BOULDER - Three linemen absent from practice last week and beyond all returned to the field Tuesday as the Buffs completed their first practice during the squad's bye week. Bryce Givens, Nick Kasa and Max Tuioti-Mariner all hit the field Tuesday after extended absences.
Givens, who started at right tackle the first two games of the season, missed practice last week and did not dress for the Wyoming game due to a personal matter.
When asked after practice about Givens, CU coach Dan Hawkins said he looked "OK." After initially saying "we'll see" after being asked when a decision will be made about Givens coming back, Hawkins followed up by saying "he'll go."
Kasa, a true freshman defensive end who defensive line coach Romeo Bandison said was picking up the defense quickly prior to his injury, has missed practice since injuring his knee on August 17. He did not need to have surgery, however, and saw the field for the first time in just over a month Tuesday.
"It felt good to get out there," Kasa said after the practice. "I'm not nearly 100 percent. We'll see how it progresses and what the best course of action will be as I get back into it a little bit more."
Tuioti-Mariner, who started one game and saw action in three in 2008 on the offensive line before suffering an ACL tear in his right knee, tore the ACL in his left knee during off season conditioning drills on March 3. Tuioti-Mariner also injured his left knee his senior year of high school.
"We'll see how I progress as I get back out there," Tuioti-Mariner said. "I definitely don't want to rush things. But it feels good. If the coaches and doctors think I need to redshirt, that's what I'll do."
Tuioti-Mariner briefly contemplated embarking on his two-year Mormon mission earlier this fall, in part to allow his damaged knees to get healthy. After prolonged back-and-forth discussions with his family, he decided to scrap that plan and stay in Boulder. One reason Tuioti-Mariner cited for the decision was that he potentially would have lost contact with a lot of his teammates when he returned in 2011.
Tuioti-Mariner was granted a medical hardship season in 2008, meaning he could still redshirt the 2009 season and be a freshman eligibility-wise in 2010.
Hawkins said the Buffs got a good day of work in Tuesday as a cold front came in and produced some drizzly conditions for the first time this fall.
After being asked how hard it is for a wide receiver to come into the program and contribute right away, Hawkins explained that, "there's a lot that goes into it. Even if you try to use them only in certain situations, if we just had them line up in the same formation on the same side of the field every time, there's still adjustments based on coverages and audibles. Then it's a matter of making it not-mechanical where a guy is not a second behind."
He did say that both Andre Simmons and Anthony Wright are "getting there. They're both doing a good job."
Practice resumes Wednesday for the Buffs during their bye week. CU will travel to face West Virginia a week from Thursday on ESPN. This is the first season in CU history the Buffs will travel to the eastern time zone twice prior to conference play.