August 15, 2006

True freshmen holding their own

Every college program would prefer to redshirt the majority of their freshman class. But scholarship limits, resulting in depth issues, can sometimes make this hard to achieve.

A new NCAA rule, which has been in place for two years now, has allowed true freshmen to take summer school and workout with the team, helping aid their transition to the college level.

"If they're ready, you play them," Coach Dan Hawkins said when asked his philosophy on playing true freshmen. "They sort of have to be ready in three categories, though. They obviously have to be physically ready to go, they've got to be mentally ready to go and they've got to be emotionally ready to go.

"It is very popular in this day and age to tell kids, 'Hey, you are going to come in here and start and you are going to make a splash'. That is always great in recruiting. And yes, every year we've always had a couple guys [that are ready]. Everyone is different in terms of how they handle the pressure, how much they actually know and whether they are physically able to hold up."

Several true freshmen have stood out on the practice fields so far during preseason camp.

"Demetrius [Sumler] had a really good practice this morning, looked really good," Hawkins said. "I think obviously all those defensive linemen will have an opportunity to do something [this season]. One, because of depth [issues on the defensive line] and also because of their talent.

"I think [Michael] Sipili probably has a little bit more of an edge at linebacker to play. Cha'pelle [Brown] has done a nice job, Jalil [Brown] has done a nice job, Scotty McKnight has done a nice job. So a lot of those guys have stepped up."

Five true freshmen saw action last season at Colorado. All were defensive players: Ben Burney, George Hypolite, Maurice Lucas, Gardner McKay and Marcus Burton.

Tuesday Practice Notes:

*** Offensive lineman Edwin Harrison, who is listed atop the depth chart at right tackle, "dinged up" his shoulder during Tuesday morning's practice. It is not thought to be too serious.

*** Thomas Perez was finally able to wear full pads on Tuesday morning. "[Perez] made one run that was pretty nice," Hawkins said. "[He] showed a little speed, showed a little vision." Due to NCAA rules, however, Perez was not able to practice in the afternoon. Players must practice five days before competing in two-a-days.

*** Walk-on tight end Brandon English is latest player to disappear from the roster. On Monday, it was announced that offensive lineman Zach Jones had quit the team and safety Tyrone Henderson was dismissed from the team for violation of team rules. With Jones and Henderson gone, a current walk-on on the team could potentially earn a scholarship this fall.

*** Cornerback Vance Washington has been limited during preseason camp while recovering from a torn ACL, which he suffered the first week of spring practices. "His rehab is coming along really well," Hawkins said. "He is definitely ahead of schedule. Before, he kind of thought he'd be ready by Big 12 time, he thought he'd be ready to go for Missouri. He thinks he is ready to go now but we have some tests we need to do before he goes [full speed]."

*** To the surprise of no one, Mason Crosby was one of 30 kickers named to the Lou Groza Preseason Watch List. He finished as the runner-up for the award last season by just six points to Oregon's Alexis Serna. Crosby nailed a 66-yard field goal during last Sunday's scrimmage.

*** The Buffaloes will practice just once on Wednesday, between 9:00-11:30 am.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!