POSTED: April 28, 2024

Spring Game Recap

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Spring Game Recap

Program Note … the CU at the Game Spring Game podcast will be available on the website late Sunday morning.  …

Coach Prime: “I love what we’re building in this locker room”

From Neill Woelk at … There were no surprises in Saturday’s rain-soaked Colorado Black and Gold Spring Game at Folsom Field, but it is safe to say there was also a not-so-subtle warning included for future opponents.

The Buffaloes’ offense promises to be very, very potent with quarterback Shedeur Sanders at the helm of new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur‘s scheme.

Not that the Buffs unveiled anything new. Shurmur earlier in the week promised to keep things vanilla Saturday and Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ team did exactly that. The Buffs ran just enough plays in a roughly hour-long scrimmage situation to give an announced crowd of 28,424 a taste of what next fall will hold.

But even that taste provided enough flavor to whet the appetite of CU fans who are anxious for their team to take the next step.

That next step, of course, would be a winning record in Colorado’s return to the Big 12 and a bowl game, which Coach Prime vowed the Buffs would achieve.

“This was just an opportunity for our fan base nationally to see us do some things,” Sanders said. “We kept everything really simplistic.”

The main takeaways from Saturday:

1. The talent level has again improved. Even though the Buffs saw a number of players exit via the portal over the last couple of weeks, the overall talent level of the roster has improved — and more improvement is on the way.

“The progress that we’ve made is another caliber of player that’s playing, a player that truly expects to go to the next level, meaning the NFL,” Coach Prime told the media. “They expect to be drafted Thursday, Friday or today in the NFL … These young men want to practice, they want to have each other’s back. They want the physicality, they want all the smoke, so to speak. I love what we’re building in this locker room.”

Sanders made it clear that any holes in the roster are quickly being filled. For instance, while CU’s running back situation was greatly limited Saturday because of departures and injuries, those vacancies have already been filled by commitments who will be in Boulder in time for summer workouts.

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Takeaways from the Spring Game: LaJohntay Wester a new star

From CUSportsReport … Offensively, the starting unit for the Buffs did a lot of the same things seen last season. They lined up in mostly 10 personnel with four receivers and a running back and ran mostly quick-game passes with a few downfield shots to FAU transfer LaJohntay Wester out of the slot. Shedeur Sanders found Wester on the first series for a 24-yard score in the back of the end zone, and the starters moved the ball efficiently for most of the afternoon.

On defense, new coordinator Robert Livingston didn’t reveal too much either, sticking to mostly four-man pressures with traditional cover-1 man coverages with some zone coverage mixed in. Overall, the day wasn’t too revealing on what the Buffs are going to do schematically this fall.

LaJohntay Wester is going to catch a lot of passes this fall

Despite the lack of flair offensively when it comes to the play calls, one man continued to stick out. Wester repeatedly got open against all types of coverages, and Shedeur Sanders found him over and over again down the field.

The Buffs looked for Wester at all three levels of the field, and Sanders also found him out of structure for a good gain on the left side. Shurmur also drew up a slot fade for Wester against man coverage, which was broken up by Herman Smith III.

“I’m not going to say he was featured, I’m going to say that was (Shedeur’s) reads,” Deion Sanders said afterwards. “Shedeur reads the defense, whatever they’re playing he makes the proper reads. He rarely misses reads. So Wester was the guy. One day it may be Jimmy (Horn), one play it may be Jimmy, it may be Travis (Hunter). You never know.”

In the end, Wester caught there passes for 66 yards and a score. The chemistry between Sanders and Wester is clearly already there after just a few months, and the two should connect on plenty of passes this fall.

Travis Hunter playing almost exclusively nickel

DB coach Kevin Mathis revealed a few weeks ago that Travis Hunter had been working in the slot as the Buffs’ nickelback this spring but that CU was going to play him in a few different spots. On Saturday, Preston Hodge and DJ McKinney got the start on the outside at corner, while Hunter worked almost exclusively at the nickel spot.

The benefits of that showed up immediately, as Hodge was phenomenal in man coverage on the outside and Hunter used his instincts, athleticism and physicality to make a few nice plays in the run game. McKinney also played well as the field corner.

After the game, coach Deion Sanders maintained that Hunter would continue to move around on defense and be used in multiple ways.

“Travis is gonna excel wherever you place him,” Sanders said. “He’s that kind of kid. he has that kind of character. He’s that kind of worker. He studies, he prepares, he loves the darn game of football. He loves to practice, he loves to play.”

Hodge also has experience in the slot from his time at Liberty, so the two could be interchangeable this fall.

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Spring Game stats … 

Shedeur Sanders completed 11-of-14 passes for 116 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions during the ’24 spring game. Travis Hunter caught four of those passes, and LaJohntay Wester had 66 yards and a score on three receptions. Linebacker Jeremiah Brown led the CU defense with seven tackles … 



Coach Prime post-game press conference … 

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsReport …

Quarterback Shedeur Sanders …

Newly minted scholarship running back Charlie Offerdahl … 

2 Replies to “Spring Game Recap”

  1. When Shedeur is in the offense can move the ball on the defense, but when the 2nd string is in the defense is better. Does this mean Shedeur is just that good and the defense is actually better than they look against Shedeur?


    Defense is not that good against any team’s 1st team?
    the 2nd string has a long ways to go?

    I guess you want to see each unit have their stars make a big play here and there, while both play somewhat consistently for most of the plays.

    I do think Shedeur is that good and the offensive line is improved, and I hope the defense is still a work in progress, learning as they go up against Shedeur and company.

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