While it is easy to over-analyze a scrimmage with second and third-stringers taking a bulk of the reps, the physical nature of the 108-play scrum did not disappoint.
“There were a lot of good hits out here. I like the physicalness of our football team,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said afterward. “I thought the overall effort and enthusiasm was good. There were plays made on both sides of the ball. I saw a lot of aggression.”
Tony Julmisse was flagged for a holding penalty but he continued to show his versatility by switching back and forth between receiver and safety. He also showed his explosiveness on a long 83 yard touchdown reception from Jordan Gehrke.
MacIntyre said they have yet to figure out exactly how the Florida product will be used this season, but confirmed Julmisse is expected to see action as a true freshman.
“It is hard to determine what his role will be because, as you can tell, he makes plays on both sides of the ball,” MacIntyre said. “He is definitely an athlete that we are going to find a way to get on the field at times, especially as the year goes along, no doubt.”
MacIntyre was also pleased with Diego Gonzalez's performance. He made all of his field-goal attempts on Saturday, including kicks from 40-yard, 38-yards and 22-yards out, as he continues to show improvement after an up-and-down 2015 season.
“I was trying to put pressure on his kicks and was yelling, 'Rush it, rush it! Block it, block it!' to try to mess with him and he handled it well,” MacIntyre said of Gonzalez. “He kicked the ball, really got it up, kicked it well.”
Ento catching on
Gehrke also connected on a 50-yard touchdown pass with Kabion Ento. A mid-year Junior College transfer from East Central Community College in Mississippi, Ento said being on campus at CU for spring practices was “huge” for his adjustment to Pac-12 football.
“In the spring I was just getting a feel for the offense and I had never played in a fast paced offense like this before, so sometimes the calls were difficult for me,” Ento said. “Now being adjusted, it calms me down. Now I can play relaxed and I can go out there and have fun.”
Ento has been practicing at both X-receiver and Z-receiver during camp. He will undoubtedly see the field in a back-up role this fall.
“I feel like my strength is definitely my length being 6-foot-3 and my jumping ability, being able to high-point balls,” he said. “I need to keep working on my routes, getting in and out of my breaks. It is all just a process of staying focused and trying to consistently make plays. I feel like I am on the right path as far as that goes.”
Kafovalu feels focused
Samson Kafovalu was reinstated for the beginning of camp, and he is not expected to miss any action this season as a result of his involvement in an off-the-field incident in April. Kafovalu did 40 hours of community service and completed alcohol treatment.
“Coach Mac[Intyre] and I came up with a plan to get my mind right, spiritually and emotionally,” Kafovalu shared. “The whole thing was trying to figure out what I want to be. I see things from a better perspective, my point of view is more clear to me now.
“I want to make a positive difference and go all out this year. … It is definitely a positive vibe when you get back with the team and feel that togetherness with the Buffs.”
Kafovalu and junior Leo Jackson are battling for the starting gig opposite Jordan Carrell on the defensive line. And regardless of who starts, the other will play significant snaps this season.
“We compete every day because we have a lot of depth on our defensive line now,” Kafovalu said. “There hasn't always been this much competition. It helps push us every play.”
Additional Saturday notes:
*** Junior College transfer Drew Lewis got a lot of reps at inside linebacker on Saturday and showed some flashes.
“He lined up wrong a few times when he got tired but he did fly around and make a couple pretty nice plays sideline-to-sideline,” MacIntyre said.
*** Redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Montez, who is battling for the back-up job, twisted his ankle midway through the scrum and did not return.
“He didn't act like it was anything serious,” MacIntyre said. “We just pulled him out and we'll get him ready to go Monday.”
*** In the secondary, senior cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon made an athletic interception on an under-thrown deep ball by Sefo Liufau, and junior Afolabi Laguda delivered some hard hits near the line of scrimmage playing in the nickel back role.
*** True freshman quarterback Sam Noyer is understandably behind-the-curve mentally, as he learns the offense and gets used to playing at a fast tempo, but he has shown a quick release and good accuracy during his first camp with the Buffaloes. He also moves well.