Dizon, who played both running back and linebacker at Waimea High School in Hawaii, spent the afternoon practice running with the second team defense at the will linebacker much of the time. But Barnett joked that "whatever (linebacker position) he wants is the one he's going to get.
"He's doing a heckuva job," Barnett continued. "He's got great instincts, a great motor that goes. He finds the football, and he's got great snap, great feet. I like him."
The team went through drills this afternoon in front of the largest crowd of onlookers in the first week of opened preseason practices. More than 150 people watched, and dozens of children played among the blocking dummies and in the grassy areas that line the practice fields.
The crowd was privy to yet another spirited 11-on-11 scrimmage situation near the end of the afternoon practice. However, after going full contact in the morning, the team was in shells (shoulder pads, helmets, shorts) in the afternoon and did not tackle.
For the first time this week, it appeared that the offense was getting the best of the defense during the competition. The passing game started to find a sharpness, as several receivers were getting open and making plays. Tyler Littlehales, Quinn Sypniewski, Daniel Goettsch, were a few with impressive plays.
Littlehales twice made really strong plays on the ball and came up with big catches. On one play he went up over Terrence Wheatley, came down with the ball, juked the defender then avoided another on his way to the end zone.
Also heating up as camp continues is the competition for the No. 2 quarterback spot. Coming out of spring ball, sophomore James Cox had separated himself as the backup to starter Joel Klatt. But redshirt freshmen Brian White and Bernard Jackson are both making a play at Cox's spot. Erik Greenberg is also in the mix, but was slowed early in the week with a hamstring injury.
"James still has a hold on it right now," quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson said. "But I'm really pleased with how Brian White's come back and how Bernard Jackson's come back. Those two guys, they're so much further along than they were in the spring. They're going to make it tough on James, which is good, because James is handling it."
Several players wore the orange jersey Saturday, watching one or both of the two-a-day practices from the sidelines. They included DT McKenzie Tilmon (sprained neck), TE Joe Klopfenstein (leg), OT Clint O'Neal (leg), ILB Walter Boye-Doe (ankle), OG Derek Stemrich (2004 knee surgery), ILB Chris Hollis. WR Stephone Robinson was out for the morning practice, but in for the afternoon go. It looks like most of these injuries are minor, and some, including Stemrich, are being held out for mostly precautionary reasons. The Buffs will have practiced 12 days in a row before getting their first day off (Aug. 22), and the staff is being conservative with some of the players in this area.
While some minor injuries are starting to mount, so far the team's conditioning seems to be good after seven practices.
"We're a really well-conditioned team," Barnett said. "We have to get better – we have to get in game shape. But so far I've been really pleased with how we've handled the intensity."
Hunt Arriving Saturday Night
Defensive lineman Josh Hunt and his family had not made it to Boulder by the afternoon practice, but were expected to be in town Saturday night after Hunt was declared eligible to play this fall earlier in the week.
Watched some one-on-one drills between the OL and DL. Just a plain rush/block drill where the offensive tackles went against ends, and interior offensive linemen against defensive tackles. James Garee and Sam Wilder were really going at it. Garee may have had the edge when all was said and done. John Guydon's move back to the defense will pay dividends. He can be very disruptive on a bull rush. Edwin Harrison had some good moments in the drill. Brian Daniels and Matt McChesney were also playing pretty even.
This was Littlehales' best practice. It looks like he's pushing Montielh at the Z receiver spot.
Purify continues to impress (have I written that every day?). On one play during the scrimmage, he went off tackle, then had a quick move that froze a defender and was by him up the field.
The team will practice Sunday 4-6:45.