BOULDER—The University of Colorado football team officially started spring practices Tuesday afternoon, when they took the field in the practice bubble. The Buffs weren’t in pads, choosing rather to practice in shorts, jerseys and helmets.
“I like our attitude right now,” head coach Dan Hawkins said. “I love our guys, I love what we did in the weight room, Coach Pit (head strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman) did a great job over the winter. We’re bigger, faster and stronger again. I sense that we have more swagger and more confidence.”
There were a few things that were noticeable changes from last season. First, a select group of student-athletes who meet a certain set of high standards will have a handful of special privileges this season; one of which is the option to wear a helmet visor. Some of the guys who are taking advantage of this new opportunity are Cody Hawkins, Scotty McKnight, Demetrius Sumler and Rodney “Speedy” Stewart. Additionally, Speedy joins Matt Ballenger as players who chose to change jersey numbers as Stewart moved from No. 43 to No. 5 and Ballenger switched from No. 16 to No. 4.
Tuesday was also the first day that the coaches and quarterbacks were able to use their new helmet cameras. They only used them for a few select drills, but both the coaching staff and the quarterbacks were anxious to see how they worked and whether or not they are going to help with the quarterbacks improving their field vision.
“The thing I need to work on the most isn’t so much my knowledge of the playbook, but manipulating defenses,” junior quarterback Cody Hawkins said. “Working with the helmet cam, I might know that this is my read, but say it is third-and-eight and we have to get eight yards, I need to try and move the defense and find the weaknesses rather than just going through my reads.”
Overall, the mood among the players was one of excitement as they are finally able to get back on the field. Numerous players said they have Friday circled on their calendar because it will be their first day they can suit up in pads and finally get to hit. The Buffs have Wednesday off from practices; the next time CU practices will be Thursday April 2 at 4:00 p.m.