Joel Klatt, came away with a 17-13 win in an evenly fought match."> Joel Klatt, came away with a 17-13 win in an evenly fought match.">

White squad wins Spring Game

Colorado conducted its annual spring game at Folsom Field Saturday in front of an estimated crowd of 4,500 fans. The team was divided into two squads and the White group, led by quarterback <a href="">Joel Klatt</a>, came away with a 17-13 win in an evenly fought match.

CU spring game captains Bobby Purify (black squad) and Matt McChesney (white squad) drafted their teammates on Thursday, dividing the team into two groups.

Along with Klatt, who was 8-of-12 for 89 yards and a touchdown, the white team was bolstered by running back Lawrence Vickers, who led all rushers with 94 yards on 21 carries. Purify led the Black team with 56 yards on 14 carries.

The White squad started the scoring when Klatt found WR Ron Monteilh for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Kevin Eberhart made it 10-0 later in the quarter when he converted a 22-yard field goal attempt.

The Black team scored next when QB Brian White found TE Joe Klopfenstein for an 8-yard strike. But the White team answered when WR Mike Duren got behind CB Gerett Burl for a 33-yard touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone from QB Erik Greenberg.

PK Mason Crosby – who hit a 67-yarder during warmups Saturday – made two field goals in the second half to finish the scoring.

WR Tyler Littlehales looked good running routes and hauled in four catches for 51 yards to lead all receivers. Littlehales said it was the first time in two weeks he's run without pain in his back, a condition that kept him out of several practices recently.

The wide receiver position remains a question mark going into fall after a number of players were hit with injuries in the spring. But Littlehales said he's confident the group that is taking over for departed Derek McCoy and D.J. Hackett will produce.

"We made a point to be a real good blocking corps, and I think we've done that," he said. "We're not going to have two guys with 80 catches each, but we're going to try to have six guys with 30 catches."

Vickers made the most of his opportunity, running the ball 21 times after Isaiah Crawford went down with an ankle injury early after only two carries.

"I got my chance today in front of a good amount of people to show what I can do," he said. "It just felt good. Once I warm up, I'm going to stay hot until it's over. It was fun."

Once again linebacker Brian Iwuh was in on several plays as he lined up at buff backer for the White team. Linebacker Thaddaeus Washington had an interception for the Black squad, which he returned 24 yards. Recently converted LB Joe Sanders came up with a pick, as did corners Sammy Joseph and Gerett Burl.

Still on the job
Interim head coach Brian Cabral stressed that the Buffs needed to take the next two weeks and finish strong in the classroom.

"The winter conditioning was phenomenal," he said. "The type of spring we had was impressive. The only thing we have left to do is two weeks of school. It's very important for this team to finish academically strong the way we finished everything else."

Cabral was given the interim job when Gary Barnett was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 18. It is unclear at this point when a decision on Barnett's future will be made by the CU Board of Regents. The investigative panel looking into the football program has until May 14 to report its findings on whether or not the program used sex and alcohol to lure recruits. Barnett was at Saturday's game as a spectator.

But Cabral said he felt good about what the team accomplished the past two months, and credited the players and assistant coaches.

"Gary trusted us as assistants to do the work," Cabral said. "My hope is to hand this back to him better than anyone could have expected."

Quarterback race update
While offensive coordinator Shawn Watson reiterated Saturday that James Cox has separated himself for the No. 2 quarterback behind Joel Klatt, he said things are not settled yet.

"I see Brian White starting to make a move," Watson said. "Bernard Jackson was doing the same thing about a week ago and I'm not taking him out of any mix because he's such a brilliant athlete. Once he continues to get it, who knows? And Erik (Greenberg) is hanging in there. He's in a battle.

"And James knows there's guys behind him, and Joel knows the same thing."

Spring surprise on offense?
Cox's improvement over a year ago caught some people by surprise. But coaches have also been pleased with the emergence of redshirt freshman fullback Paul Creighton, who moved to the position this spring after playing last year at tight end.

"Paul Creighton is becoming like Brandon Drumm was for us," Watson said. "And we've been searching for that ever since Drumm left. Creighton gives us a chance to have that big fullback that can catch the ball and can run with it if necessary. And then he pounds people (as a blocker)."

Hessler recognized
Former Buffalo quarterback John Hessler was severely injured in an auto accident last fall, and was in a coma for several weeks. He has been undergoing extensive therapy during his recovery, and was well enough to be at Saturday's game.

Hessler was recognized at halftime of the game and a montage of his exploits on the football field were shown on the Buff Vision boards as the current team made their way to where Hessler was in his wheelchair on the sidelines.

Asked about Hessler's presence at the game afterwards, Cabral became emotional and said, "He's a fighter. In all my years here, I really believe he's the toughest quarterback I've seen here. And that's what he's exhibiting right now. It was good to see him out here, and it was good for him to be here."

Several players sat out Saturday's spring game, including Brian Calhoun (knee), Kyle Griffith, Chris Hollis (foot), Stephone Robinson (hamstring), Ryan Walters (illness), Daniel Jolly, Blake Mackey (foot). RB Isaiah Crawford suffered an ankle sprain early in the game, and sat the second half. The good news is that head trainer Steve Willard thinks that all the players who missed Saturday's game, including players who missed all of spring ball, will be healthy by August camp.

Spring Awards
Team Spring Awards were announced at halftime of Saturday's game. They include: Joe Romig Award -- Outstanding offensive lineman: Sam Wilder.
Fred Casotti Award -- Oustanding Offensive Back: Bobby Purify
Hale Irwin Award -- Outstanding Defensive Back: Brian Iwuh
Dan Stavely Award -- Outstanding Defensive Lineman: James Garee
Bill McCartney Award -- Outstanding Special Teams Player: Mason Crosby
Most Improved Offense: Mike Duren
Most Improved Defense: Vaka Manupuna

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