The University of Colorado today announced scheduling news, coaching changes and personnel moves that cleared many rumors and discussions up; sort of. The main news centered around the three scholarship players leaving the program in Sr. G Devin Head, Jr. WR Josh Smith and RFr TE Ryan Wallace. The departure of Josh Smith and Ryan Wallace was confirmed, two days after the Saturday night release that caused a shock through the Buff faithful. Supposedly Smith is only leaving to pursue his music interests and Ryan Wallace is leaving to be closer to home in Kentucky. Read Saturday's post for thoughts on all of this.
The new player departing the team is senior guard Devin Head due to being academically ineligible. Head participated in 663 plays in 11 total games last season and started 17 games over his career. Head was suspended for the Eastern Washington game in '08 for an off the field incident. He would have been in a battle with at least five players for the remaining left guard spot in 2009 judging by the results of spring ball. Head was the only returning senior on the offensive line and was one of the few remaining Gary Barnett recruits from 2005.
Devin Head and Josh Smith are both good players, both had starting roles on this team but in regards to Head, he is part of an offensive line unit that is deep. What hurts most about Head is he was a senior, had experience and may have been a solidifying guy in the locker room. With the departure of Head, their are now only three seniors who will probably play significant roles in the 2009 offense: TE Patrick DeVenny, TE Riar Geer and FB Jake Behrens.
As for Smith, different story. He is a playmaker and is part of a unit that is thin. Regardless of his wide receiver production in years past, he was one of the strongest playmakers on the team and figured to play a key role if the Buffs were going to make the jump in 2009. Not saying the Buffs won’t win without Smith but his maturation and growth would have helped immensely this upcoming year all things considered.
One thing that should not be forgotten is how Head's departure will affect the Buffs APR academic progress. Since he left ineligible, that will have a negative impact on the NCAA sanctioned score. Coupled with the release of LB Lynn Katoa (also leaving ineligible), it seems the Buffs will lose some scholarships next year. We have talked about this a lot on this site but if this is the case and sanctions are on the horizon, hopefully the Buffs are proactive and self-impose penalties this year since the team is 7 scholarship players short of 85 by my count. I count 36 scholarship players on offense, 37 on defense including incoming freshmen and 5 special teamers. I will publish my list tomorrow.
The departure of FB Matt Burgner (walkon) also means the Buffs will have not have a fullback on the roster in 2010, causing concern if the Buffs use a two back set for the foreseeable future. Alex Wood of Steamboat Springs, a 2009 walkon, might be a good option for this position but he is currently listed as a tight end, another position that the Buffs will be extremely thin at after the 2009 season. So. Ryan Deehan and true freshman DeVaughn Thornton will be the only two scholarship players on the roster in 2010 that are currently known about.
Hopefully this is the end of the line for personnel moves off the current roster.
Onto the coaching moves. Dan Hawkins announced he would be coaching the wide receivers, an extremely important task considering the current situation. Hawkins will be in charge of getting Andre Simmons, Terdema Ussery and Jarrod Darden, all newcomers, ready to play immediately when they first step on the Colorado campus. He will also have the task of motivating Markques Simas to be a All Big 12 player for the Buffs in 2009. He also announced that Ashley Ambrose will be taking over the wide receiver coaching responsibilities in 2010, something that was important to state for recruiting purposes. Ambrose will be learning on the job this year as he just recently joined the Colorado staff last year. Dan Hawkins also brought on his mentor, 68 year old Bob Foster, to coach the outside linebackers. Research will have to be done on Foster as I know little about him. Foster will only stay on staff for a year. It's always interesting in Buff land. Not every day do you hear the head coach will coach the wide receivers and he then hires a 68 year old mentor for one year.
As we wrote about earlier today, the first three games of the 2009 were scheduled. The Buffs will open up against Colorado State in Boulder
Saturday Sunday, Sept 6th 5:00pm on FSN. Just five days later the Buffs will travel to Toledo, Ohio to play in a Friday night game at 7:00 pm on ESPN, leaving the Buffs very little time to recover from their first game and prepare for Toledo (and travel to Toledo, a MAC school. Bad scheduling all around here). Colorado will then host Wyoming Saturday, Sept 19 1:30 pm. It does not look to be televised.