Indoor Practice Facility (where sessions will be during inclement weather).

Calendar (dates, times approximate and subject to change; confirm daily with the CU Sports Information Office)

MARCH 29— Practice # 1 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) shorts/helmets
MARCH 31— Practice # 2 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) shorts/helmets
APRIL 2— Practice # 3 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) pads-NT (uppers)
APRIL 5— Practice # 4 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) pads-NT (uppers)
APRIL 7— Practice # 5 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) full pads
APRIL 9— Practice # 6 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00 p.m. approx. scrimmage) full pads
APRIL 12— Practice # 7 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) pads-NT (uppers)
APRIL 14— Practice # 8 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) full pads
APRIL 16— Practice # 9 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00 p.m. approx. scrimmage) full pads
APRIL 19— Practice #10 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) pads-NT (uppers)
APRIL 21— Practice #11 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) full pads
APRIL 23— Practice #12 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00 p.m. approx. scrimmage) full pads
APRIL 26— Practice #13 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) pads-NT (uppers)
APRIL 28— Practice #14 (2:15 p.m. meetings, 4:00-6:00 p.m. practice) full pads
APRIL 30— SPRING SHOWCASE/SCRIMMAGE (Practice #15; 9:00 a.m. Folsom Field / Pac 12 Network) full pads
TBA — ANNUAL COACHES CLINIC
(NO SPRING BREAK at the university of Colorado this year.)

 PRACTICES: All continued to be closed per mandate by county health officials; thus, no on-site media availability until further notice due to COVID19 precautions (access for the spring showcase/scrimmage should be similar to last fall’s press box seating and photography/videography. Both will still likely be limited at this time).

 SCRIMMAGES: The first scrimmage (April 9) and possibly the second (April 16) will be open to a limited number of media (press box) and a limited number of photographers (in the stands, no field access due to COVID restrictions). All media are required to wear masks and physically distance in the press box. Parking will be available in the Folsom Street Garage (register your plate with sports information if not already in the system).

 INTERVIEWS (Camp): All interviews will continue to be conducted via Zoom, video streaming or by phone. The window for interviews on the days listed above will be following practice at approximately 6:05 p.m., but could fluctuate depending on how long the coaches address the players afterward. Head coach Karl Dorrell is planning to be available after each practice, with assorted assistant coaches upon request; two players will be made available. Please submit requests for players and assistant coaches by 2 p.m. the day of practice and we will do our best to accommodate, but with the constraints we are under, all may not be possible at this time.

Note: Per standard policy, newcomers on the 2021 roster will not be available for outside interviews until fall camp; summer newcomers until after the first game (but exceptions may be possible with the head coach’s permission).

Staff Changes … 

Four changes on the full-time coaching staff: Chris Wilson was named defensive coordinator after Tyson Summers was not retained (Wilson will continue to coach the defensive line); Brett Maxie added defensive passing game coordinator to his duties as safeties coach; Mark Smith was named inside linebackers coach (the position Summers coached); and Bryan Cook was promoted from quality control/defense to tight ends coach, replacing Taylor Embree (who took a position with the New York Jets). In addition, Shannon Turley replaced Drew Wilson as strength andconditioning coach (Wilson’s contract was not renewed).

—–

20 Replies to “Spring Practice Notes”

  1. I admit I am not sure excactly what the coaches mean when they say they will use schemes that will fit the skill set of the players on the roster. Making it more “player friendly” to allow them to play faster does make sense especially on D.
    Jayle Stacks – I would plan on bringing him in whenever it is first and goal. Give hime the ball, let him block and make a hole, or get open for a pass after getting lost in traffic…
    Look forward to the notes from spring game…

    1. Thanks for bringing that up. Hopefully it doesnt mean compensating for a player’s lack of skills. Seems to me that a player’s skill set has been, for most, determined by the time they get to college. An extreme example but your are not going to put Sami out on a wideout.
      I’m sure there a lot of nuances like playing the DT in the gap or on the center or a cover man jamming or playing deep but it seems to me you cant run the same scheme all game long anyway unless your D is totally dominating the opponent’s O.
      How many different schemes are there anyway? 3/4, 4/3, cover 2/man, when do you nickel and dime? also seems to me that when you start doing a lot of hybrids or trying to disguise your scheme you are getting away from the stated desire of “simplification.”
      Can anyone else tell us what Wilson means?

      1. That’s a good question for the podcast. I’ll add it to the list for the Mailbag, and Brad and I will talk about it this week (podcast to be posted on Friday).

      2. It makes sense for a QB for sure, for example pocket passer vs. a mobile dual threat (yes I am being captain obvious here)
        To your point on D, it would be an interesting discussion as several coaches have made that comment, but it leaves me a little confused.
        Is it possible that this is reference to last year’s D and scheme that may have been asking too much of a player or position that led to ovethinking one’s role…?
        Look forward to Stuart’s podcast and interest in the matter.
        I love good amped up D play so have high hopes for them…

        1. I take scheme to mean the details of how the formation (3-4, nickel, dime, etc) is deployed. Each coach has a philosophy of how to utilize, say, a 3-4. What are each of the linebacker’s default duties? What reads does each key off of, do they have to know all of each others’ reads so they know if they will need to adjust based on a teammate’s assignment changing? Things like that are what I think of when I hear about simplifying the scheme, or adapting the scheme to the personnel.

          I also am wary of the coaches’ comments though. The criticism of it I have heard over time is that building a scheme around players means that things are changing each year or more, and an identity is hard to find, leading to success being hard to maintain.

  2. Morning.
    Moving day
    Gonna be fun to watch (ep. sorry)

    Shortage of oline and dline players. Sheesh it never ends. Oh ya wait till the fall when we get em all back. Okay I will.

    Spring showcase.
    Friday April 30,
    20 days. Hope I can go watch.
    Time is flying

    As stated. Got that good upbeat feeling.

    Defense is gonna be good. Talent and coaching
    Offense is gonna be ??? Coaching and talent

    Both sides say they making it “player friendly”

    Defense says they are making scheme changes.

    Offense says they are tweaking the scheme

    Be Boulder

    Note: Az who ya got? Did you have DJ?

        1. ep…………………………….a bit on the clueless side But DJ Mushroom is a music genuis.

          AZ……………………man did he bomb out. And had to be there to put the jacket on.

          Buffs.

          1. jacket? golf? zzzzzzzzzzzz
            call me clueless on purpose
            I did like TW’s perspective on the sartorial side….I paraphrase but it went something like white guys dressed up as black pimps

  3. my oxygen deprived mind sees the hole left by Mustafa Johnson as the biggest question mark on D.
    If there is a drop off in production at that spot one way to compensate might be making Barnes the outside LB opposite Wells. If he is speedy enough to be a safety he should be able to certainly provide a speedy pass rush. This of course is all dependent on Nate being back, the kid from ND )Lamb?), Mister Williams or Van Deist holding their own inside.
    QB pressure is the secondary’s best friend.

  4. “The whole thing about spring is you want to install your systems, ………….

    Please Chev tell me you have updated and modernized your system.

    Go Buffs

  5. Reading KD’s comments on Lewis:

    Lewis probably had the raw talent at the beginning of the season & but with no spring ball with limited fall camp too, hence being beaten out by Noyer who was the hot hand at the time too. Once Noyer was winning, along with the short season & it’s no wonder why we saw him playing; it’s hard to bench a QB that was winning.

    But, had the UT game been number 6 of 12 games we may have seen Lewis win the job or get it due to Sam being injured. And now with last season being a preseason for freshmen that played and not counting against eligibility, [we] wish Lewis had played some in the games they were ahead in; but at least Lewis seems to be able to build off that time he did play in the Alamo Bowl.

    I don’t think Sam is going to just give up the position after all he’s done to get there, so regardless who ever wins the race, they should be much improved by the fall.

    I’m looking forward to see how this plays out.

    1. So as usual I like to feel positive about the Mighty Buffs upcoming season this time of year.

      But why do I feel so positive about this really young team? I mean really positive. Why? What’s the difference from the last few years. The shrooms are from the same garden so that ain’t it. I just can’t figure it out. But it’s a really uplifting feeling.

      Damn, hurry September

      Upt the Buffalo

      1. Bludgeon N. CO all game long with Broussard as long as you give the QB. whoever it is, a little work in anticipation of the next game. I wont be setting myself up for disappointment with the kool aide right now until I see the Buffs REALLY mix it up on offense against A&M……..w/o chiken poop brain freeze in the red zone. Throw the entire playbook at em…..even draw some stuff up on the clipboard during the game if necessary. If it takes a mouth full of fresh shrooms to liberate Chev so be it.
        Until then shall I be uplifted

  6. Please, please, please…spend time running screens on offense, and thereby build reps for the defense. Last year could not execute a SINGLE screen on offense, and conversely we got gashed repeatedly on defense (going to blame the offense, for not being able to show the D a proper screen in practice).

  7. Yo Stuart,
    It’s great to see the guys start spring practices. It was really exciting to see the guys in their jerseys working out next to the Champions Center. Even seeing the workers moving around equipment for the workout was great.

    We’ve already been informed that campus should be back to normal this fall. I can’t wait. It’s been a rough year for all the students. I can’t tell you just how fondly I look back at my own college years and the traditional college experience we got to enjoy back in the day.

    Spring practices, I hope, are just the beginning of the return to normalcy on campus. Looking forward to also watching my Buffs in person if possible. It will be quite the celebratory event.

    Mark / Boulderdevil

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