Overall: Solid energy and some good hitting going on. I think the coaching staff is doing a good job mixing in different situations through out to get players thinking what they would do on third and ten, etc. I was impressed with the kicking game today. Will Oliver, for the two hours I was there, only missed one field goal from 47 yards+. He was very accurate and I thought he did an excellent job. It would be great to have a consistent field goal kicker again.
Similar to the team staying in a hotel, the coaching staff continues to have some similar "NFL type" habits they are installing at Colorado. We heard before the scrimmage, some players would be on a "play count" limiting their time on the field as well as avoiding injury. From my perspective, it mostly applied to the defensive side of the ball, specifically DE Josh Hartigan, S Ray Polk, S Anthony Perkins, CB/S Travis Sandersfeld, LB Jon Major and LB Doug Rippy. Those players played the first couple of series and then were done for the day. Offensively, players like Rodney Stewart and Tyler Hansen played a lot. Interesting strategy, similar to holding out players for three quarters of a preseason game. Next scrimmage you can expect it to be less third and fourth team playing and more of the ones and twos.
At times, the offense looked good, at times the defense looked good. I've learned not to get too high and too low with intra-squad scrimmages because when who unit is doing good, the other isn't. We won't know until they strap it on against Hawaii September 3rd.
More after the jump...
Quarterback - Backup Nick Hirschman was injured (foot) so 6'4" 215 pound freshman John Schrock ran the twos. Tyler Hansen had his moments but also looked shaky at times. He missed a few big plays to Paul Richardson and Ryan Deehan but then would make some great throws. His two best crowd pleasing throws were to WR Logan Gray on a seam route for 30+ yards and to Paul Richardson on a double move crossing route for a sliding touchdown. The offense is always a little behind the defense at this point in camp so I expect timing to get better as we get closer to the season. Back to Schrock: for a freshman, I thought he handled the situation great and was very composed. He had a couple interceptions that weren't directly his fault but he made some solid throws to big WR Tyler McCulloch including a fade route for a score. I came away impressed considering his age.
Running backs - Although offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was up in the crane simulating calling plays from the booth, his voice could still be heard on the field and it was usually to challenge his running backs. Rodney Stewart ran with the ones and redshirt freshman Tony Jones ran with the twos. Jones had a fumble but still drew some praise throughout practice for his blocking and running. Bieniemy was on Stewart pretty good today for not hitting the hole hard enough. Stewart finally drew some praise from Bieniemy on a sweet touchdown run with a few moves that left the defense falling over. Bottom line, we will be fine at running back with Stewart and Jones looks to be a guy who can take a few snaps from Speedy.
Offensive line - Always room for improvement and until the coaches watch film, hard to evaluate their play. They gave up some sacks but opened up some nice holes as well. They were rotating centers with Daniel Munyer, Brad Cotner and Gus Handler.
Wide Receivers - Paul Richardson is probably the most talented player on the offensive side of the ball. He had two touchdown receptions. I still think Hansen and Richardson's timing can be improved. Hansen missed Richardson on a few fly routes down the sideline. Toney Clemons still has the tendency to disappear at times. He hardly catches a ball more than ten yards down field. Logan Gray had a nice reception today with the first team. True freshman Tyler McCulloch is still having an impressive camp. He caught a touchdown from Schrock and got some action with the first team. True freshman Nelson Spruce caught a touchdown as well which was nice to see. It looks like the number three receiver is still up for grabs but Gray and McCulloch look like two guys who will be in the running.
Tight Ends - Ryan Deehan and DaVaughn Thornton certainly have an increased role in this offense and should be in the top five for receptions when the year is complete. Deehan had some nice grabs today. He is good about using his body to shield the defender and has solid hands.
Defensive Line - DT Conrad Obi still looks great. He is getting in the backfield and looks to be tough to handle in the middle. It looks like the defensive tackle position will be a heavy rotation between Will Pericak, Curtis Cunnigham and Obi. Nick Kasa started at right end in Chidera Uzo-Diribe's absence due to injury. Kasa also played a little defensive tackle. I enjoyed watching defensive line coaches Mike Tuiasosopo and Kanavis McGhee. They are pretty demanding and vocal. With defensive end Josh Hartigan on a limited play count, true freshmen Juda Parker and Stephane Nembot saw a lot of action. My guess is Juda Parker will see game time this year. I like the way he plays. With Nembot, he still needs to learn technique but if he does, he could be a good one.
Linebackers - With starting linebackers Doug Rippy and Jon Major seeing limited action, players like Derrick Webb, Liloa Nobriga and true freshman Brady Daigh saw a lot of action. Daigh was on the second team after Jon Major, Doug Rippy and Derrick Webb. Daigh played a lot and made some good plays. He isn't afraid to stick his nose in there and make a hit. The future looks good for him. Derrick Webb had some good moments as well. He had a missed tackle that led to a big run but also showed good range.
Cornerback - the first two corners on the field were sophomore Paul Vigo and true freshman Greg Henderson. I thought Henderson held his own out there and came away impressed. He played physical against the first team receivers. Tyler Sandersfield, Arthur Jaffee and Deji Olatoye also saw significant action with the first and second teams. Two of those five players should be the starters against Hawaii come September 3rd. Markiri Pugh and Josh Moten, both had interceptions, but mostly saw action with the third teams. To me, the defensive backs looked much better compared to spring and even the first weekend of practice.
Safety - With starting safeties Ray Polk and Anthony Perkins on limited playing time, sophomore Terrel Smith, true freshman Will Harlos and true freshman Kyle Washington saw a ton of action. All young and all made mistakes but all three can hit. Washington really stood out to me, he is much bigger than you would think and was getting some attention from Jon Embree.