BOULDER – Last weekend, Colorado struggled to slow down the UCLA passing game and to get those explosive open-field runs in the ground game without the presence of cornerback Kenneth Crawley and running back Michael Adkins II.
The good news this week is the team is one step closer to solving those issues as both players inch toward a return to the field.
Adkins suffered a concussion in CU’s 44-20 loss to Arizona two weeks ago and was held out of last Saturday’s game for precautionary reasons. He has since resumed practice activities, and if he continues to progress, he is expected to play at Washington on Saturday (6 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks).
“He did good today,” coach Mike MacIntyre said following Wednesday’s practice. “We’ll find out how he feels (Thursday), but he did good today. He’ll be cleared if he keeps progressing so we’ll know more when he meets with the doctors again.”
Without Adkins the running game managed to be effective against a solid UCLA defense in CU’s 45-23 loss. But, all of that effectiveness could not help the Buffs overcome the lack of the game-breaking potential that Adkins consistently offers. The team did gain 143 rushing yards in the game but averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.
Crawley suffered a sprained ankle in last Thursday’s practice and rather than risk re-injuring it, he has been limited in the days since. MacIntyre is hopeful but cautiously optimistic that Crawley may return by Saturday.
“I don’t know (if he’ll play) yet,” said MacIntyre. “He’s been alternating and seeing how it feels but we just have to make sure he doesn’t have any setbacks.”
In Crawley’s absence, the secondary allowed UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley to complete nearly 80 percent of his passes. Crawley’s 25 unassisted tackles and six third down stops make him a vital cog in pass coverage, and the return of the speedy, hard-nosed cornerback will do nothing but improve CU’s chances against UW.
The Buffs are 3-5 overall and 0-5 in the Pac-12 Conference, while the Huskies are 5-3, 2-3.