Days one and two of the 2014 Colorado Buffaloes fall camp is in the books and thoughts, photos, and videos are starting to trickle in. I most likely won't be able to get to any of the practices, but I will try and do these roundups as often as I can. If any of you are going to camp and want to share your impressions please don't hesitate to shoot me an email.
Another player back from injury is defensive end Jimmie Gilbert. Despite having a lanky frame and a torn labrum in his shoulder, he showed flashes of potential as a true freshman, recording a sack against Central Arkansas and forcing a fumble at Arizona State. He was on the field for 261 defensive snaps last season.
Freshman offensive lineman Isaiah Holland is massive at 6-foot-5, 330 pounds. He probably isn't in the shape he needs to be but he looks like he could play today if needed. Shane Callahan obviously spent two years at Auburn and it's no surprise that he looks like he can help this program immediately. If he gets a waiver to play right away, I have to believe he will get on the field sooner rather than later.
"We're going to practice him as he learns everything, just practice him like he's getting ready to play," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "Right now, he's having to learn everything, so he's a little bit behind, but hopefully they'll clear him and he'll be ready to play. We'll look forward for the next two or three weeks, until we find out, like he's getting ready to play."
Smith was back on the field Saturday for the first time in almost a year. The senior defensive back from Paterson, N.J., elected to sit out the 2013 season and undergo corrective shoulder surgery. "It’s been a long time coming," said Smith, who dropped to 180 pounds after his surgery but now is back to 195. "I’ve been working hard and preparing myself this off season and getting my body right so I can go out and perform.
"I noticed it," sophomore middle linebacker Addison Gillam said of a difference in how the defense practiced at the start of camp. "It felt like everyone was playing more together, more as a unit and not really a bunch of individuals. Then everybody knew what they were doing for the most part. That was awesome not having to worry about if somebody was going to mess up."
"The fast-paced teams we play are bringing in waves of receivers," MacIntyre said, "and after running with receivers for two or three plays, guys get tired. "But if we move guys in and out and they're not tired, all of a sudden they can break on the ball instead of just tackle the receiver. Knocking one more pass away could mean all the difference in the world. That's where I've kind of evolved in my thinking."
Kyle Ringo Blog: Musings from Practice No. 2 - Buffzone - Tyler Henington and Markeis Reed were both banged up today.
Every year at this time, I generally find myself asking, 'Who is that?' and then consulting the roster when I notice a new guy who looks the part or one who makes a play or two in practice. I did that today with freshman safety Evan White. The secondary might be a bit crowded for White to earn much playing time on defense this season, and let's be honest, he's only had two practices in shorts and helmets, but I think CU fans will be happy this in-state recruit didn't get away.
Here's Tony Jones celebrating with teammates during this mornings practice.
MacIntyre said the next step for Liufau is to make decisions about where to go with the ball faster. He said he believes Liufau is making progress. MacIntyre said coaches want Liufau to get the ball out quickly, improve his accuracy and get the offense into the end zone more often when it reaches the red zone.
Sure, it's always nice to beat the in-state rival, but CU has a chance to get off to a fast start this season if it can defeat the Rams. With games against UMass, Hawaii and California scheduled among the first five of the season, the Buffs could realistically have as many as four wins by the end of September, and that would be a huge step toward earning six regular season wins to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2007.
Get To Know the 2014 Football Freshmen - CUBuffs.com - Official Athletics Web site of the University of Colorado - Getting to know the 20 new true freshmen recruiting to be part of the Colorado Buffaloes football team
"We need to play better on third downs, on both sides of the ball," MacIntyre said. "You just get two more first downs and all of a sudden you're going for the end zone one more time a game. That changes momentum."
Colorado, which is 4-23 in Pac-12 games since joining the conference in 2011, started construction on an $142 million upgrade to Folsom Field in May. The 173,000-square-foot addition will include an indoor football practice facility Gary Barnett was lobbying the athletic department for in 2001 when the Buffaloes won the Big 12.
"He had a great summer," Taylor said. "He really liked his visit to Colorado. (Colorado offensive line) Coach (Gary) Bernardi has seen him enough for three years to know what he can do. Brett has a combination of speed and quickness. He's a smart kid."
The University of Colorado is tacking on an additional $13 million to the cost of the $143 million athletic facilities upgrades on the Boulder campus because of poor soil conditions and high labor costs. That brings the total anticipated cost of the expansion and renovation project to $156 million.
10. Colorado (Stars: LB Addison Gillam, S Jered Bell, CB Greg Henderson) The Buffs actually had a better statistical defense than I thought in 2013 and they are making steps forward under Mike MacIntyre, but they are still the Buffs for now in my eyes and hard to put them ahead of too many teams.
Phil Steele - The official week one lines are out and the Buffs are a three-point favorite over Colorado State in Denver.
Where the conference has improved the most though is in the middle where a pack of programs like the Washington and Arizona schools and Oregon State are going to have some epic battles fighting over middle ground. Even the bottom dwellers are on the upswing, as I anticipate Cal and Colorado no longer being "gimme" games this year.
The national TV audience watching ESPN's live telecast from training camp Tuesday got to see exactly why the Seahawks drafted wide receiver Paul Richardson. The second-round pick from Colorado was the star of the day, once again displaying his blazing speed on two long touchdown receptions. The first one also proved that quarterback Terrelle Pryor has a big arm. He stepped up in the pocket and let it fly it 65 yards down the sideline to Richardson, who had cornerback Tharold Simon beat by six yards. The second one also was from Pryor in the back corner of the north end zone. The throw was a little late, but Richardson had beaten cornerback Phillip Adams so easily that Richardson had time to turn around and face the ball, waiting for it to arrive before Adams could get back to him.
He should be excited. Richardson not only gets deep, but catches the ball when it gets there, even if it’s in traffic. And he’s not just a burner, but has unleashed a couple open-field jukes that shows he can be elusive, as well.
The Denver Broncos have signed defensive linemen Cody Larsen and Will Pericak, the team announced Wednesday. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Pericak is a first-year player who spent time on San Diego's and Jacksonville's practice squads last season. The 24-year-old played college ball at the University of Colorado after being a highly touted linebacker at Boulder High School.
"The fact that Josh sits out a year, I think is a good thing … it will allow him time to grow and develop parts of his game that he needs to work on, and it will give him a year to get use to our system what we expect and what we’re all about," Boyle added.
"Year to year, I just tried to continue to put myself in situations where I could really showcase what I could do," Copeland said. "Some guys overseas, they would chase the largest checks. I was wanting to go to the situations that allowed me to play my game. That was a big thing. I think you're only as good as your situation. That's always been my motto."