BOULDER - The Mike MacIntyre Era at the University of Colorado officially hit the ground Thursday ... well, the practice fields would be more accurate ... as 101 players ushered in the start of spring football drills, the first practice for CU's 25th full-time head football coach.
MacIntyre was named head coach last December 10 and hired a complete new staff, and they put their new players through a productive first session where no doubt they learned a lot from finally seeing the players practice, and in return, the players learned what the coaches expected from them.
"A good first day, we got a lot of good work in," MacIntyre said. "They were running, no, flying around out there. I thought the players had a good grasp, a good understanding of what we wanted them to do."
MacIntyre on many occasions has said what he learned from his four years he spent as an assistant to the legendary Bill Parcells, first and foremost how to organize and run a practice. That was evident on paper (see attached PDF of the practice schedule) as well as on the field.
Junior wide receiver Paul Richardson is almost all the way from a torn ACL he suffered in spring practice almost 11 months to the day. Though he participated on a limited basis toward the end of last season and even flirted with trying to come back at one point, Thursday was the first day he was doing just about everything he could, from running deep routes and making over the shoulder catches to fielding punts.
"It was fun," he said with a big grin on his face. "It was a great practice. Of course we had some issues here and there being the first one, and being the first with all the new coaches, but you work off that rust and get yourself into synch. It was pretty smooth overall."
"It was exciting to get out with the new coaches to see what they were like on the field," senior linebacker Derrick Webb said. "We've been working with them for two months in a lot of other ways, but the way you really get to know your coach is to see how they coach you in practice.
"Today went well," he continued. "We were able to start learning some of the new concepts, and also polishing up on some things we already knew." Webb estimated at least half of what they were practicing was all new material and schemes.
NOTES: Several area coaches were in attendance, including the staff from CSU-Pueblo, many of whom are former Buffs: head coach John Wristen (one time assistant coach), Donnell Leomiti, Paul Creighton and Bernard Jackson, all former players who are now Wristen assistants ... Former defensive end Josh Hartigan (class of '11) also dropped by to introduce himself to MacIntyre; he has designs on trying to play in the Canadian Football League, and has already spoken with former CU head coach Dan Hawkins, who last month was named head coach of the Montreal Alouettes ... Redshirt freshman tailback Davien Payne has been suspended from all football-related team activities. MacIntyre said the indefinite suspension was for violating team and university policy but did indicate it had nothing to do with law enforcement ... The coaching staff took timeout for a quick dinner but then met as a group Thursday evening to evaluate their first practice ... Spring practice No. 2 will be Friday, roughly 3:45-6:15 at the lower practice fields just north of Boulder Creek; it is open to the public.