BOULDER - For reasons ranging from a redshirt, to subpar academics, to conduct unbecoming a Buff, Markques Simas surely has been sitting long enough to have this all figured out.

He's been on campus since 2007, but hasn't yet played a down of meaningful football, hasn't caught a pass other than those lobbed his way in practice.

You walk away from a conversation with him hoping for his (and his team's) sake, that his latest words aren't idle ones, that he's finally got this drill down pat. And by now, if he doesn't, you wonder just what it might take for that to happen?

A big and talented wide out, Simas finally could see the field Saturday against Wyoming. Although CU's game-week depth chart still lists him as injured (slightly strained right MCL) and his head coach/position coach remains a little vague about his status, Simas promised on Monday he will play.

"I'm going to play; I will be playing, regardless," he said.

For an offense - actually, an entire team - needing to be jump-started, Simas believes he can hook up the cables and become a power source. Call him wildly ambitious, but he's confident enough in his untapped ability that right away he wants some of the responsibility in righting this season.

"We've been coming out too slow . . . it's like we've been waiting for somebody to make a play, instead of being that guy and saying, 'OK, I'm going to make this play,'" he said.

"We wait until we're down 20 points to get a sense of urgency and say, 'OK, let's turn it on.' We started slow at Toledo, but we started to pick up speed and find our identity and get a little charge going . . .

"A lot of people have said this and that . . . I've been hearing some things. Just to finally get out there and be able to play and help the Buffs get to a bowl game, the Big 12 championship - that's what I want to get done.

"I don't want to keep hearing, 'He could have been this, he could have been that.' I want to be that guy, I want to be one of the best receivers at Colorado."

Obviously, in his mostly self-imposed time away from the game, he has worked at making himself quotable. Or maybe it didn't require any work at all; his glibness has been there all along and obviously doesn't depend on playing time.

Ask him what he's learned about himself during his time in exile and he answers, "Just how hungry I am, that desire to play.

"Football's always been fun, but sitting out first two games (this season for a violation of team rules), knowing that I could have been playing, should have been playing, and seeing our offense hurt a little bit . . . it just made me realize that I need to mature and grow up and get it done. Definitely."

Sure, the Buffs can use him - provided he's ready. He's 6-feet-2, 215 pounds and athletic enough nearly to have become a scout team legend with catches made the past two seasons against the No. 1 defense.

He believes his teammates have noticed and they already have confidence in him: "They know I can play . . . they're not worried about me. It's just a fact of me getting on the field and me doing what they know I can do."

In anticipation of Simas' return last spring, quarterback Cody Hawkins recalled, "When you heard everybody from the scout team screaming, you'd know Markques made another great play. And that was an extremely frequent occurrence."

Former position coach Eric Kiesau, who now coordinates the offense and coaches the QBs, said in April he "never had a player who got so much attention on a scout team. His first year (2007), I had defensive coaches telling me how many incredible catches he made - one-handed, behind-the-back stuff. 

"That was encouraging, because it was against our starting defense. As a player, the sky's the limit for him. But for him, his success and his future is how he handles himself off the field. On the field, he's as gifted as they come. He just has to make sure he goes to class and takes care of business."

Simas assures that his business, all of it, has been properly addressed and there's a changed man about to suit up in a No. 6 jersey. He contends his responsibilities have been prioritized and he no longer shoves school and team behind what he calls "the extracurricular."

Of course, such assurances have been made before, but they had no substance or staying power. Now, though, he claims hard, hurtful lessons have been learned.

"I've definitely been through a lot of stuff . . . and it hurts," he said. "But I've definitely grown and learned a lot from everything that's happened to me. I'm just taking it as a learning curve and just doing the right things so history don't repeat itself and I don't have to sit out again.

"I'll be playing every Saturday, Friday, Thursday from here on out."

Even before the 2009 season began, Simas knew his wouldn't begin until Saturday. Coach Dan Hawkins, who supplanted Kiesau as receivers coach, suspended Simas for the Colorado State and Toledo games for violating a team rule.

Thus, Simas has "already played the Wyoming game about 10 times in my head . . . I was watching CSU and Toledo (on tape), but I started watching Wyoming months ago because I wanted to make sure I'm on it.

"I've been anticipating (returning); it's been rough. But I think I'm going to make up for it this season; that's the way I've been planning it and dreaming of it.

"It's going to be like a breath of fresh air, just because I've been sitting on the sideline saying I could be doing something this game for them.

"It's going to feel real good to beat somebody for a touchdown; I don't know who it might be, but somebody better come very prepared to play on Saturday."

Forget that nameless somebody; you only hope that whoever Markques Simas is victorious against Saturday starts with himself.

Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU