Practice Report -- April 10

Official word of secondary coach Vance Joseph's departure did not reach interim head coach Brian Cabral until the end of practice Saturday. So Cabral had not had the chance to formally tell the Buffaloes players about Joseph having taken an assistant's job at Bowling Green. But many of the players suspected or knew of Joseph's situation prior to Saturday's practice, which took place outside despite the fact that it had snowed the night before.

Joseph was placed on administrative leave with pay for undisclosed reasons just prior to spring practices, and had not been at any of CU's sessions, which began April 2. BGSU officially announced Joseph's hiring Saturday.

Gregg Brandon, who was receivers coach at CU in 2000 during Joseph's final year as graduate assistant for the Buffs, said in a statement, "once you spend five minutes with Vance you realize that he is one of the top up and coming young coaches in our profession. Vance will be a great teacher for our defensive backs and his experience in recruiting in Michigan and the southern United States will be invaluable to our program. We believe that Vance is an outstanding addition to our staff."

In the same statement, Joseph said, "I'm extremely honored to be joining a program that finished in the Top 25 last year. The first thing you hear from people who are either working at BGSU or who have worked here is that this is an outstanding place to raise a family. The people in the University community that I met during this process have been genuine and sincere. This coaching staff has an outstanding reputation in the college football community and I look forward to being a part of that tradition."

Joseph played quarterback at CU from 1991-94. As a true freshman, he played in nine games, substituting for Darian Hagan, who, ironically, has been substituting for Joseph the past eight days, working with the cornerbacks in Joseph's absence.

Asked after practice about Joseph's departure, Cabral paused. Then he admitted he had mixed emotions about it.

"But if Vance feels that's what's best, then I'm going to support him," he said. "I was here when he was playing. So I watched him as a player and watched him bring our team back a couple of games when Hagan was down. I got to watch him grow up as a coach. Personally, I'm going to miss him."

Though the cornerbacks were not speaking to the media since word began filtering through the team days earlier about Joseph's departure, free safety J.J. Billingsley said, "We're sorry that he left and we wish him luck. It's hard to see him leave. He's a good coach. But we've got to move on."

In Joseph's absence, defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz has been in charge of the secondary. Without Joseph, the Buffs have had to make do on the defensive side of the ball. While Hagan has been helping at corner, former GA Lee Goldstein was hired for the spring practices, and has been helping with the defensive line, the position Chris Wilson oversees. CU was able to hire Goldstein because they were without head coach Gary Barnett, who was placed on indefinite administrative leave with pay on Feb. 18.

While it's not an ideal situation, Hankwitz said enough teaching is getting done on defense, where CU is installing a new 4-3 scheme.

"I've coached secondary in the past," Hankwitz said. "It's kind of a challenge for me to go back there. But we've adjusted and our coaches have filled in. We're getting everything taught, so I feel good about that. But we're sorry to see him leave and we wish him the best.

"We're just going to make the best of it."

Cabral said that the team would wait until after spring to hire another full-time assistant.

"We'll wait until Gary's situation is cleared up before we even think about doing anything," he said.

Barnett's situation hinges partly on the Independent Investigative Committee's findings, which were initially supposed to be rendered on April 30. However, the committee has asked for an extension in its quest to determine whether CU used sex and alcohol to recruit players.

Billingsley could be back Monday

Billingsley, who is making the move to free safety from strong safety this year, has been held out of practices this spring after undergoing minor knee surgery in late March. He said Saturday that he was told he may be able to practice as early as Monday.

"We'll see how I feel on Monday, and see if there's swelling or anything," he said.

No snow day

While Boulder was hit with several inches of snow overnight, the practice field was in better condition than it had been the day before. Field technicians removed the snow from the field, and players found better footing than during Friday's practice. Thus, the Buffs were able to put in a two-and-a-half hour workout. "I was concerned about the focus, but I think we came out on the positive side," Cabral said. "It was good, but I thought it could have been a little bit better."


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