A week of coaches workouts, 15 practices and two intrasquad scrimmages made up the University of Colorado’s spring practices and it will culminate with the annual spring game tomorrow evening at Folsom Field.
A lot of questions still exist for head coach Jon Embree and the rest of the Buffs but hopefully the spring game can help answer some of those questions. It will also be the first time any CU fans will get a chance to see the 2012 Buffs in action since all of the practices were closed to the public.
Spring practices came to an end on Thursday and it caps off a tough week, especially on the injury front. Huge loss on the offensive side of the ball as Star WR Paul Richardson was lost for the year after tearing his ACL. Before practices even began this spring, QB Nick Hirschman broke his foot during preseason workouts and won’t be able to return until fall camp. The rest of the injury list includes cornerback Jered Bell (knee), defensive tackle Nate Bonsu (shoulder), tailback Malcolm Creer (knee), linebacker Doug Rippy (knee) and defensive back Patrick Orms (hamstring). This leaves the defensive backfield rather thin so walk-on freshmen Brandon Brisco and Harrison Hunter will be the starters going into tomorrows scrimmage.
The spring game is set up like this: 30 live scrimmage plays, 20 snaps of 7-on-7 and some red zone and special teams drills. Embree told the Denver Post that the main thing he wants to get out of the spring game is to come out of it as healthy as they went into it.
Things to watch:
-Connor Wood: It will be the first time Buff fans will get a look at Wood in game action after the Texas Longhorns transfer sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules. He ran the scout team last year but has received all of the first team reps since Hirschman could not practice due to his injured foot. It’s the first time Wood has taken solo first team reps since high school and he’s taken full advantage of it. Until Hirschman returns in the fall, it’s Woods’ job to lose and we will see how he plays tomorrow.
-Linebackers: Right now the leader of the linebacker unit, Doug Rippy, is still out while rehabbing from a season ending knee injury that he suffered last year. Kyle Washington moves from safety to linebacker to help fill that void and has impressed linebacker coach Brian Cabral with his physical play. He still has some work to do as far as play recognition now that he’s closer to the line of scrimmage but that will come in time. Jon Major has moved around to each linebacker position this spring and has taken over as the leader of the backers. They still need to get better at defending the run and that’s something they will work on in tomorrow’s game.
-Wide Receivers: Now with Paul Richardson gone for the season it is time for the younger guys to step up. Tyler McCulloch, Keenan Canty and Nelson Spruce are the returning players that will see more playing time in P-Rich’s absence. With 3 incoming freshmen receivers arriving in the fall, this is the last chance they have to impress Embree and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy before they have more competition to deal with.
CU has made a concerted effort to draw more attention to the spring game and holding it later in the evening is something the Embree decided to change in order to do that. Hopefully a lot of fans will come out and get their first look at the 2012 Colorado Buffaloes who hope to ride the momentum of their finish from the end of last season into this next season.