Saturday, April 2, 2011

Colorado Buffs Spring Football Practice

I attended the first hour of the scrimmage today. No pictures allowed inside - as you can see from the photo I took entering the practice fields it was a beautiful spring day. My impressions:

Senior Tyler Hansen looks really good - easily the best quarterback out there. He threw a beautiful deep touchdown pass to a streaking Paul Richardson up the sidelines. I was watching on the sidelines as the ball came sailing towards me - the ball was perfectly placed and Richardson showed good speed and hands on that play. Besides that pass Hansen was pretty much on target all scrimmage. The offense featured a number of short passes to the tight end and backs with some deep passes mixed in when Hansen was taking snaps.

Hansen better not get hurt as the other quarterbacks were not impressive. Nick Hirschman was throwing floaters, many of which were not accurate. "Keep it down or get off the field!!!" I heard a coach bark from the sidelines (probably qb coach Scherer) after one of Hirschman's errant throws. Hirschman looked better in pre-scrimmage work, but once the hitting started he was off. On another play he was stripped of the ball on a sack with the defense recovering. Junior college transfer Brent Burnette didn't pass much in the series I saw - the Buffs mostly worked on their running game that series.

In addition to the td catch Richardson was very impressive. He made a great one handed catch on another Hansen pass.

At RB Speedy was Speedy (Rodney Stewart looked good). One player I was not familiar with, Josh Ford, had a nice long run up the sidelines, showing good elusiveness and speed.

On defense none of the cornerbacks stood out. I saw Makin Pugh, Deji Olatoye, Jered Bell, and Hunter Harrison playing cornerback. On the roster sheet it said Harrison is ineligible for this year. Replacing two top corners will be a big priority for the Buffs this year. Conrad Obi and Eric Richter provide good size in the interior of the defensive line though I didn't think they were disruptive today.

I've attended a few scrimmages when Dan Hawkins was the coach and I could tell the culture has changed. Hawkins was pretty much a passive observer letting the assistants coach. New head coach Jon Embree gets into it. Embree was yelling at players throughout the scrimmage. "You are better than that, #22!!!" he barked on a goal line drill ( think that was directed at Arthur Jaffee). Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy was vocal, especially in goal line drills. When one of his backs scored he'd yell "go celebrate!!! go celebrate!!!" Playing with emotion is a high priority for Bieniemy. The other coach who was yelling alot was wide receiver coach Bobby Kennedy.

Overall, I thought the offense looked pretty good with Hansen at quarterback. No one stood out to me on defense though I was focusing more on the play of the quarterbacks, running backs,, and wide receivers. I feel good about this staff and I look forward to the days when they have better talent to work with. Before then the Buffs just better hope key players like Hansen and Richardson stay healthy.