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By: Associated Press
Sophomore Markques Simas has turned in back-to-back 100-yard receiving games.
Brooks: Patience (And More) Link Simas, Clemons
Release: November 18, 2009
By: B.G. Brooks, Contributing Editor
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BOULDER - Markques Simas has learned the value of patience; Toney Clemons still is discovering it.

There will come a time - spring practice first, then August camp, then the 2010 season - when they will be in the same huddle comparing notes, sharing information on routes and coverages.

For now, they must be content with a glance across practice fields - Simas running with Colorado's No. 1 offense, Clemons pulling scout team duty against CU's No. 1 defense.

"We salute each other after big plays from different sides of the field . . . I watch him when he touches the ball when I'm out of reps; he does the same thing - watches me," Clemons said.

As a scout team receiver - he's sitting out this season after transferring from Michigan - Clemons is making his mark just as Simas did. Simas just needed longer than anticipated (two seasons and two games), but upon finally entering the lineup he's receiving the same raves he did during scout team work.

Last Saturday at Iowa State, he caught seven passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. The previous week against Texas A&M, he made seven receptions for 135 yards. The consecutive 100-yard receiving games were the first at CU in a decade.

"These two games, compared to the first two I played in (after serving a suspension against Colorado State and Toledo), the tempo has slowed down for me and I definitely feel more comfortable and confident," Simas said.

"And Tyler (Hansen, quarterback) is doing a good job of making the reads and getting me the ball . . . he's coming to me in tough situations and that gives me a lot more confidence."

Their on-field rapport began to develop last season when both were scout teamers. "There were other guys, but he was the other man," Hansen said. "He was the guy to throw to.

"We're both Southern California guys (Hansen is from Murrietta, Simas from San Diego) and that little connection is starting to flourish into something special here."

Like Hansen, Clemons also can see Simas' confidence growing. Clemons called him a "real smooth, real smart" receiver: "He's got a natural feel for the game. He knows what his strengths are and how to get open; he knows where the windows are and can maximize his talent and ability. And he's a great route runner with enormous hands.

"He might be a first-year player, but he's really a vet and we hold him to those standards. He's not a young guy."

Neither is Clemons, who signed with Michigan in 2007 and played in 19 games as a freshman and sophomore (12 career catches, 106 yards). Recruiting services ranked both him and Simas among the nation's top 20 receivers three years ago, and mainly through on-line sites, Clemons claims to have gotten wind of Simas during the recruiting chase.

When Clemons arrived in Boulder last summer, they were almost like twin brothers waiting to be introduced. They're roughly the same size - Clemons is 6-foot-2, 205, Simas is 6-2, 215 - and are similar in personality and tastes.

"We're from different coasts (Clemons is from New Kensington, Pa.) and we didn't connect until we got here," Clemons said. "But I came through recruiting knowing about him and him about me. We kind of came together here in the center of the country.

"We've got a good chemistry; I liked him instantly. He was open and real likeable . . . just my kind of person who likes the same things - fashion, music, video games."

Simas' recent pair of breakthrough Saturdays left him with bittersweet feelings. He's overjoyed that he finally could contribute, yet bummed because he couldn't do it sooner.

"For me, there was a feeling out process when I stepped on the field against Wyoming (his first game back)," he said. "You can't compare practice to the games . . . and after taking that much time to get used to things, I feel like I could have jump-started the season a long time ago.

"A year ago when I was (academically) ineligible and we'd lose a big game, (teammates and coaches) said they felt the need for one guy to step up.  They'd give me this look . . . like letting me know they could have used me. I'm not saying we would have won any particular game, but we could have used somebody.

"I know I matured a lot, and missing another year hit home with me . . . I love football and I had it taken away from me for things that could have been avoided if I had the right mindset. I've settled down, slowed down and finally learned what's important. I'm focusing on those things and leaving everything else alone."

While Clemons sits out his transfer season and busies himself giving the Buffs' defense various "looks," he's also become a sounding board/energy source for Simas.

"He comes to me for encouragement, for the energy boost," Clemons said. "He knows I'm one of his biggest supporters. There are times I tell him, 'You've got to be a factor on this drive; you've got to make a play. We need a play, a spark' - and I think he feeds off of that."

Clemons is hoping at this time next November, CU will have found a receiving tandem that will have boosted the Buffs offense.

"I've definitely envisioned it," Clemons said. "I see the visions, so many weapons . . . guys like Simas, (Scotty) McKnight, (Jason) Espinoza and all the other guys in the mix.

"It's going to be a headache for Coach (Eric) Kiesau (offensive coordinator). How's he going to spread the ball around? We joke with him about that. We're all real competitive, so it's going to be interesting."

Until that happens , Simas finally is making the most of his turn while Clemons waits for his. As Simas now knows, patience pays.

Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU

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