Saturday, August 13, 2016

CU Buffs Scrimmage (August 2016)

On a sunny August Saturday morning I attended the first hour of a CU Buffs football scrimmage. It had been several years since I've been to Boulder and Folsom Field.  I was impressed with the additions to the stadium (new scoreboards, new upgraded seating in the corner of the northeast endzone, and the nearby indoor practice facility)

The scrimmage started with several special teams drills.  Place kicker Diego Gonzalez was accurate in all of his field goal attempts.  He looks improved from last season where he made 18 of 29 field goal attempts.

Next head coach Mike MacIntyre divided the team into the offense (black jerseys with gold for the quarterbacks) and the defense (white jerseys).  MacIntyre yelled out the name of an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman to battle one on one while their teammates looked on.  The lineman who won the skirmish was cheered by the teammates on his side of the ball.

Overall MacIntyre was much more engaged in the scrimmage than ones I had attended by two previous CU head coaches (Jon Embree and Dan Hawkins).  MacIntyre was shouting encouragement throughout the scrimmage while he roamed the field.

Next the whole team observed one on one battles on the goal line.  Here Sefo Liufau attempted a pass to one of his receivers in a battle with a defensive back.  Liufau was off target this day, missing on several end zone fade patterns.  Redshirt Frosh Steve Montez fared better, connecting on tds in this drill with his receiver.  I think Liufau is still working on his timing after missing spring practice and much of last season due to injury.  Montez looked better than the highlights I saw of him from the spring game. 

Other players that stood out to me:

Tony Julmisse caught a long touchdown pass.  The Buffs aren't sure whether to put Julmisse on offense or defense yet.  He looked like an athlete to me who'll have an impact wherever the Buffs decide to play him.

Phillip Lindsey ran hard from the running back spot.

Ahkello Witherspoon had a nice interception on a long pass.

Whether the offense is improved this year depends on the quarterback play and the offensive line.  The receivers look solid and there are a number of talented running backs.  The defense always has the advantage in these earlier scrimmages and today was no exception, but I do think the defense will be much improved this year.

I wish I could have stayed for the whole scrimmage (I had an appointment in Boulder later that morning).  From others I heard that the fans were allowed on the field to mix with the players after the scrimmage was over.  I like that Mike MacIntyre has one open scrimmage like this for the fans in the Fall.  I understand why practices are closed as the team prepares for their big opener against CSU, but open scrimmages like this get the fans excited for the upcoming year and gives us an early preview of some of the new players (like Julmisse)