But Dabdoub looked good going up against his offensive line teammates in some one-on-one drills Monday, especially for a player who hadn't battled in the trenches since November.
"It felt great getting out there and getting some of the rust out," Dabdoub said. "I felt comfortable, and everything felt great."
Defensive line coach Chris Wilson said he wants Dabdoub into football shape for the Sept. 4 opener vs. Colorado State.
"He's pretty close to full speed right now," Wilson said. "We're just being very cautious with how we handle him. The key for us is to have him ready for the game in 17 days. We'll just keep putting him more drills, the better and better he feels, and the better he shows on tape."
Dabdoub tore the muscle when he was working out on the bench press. He had 405 pounds on the bar and had put up four reps. When he went for the fifth, "it felt like a shirt inside tearing off the bone. It was the worst pain I've experienced," he said.
During his recovery, the 6-1, 290-pound fifth-year senior said he spent a lot of time watching tape and sharpening the mental side of his game. He hopes that will pay off this fall.
"I think it's real close to 100 percent," he said of the muscle. "It's about 90-95 percent right now. My strength is almost back. I've been benching. It's a long process. I'm glad I did it in March."
Defensive Line Notes
Junior John Guydon continues to look like a disruptive presence on the inside after moving back to defensive line from offensive in August. Asked about Guydon's progress, Wilson said, "He's a very explosive kid. He's a physical young man. What we've got to do now is focus on getting him fundamentally sound, and get him more disciplined. That's just going to take reps."
Guydon's move to defense has caused speculation that DT McKenzie Tilmon, a senior with two years to play one, could be headed for a redshirt season this fall. Including Tilmon, who has been out of practice the past several days with a sore neck, the Buffs have seven interior defensive linemen. That number includes true freshman Josh Hunt. It's not yet apparent how close Hunt is to being ready to contribute as he just got to camp Sunday.
Among that seven, two are scheduled to graduate after this season, and Tilmon could be a third. That would leave what looks to be a thin group in 2005.
But Wilson said a Tilmon redshirt is not necessarily in the works.
"Really the only thing we're focused on is the now," Wilson said. "If he hasn't played at the end of the season, then you redshirt him. That's the attitude we're taking. But if (Tilmon) can help us win then we're going to use him."
Asked about the overall play of his unit thus far in camp, Wilson said, "They're giving it to me. They're doing everything I ask them to do. We're not where we want to be 17 days from now, but we're a lot better than we were in the spring. They've made tremendous jumps."
Redshirt-freshman Colorado Buffaloes Stephone Robinson is trying out a move from wide receiver to cornerback. Robinson practiced with the corners during Monday's practice.
Likewise, true frosh quarterback Ryan Walters, who was No. 6 on the depth chart, has moved to safety, where he hopes to see the field sooner. Walters was wearing No. 15 in practice on Monday, a change from his No. 5, the jersey he wore at QB.
Barnett said both moves were "player initiated."
No Bloom News
No news on WR Jeremy Bloom's situation had surfaced as of the end of Monday's practice. The NCAA had been scheduled to meet over the matter of the junior's appeal to retain eligibility to play football in the fall despite taking endorsements earlier in the year due to his skiing exploits.
A CU compliance person in the athletic department had spoken with Bloom via cell phone in Chile, where Bloom is ski training with the U.S. Ski Team, during the mid-afternoon because she needed a piece of information. But no word when a decision from the NCAA might come.
Several players were wearing orange and did not participate in Monday's practice. Some were new injuries, others suffered earlier in camp. Here is the list with the ailment listed if it is known: J.J. Billingsley, Jesse Wallace, Vance Washington (shoulder), Brandon Caesar, Derek Stemrich (knee surgery recovering), Daniel Sanders, Quinn Sypniewski, Brian Iwuh, McKenzie Tilmon (neck), Chris Hollis (foot surgery).
Sypniewski is expected to miss four to five days. Washington will be reevaluated later in the week. The other problems were not made public.
"There's nothing I can do about it. The game's gotta go on," Barnett said, when asked about the injuries. "Right now, we've got a lot of competition at a lot of spots. So if you fall behind, somebody's going to take your place."
Good news was that TE Joe Klopfenstein was back in action Monday after missing the past several days with a tweaked hamstring.
Hunt Still in Shorts
Freshman defensive end Josh Hunt must practice two days in shorts, and two more days in just shoulder pads before he can go full pads and full contact. Monday was his second day in shorts.
Freshman Jordon Dizon has turned heads since being moved to will linebacker Saturday from safety. One way you can tell he's already earned the respect of his upperclassmen teammates is this: While it's typical to hear a veteran call the freshmen by their numbers at this point in camp — "Hey, 40. Whadya doin?!" — the veterans are calling Dizon by his name.
Last Friday, Montbello High School football coach Oliver Lucas brought 15 of his football players to watch CU's practice.
"That's a tradition for us," Lucas said when reached by phone Sunday. "We go up there just before we start practice every year."
Among the Montbello players in attendance were three who have, according to Lucas, garnered interest from colleges. RB Michael Houston, OL John West and DB Steve Johnson were at the practice. However, the player that some believe to be the plum on this year's Warriors squad, WR Jerrell Yates, did not attend.
Lucas, who was an assistant under former Buff boss Bill McCartney from 1985-90, and coached former Buffs Daniel Graham and Marcus Houston at Thomas Jefferson, said the Montbello players who were at CU's practice enjoyed their time.
"Some of them, it was their first time, others it was their second time," Lucas said. "But each time it's exciting. It gives them a sense of what college football is like, as far as the tempo and that sort of thing."
Lucas said that Colorado has shown interest in Houston. He would not say whether or not an offer had been made. He also said that Yates, who sprained a foot over the summer, would be ready to play for Montbello this fall.
Lucas led Montbello to an undefeated season in the DPL in 2003, winning by an average margin of 35 points against their conference foes. Eventual 5A state champs Ponderosa ended Montbello's season with a 31-28 victory. The coach said his team has set high goals for 2004.
Monday's HYPE (believe it or not!)
Early on some of the team went through a kickoff coverage practice. Five lines consisted of a coverage tackler, two blockers that held big blocking pads and a return guy. The drill was designed to work the tackler, make him get down field while staying in his lane, through the blockers and to the tackler. Watching Thaddaeus Washington go through the drill was almost comical. While the other tacklers would try and juke the first blocker, or slow up to take him on before heading to the second, Washington blew him up every time. It got to the point where the blocker was getting out of his way.
For the first time all camp, Greg Newman caught my eye during this drill. He's a big kid with a frame that can hold more weight. Still not sure whether they'll keep him at DL or put him at ILB down the road.
Guydon and Vaka Manupuna stood out among the interior D-linemen during a rush drill. Vaka's showing quickness. Guydon's ferocious. At this point, those two look like the most effective interior guys, but Wilson said (quotes in story above) that Guydon has to polish his technique.
Tried to watch Dizon more today because of all the love he's getting from Barnett. He's got good speed for a linebacker, and looks like one of those guys that has the knack of being around the ball. He put a hit on Klopfenstein that knocked the ball loose during a non-full contact scrimmage.
Sophomore walk-on TE Daniel Goettsch is getting a ton of reps with the injuries that have slowed the other three tight ends. …Bernard Jackson is really looking more and more like the player CU thought he could be when they recruited him. Finding some poise, and throwing a nice ball. ... Ron Monteilh was back taking most of the reps with the first team in scrimmage situations Monday, after Tyler Littlehales had been taking them Sunday.
The team will go full pads in tomorrow morning's practice and shells in the afternoon.
Hall of Fame Class Announced
Colorado will induct seven people into its athletic hall of fame for its class of 2004, the athletic department announced Monday. The induction ceremony will take place Oct. 28, the weekend of the CU-Texas football game.
Here is the list of this year's class:
Don Branby: Football, baseball and basketball.
Eddie Crowder: Football coach, athletic director
Cliff Meely: Basketball
Frank Potts: Football coach, track and field coach Shelley Sheetz: Basketball Bill Toomey: Track and field John Wooten : Football