"He's done a nice job blocking; he's understanding leverage and he's using his hands," Wristen said.
Wristen's No. 1 goal for the unit coming into spring was to play with more physicality. Klopfenstein said that's been their focus, and it's paying off.
"I've become a lot more physical than last year," Klopfenstein said. " I'm blocking people a lot better. I'm a little heavier now, and know the offense better. I'm more mature, I guess."
He also had positive things to say about the other tight ends, including senior Quinn Sypniewski, who gained a medical redshirt year after missing most of last season with a lingering toe injury.
"He's getting right back into it and hasn't missed a step," Klopfenstein said.
Wristen said Sypniewski has improved his upper body strength over the recent months, and that "his pass-catching has gotten a lot better" – an aspect of Sypniewski's game that had suffered in the past.
Klopfenstein also said senior Jesse Wallace has looked good running his pass routes.
Wristen said that overall, "We've gotten stronger, and we've been more physical at the point of attack. We need to continue to improve there, but we're making great strides."
Sanders on the move
Joe Sanders starred on both sides of the ball – tight end and linebacker – at Nashville's Hillsboro High before coming to CU last fall. He redshirted last season, recovering from a summer shoulder surgery, and had been slated to be in the mix at tight end this spring. But on Monday, Sanders was moved to linebacker to help shore up the position thin on depth.
"We have pretty good depth at tight end and we think we have a need at linebacker," said defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz. "We liked what he did in his high school video. We've been pleased. We think he's shown some good instinct. We worked him at the mike but those two (mike and will) will be interchangeable."
Hankwitz said Sanders is a little bit behind because he jumped to the position in the middle of drills, but reiterated that he's liked what he's seen from 6-4, 225-pound Sanders.
The move may not be permanent. But with three scholarship tight ends playing well, and the possibility of linebacker Walter Boye-Doe – who has not been in school since spring break for personal reasons – not returning, coaches thought the move could help. That didn't mean tight ends coach John Wristen was happy to see his redshirt freshman tight end move over to the other side of the ball.
"I was so mad," Wristen said, laughing. "I didn't want to give him up."
Scrimmage on tap
The Buffs will conduct a 100 play scrimmage Saturday morning at Folsom Field. The scrum is open to the media, but not to the public.
After two "light" practices Wednesday and Friday, interim head coach Brian Cabral said he expects "a big day tomorrow." As they have been doing in scrimmage situations all spring, the Buffs will go ones vs. ones, twos vs. twos on Saturday.
Linebacker Chris Hollis may miss the scrimmage. He's been bothered by a stress fracture in his foot, and will need to have it repaired following spring ball, Cabral said. Cabral didn't expect any of the three wide receivers who are nursing injuries – Tyler Littlehales (back), Blake Mackey (foot) and Stephone Robinson (hamstring) – to participate Saturday. Likewise, running back Brian Calhoun will not be back until Monday at the earliest.
The Buffs have slowly been implementing more wrinkles in their new 4-3 defense and Hankwitz said Saturday's go will help determine how much of the new information the Buffs have taken in.
"We'll see where we're at from a learning standpoint because when they get out there on their own it shows you how much of what we've taught they've absorbed," he said. "In a game a guy has to be able to think on his feet and be able to execute. This will simulate a game."
Sophomore Tyrone Henderson has been playing well as of late and is squarely in the mix at safety. Hankwitz said eventually the players playing the strong and free safety spots will be interchangeable, and able to play either position.
"We've had excellent competition with Dominique (Brooks) and Tyrone, J.J. (Billingsley), Chris Russell and Tom Hubbard," Hankwitz said. " It's going to give us good depth. I told them just because you're lining up at strong right now or at free right now doesn't mean you're going to end up there. We're going to find the best two guys."
Twelve mothers of CU football players met for an hour each with CU president Betsy Hoffman and liaison to the athletic department John DiBiaggio on Friday. They released the following statement later to the media:
As mothers of University of Colorado football players, we have come together today to tell you about the devastating impact the accusations regarding the football program have had on our sons and many other honorable people associated with the program. Every person associated with the football program has been grouped together as "guilty until proven innocent", and their personal lives and reputations have been forever altered. The entire team has received many hate e-mails and negative comments and this has followed them into the classroom and even outside the University.
Through this entire process, our roles as parents have been tarnished by the panel . The implication through the work of this committee has been that we have raised sons who do not respect, do not value, and do not understand the feelings of women, and that we willingly and knowingly placed them among a coaching staff without integrity or a moral compass. This is completely false! It insults us to the core of our being. The role models and mentors that surround our sons are an important factor in their development as young men. The University of Colorado football program, teaches and demonstrates dedication, discipline, loyalty and commitment. Our sons' lives and futures are at stake here!
While we take these allegations extremely seriously, we think it must always be remembered that nothing has been proven and no charges have ever been filed in any of these cases. It does appear as though certain individuals, with agendas of their own, are driven to try these cases in the court of public opinion, because they lack the evidence to move forward in a court of law. Not only is it necessary to demand evidence and answers from these accusers, it should be imperative to extend justice to those who may have been wrongfully accused. Many of us have attended meetings of the Independent Investigative Commission and are concerned about the direction of this panel. The football players are all being categorized as young men who are "part of a culture who does not respect women". There have been many witnesses by sexual assault experts, and yet, none to portray the many, many fine young men who actually make up the current football team. We have asked the panel permission for some parents of players to testify but that has not been allowed. The panel appears to take the word of people, who have no connection or understanding of the current football program, instead of seeking input from those directly involved with the program.
As parents, we are feeling a great deal of frustration over this investigative process. We all want the same outcome; that the truth be known. We also believe that if any of the investigations find wrongdoing, appropriate punishment should be swift and final.
It is time for the University to restore dignity, integrity and respect to Coach Barnett and this football program. It will take courage to do this. We implore and encourage Dr. Hoffman to have the patience and courage in the midst of this unfair adversity to do what is right for the CU football program.
We feel the best way to do this is by reinstating Gary Barnett as head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes. It is our desire to be able to once again to say with great pride that our sons are members of the University of Colorado football team. Please allow that to happen!