Practice Report -- April 4

The Buffaloes went through their third spring practices in as many days. Interim head coach Brian Cabral dubbed the session a "thud" practice, as players wore pads for the first time, but weren't allowed, per NCAA mandate, to fully tackle each other. "(You hit) high and hard and you run into each other, but you don't fall down," described the former linebacker. The big hitting will come tomorrow, however, in what Cabral called the team's first "real big test" of spring ball.

"It was very spirited. It went well," Cabral said of Sunday's three-hour practice. "We're heading in the right direction, and it's because of our players' attitudes."

Colorado started its spring practices later in the calendar than usual, in part to give the players a longer time for conditioning during the offseason. Cabral said the overall physical condition is good, as the Buffs pushed through some hotter-than-expected weather Sunday.

But tomorrow CU will be able to really see where they are, as the Buffs will go live for half the practice.

"We'll probably have a short scrimmage somewhere in there," Cabral said. "We'll have a live inside drill and do a short scrimmage. But it's a 50-percent tackle day."

NOTES

Barnett Takes in Practice CU head coach Gary Barnett, who was placed on administrative leave with pay in February through the end of April, observed practice Sunday. He is allowed to be at practice but not allowed to do any coaching or instruction.

Cabral said he thought the players appreciated Barnett's presence. He also speculated that it must be difficult for Barnett to watch his team go through drills but not be involved.

"I think the hardest thing for him is watching practice; watch these guys run around, and then not coach," Cabral said. "That's got to be really hard. But we appreciate him being out here when he can."

Injuries

Sophomore cornerback Terrence Wheatley was wearing a cast on his wrist that kept him out of some punt return drills, but Cabral said he didn't know of any significant sustained injuries through the first three days. That may change Monday as the contact becomes more aggressive.

"When you do more live tackling, there's more bodies on the ground and that's when your chances of injuries are higher," he said.

Ackermann in the Middle

CU corrected its depth chart Sunday, which had shown sophomore linebacker Jason Ackermann moving to buff linebacker. Ackermann is still playing weakside linebacker, where he's listed behind Akarika Dawn and Walter Boye-Doe. BSN learned that Boye-Doe had not returned from spring break early last week. He is still not back due to personal reasons. Cabral was emphatic on Wednesday when BSN contacted him that the sophomore from Dallas had not left the team, and the coaches were giving Boye-Doe some time to, hopefully, straighten out his situation and return to the fold. It's still unclear when and if that will happen. Those inside the program reiterated over the weekend that Boye-Doe's situation has nothing to do with the so-called scandal that's surrounded the team in recent months.

Visitors

A handful of high school players were on hand at Sunday's practice, watching the Buffs go through their drills, including Rangeview DE prospect Maurice Lucas, and Fort Collins High OL prospect Jon Cooper. Lucas is CU's lone commitment for the 2005 class so far.

Also visiting practice was CU Regent Pete Steinhauer.

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