BOULDER, Colo. --The wait is over. On Monday morning, the Buffaloes officially began preparation for the 2006 season on the practice fields. The first four practices are split into two sessions, with the newcomers practicing in the morning between 9:45-11:45 and the veterans practicing at 6:00 pm.
Was head coach Dan Hawkins excited to get preseason camp underway? "Very, very [excited]," he expressed. "It's great to get out here and actually kind of do your job.
"I thought they ran around pretty good," Hawkins added in regards to the morning practice session with the newcomers. "It's tough because they have to do a lot. We'll have the older guys out here this afternoon but they're getting the hang of it."
Although the day's first practice session is designated for newcomers, a number of returning players also practiced this morning.
Among the returning players that practiced this morning: Running back Kevin Moyd, wide receiver Jarrell Yates, cornerback Gardner McKay, linebacker Marcus Burton, offensive lineman Jack Tipton, linebacker Ben Carpenter, safety Joel Adams, linebacker Maurice Cantrell, wide receiver Cody Crawford, offensive lineman Jack Tipton, Jeremy Hauck and kicker/punter Isaac Garden.
"We obviously are not going to have enough new guys to get a full, complete practice in," Hawkins said. "So it's good to have a few veterans that kind of know what is going on and know how to practice. You also get a little bit of leadership out of them, too."
Summer school also kept a few of the true freshmen from the practice fields this morning. Offensive lineman Wes Palazzi, tight end Steven Fendry and defensive back Jimmy Smith all faced scheduling conflicts and did not practice.
Cody's arm gets a workout
After watching from the sidelines this spring, Cody Hawkins was finally able to participate in the drills. The true freshman was the only quarterback taking reps in practice this morning.
"Probably come Thursday, he'll be ready to drop dead," joked Coach Hawkins. "Hopefully we get the shotgun in by then so he doesn't have to take all those drops. His arm will probably be dragging a little bit."
Coach Hawkins downplayed the fact that Cody is his son. "I told all the quarterbacks yesterday, I said, "Guys this is too big a deal. Nobody is going to play because they are somebody's kid'," Hawkins expressed. "We all have to sit down and figure out who the best guy is here."
Who is the best quarterback on the campus now? That will be the main storyline of the afternoon practice. Bernard Jackson, Brian White and James Cox are all battling for the starting position.
"I told those guys yesterday that we are looking for somebody to emerge right now," Hawkins said of the quarterback battle. "This isn't a deal where we necessarily want to sit back for two weeks and declare somebody. We have to get somebody going right away."
Transfers and walk-ons
In addition to the 2006 signing class, the Buffs have welcomed seven walk-ons and two transfers. Fullback Quinn Hendel transferred in from Iowa State and linebacker Jake Duren has transferred to CU after a year at Northern Colorado. Both are sophomores.
Duren was the Rocky Mountain News Defensive Player of the Year at Mullen High back in 2004. He racked up 211 tackles as a senior. Colorado and Boise State were two of the D-1A programs that had recruited Duren out of high school but his only scholarship offer came from UNC.
Hendel played his high school football at Wayzata High in Plymouth, Minn. He attended a summer camp at CU prior to his senior season.
The list of walk-ons includes wide receiver Scott McKnight (Coto de Caza, Calif.), offensive guard Ian Assael (Hewlett, N.Y.), running back Corey Nabors (Aurora, Colo.), offensive guard Keenan Stevens (Monument, Colo.), outside linebacker Blake Whitcomb (San Diego, Calif.), wide receiver Cameron Ham (Haxtun, Colo.) and wide receiver Michael Lambesis.
*** Junior College transfer Thomas Perez, who is expected to battle for significant carries at running back this fall, was unable to practice on Monday morning. After some delay with getting his transcript from Compton Community College, Perez has yet to be cleared. "But we don't anticipate any problems," Hawkins added.
*** It became known on Sunday that Sherman Lang will attend Butler Community College this fall. The wide receiver from Melbourne, Fla., was one of the Buffaloes' top ranked signees from the Class of 2006. "Definitely, we definitely want him back," Hawkins said when asked if CU will try to sign him again.
** The practice schedule remains the same through Thursday, with the newcomers practicing in the morning and the veterans practicing late afternoon. Friday's practice between 4-6:30 pm will be the first in pads and will also be the first time the newcomers and veterans will practice together.
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