Every college football team’s main goal during spring practices is to avoid any big injuries, especially to their star players.
University of Colorado’s biggest fear became a reality this morning as CU announced that star wide receiver Paul Richardson will be out for the entire 2012 season after tearing his ACL in practice yesterday.
Last season Richardson burst onto the national scene after having a career day against Cal (11 rec, 284 yds, 2 tds). From that point on the rest f the Pac-12 took notice and locked down Richardson, realizing that he was CU’s main offensive threat. Richardson only caught one more touchdown after that game and missed 4 games in the middle of last season due to a sprained knee. With that said, he was the go-to-guy last year and was looking to play the same role this season.
Richardson is arguably Colorado’s best player, at least their most explosive, and losing him for the season is a huge blow to an offense already lacking star power. There are a lot of questions on the offensive side of the ball; who will eventually start at quarterback, Connor Wood or Nick Hirschman? How will they replace the production lost from departed seniors Tyler Hansen, Rodney Stewart and Toney Clemons? Now the main question will be, who will step up and be the main receiver threat now that Richardson is gone for the season?
Two guys that played meaningful minutes last year that could step up are Tyler McCulloch and Keenan Canty. McCulloch is a 6-5, 205 lb sophomore who, at the beginning of last season, was the starting receiver as a freshmen and had a lot of upside. However, he had a tough time picking up the offense quick enough in Jon Embree’s eyes and his playing time dropped significantly. Canty is more of a slot receiver but he may be thrust into a larger role this next season and he has the speed to make a significant contribution.
The Buffs also have 3 incoming freshmen that might have to grow up real quick and play valuable minutes right away. Jeffrey Thomas, Peyton Williams and Gerald Thomas are the three highest rated recruits coming in next season for the Buffs. J. Thomas is the flashiest player coming in but all three should be able to compete for the third WR position on the depth chart.
Richardson’s injury is a tough pill for Embree to swallow as he is looking to bounce back after posting a 3-10 record last season in CU’s first season in the Pac-12. If he thought last season was bad, this season might be even worse unless one of the players mentioned above can make a significant contribution.