Buffs Relatively Healthy Heading into Game

The countdown towards Saturday's showdown with Colorado State continues to run. And because they practiced so well Monday and Tuesday, Colorado practiced in shorts, with no pads on Wednesday. Inside, Gary Barnett talks about why the team has remained relatively healthy despite having physical practices this camp, and Shawn Watson talks about what he expects from CSU's defense.

The Buffs are finished with their contact practices. They'll go in shorts and no pads Thursday, then have a walk-through practice Friday. Saturday's kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Folsom Field.

One of the positives of fall camp is that the Buffs came through relatively healthy. Vance Washington and Brandon Caesar will miss Saturday's game, but the rest of the squad looks to suit up.

"The first thing is the offseason stuff we did with Greg Finnegan. You've got to give (Finnegan and his staff) credit for that," Gary Barnett said when asked what contributed to the team's health. "Two, probably the way camp is anymore. It's one-a-days. And three, the kids have to be taking care of themselves."

Despite the reduced number of two-a-days, Barnett characterized the August practices as physical. Interestingly, Coach Craig Bray, who has served as an assistant in several other programs, including Arizona and Oregon State most recently, said the Buffs hit more in preseason camp than any team he's been a part of.

Speaking of health, Watson said sophomore WR Tyler Littlehales didn't look like a player who had to be helped off the field with a knee injury last Friday. He was moving well in practice.

Keys to the Game
Asked for a few keys to beating CSU, Barnett said, "Not give up the big play, and be sound on special teams."

The Buffs were victimized throughout last season by big plays, including in their win over CSU. Two potential playmakers on this year's Rams' team are WR David Anderson and TE Joel Dreessen.

"You know they're going to get their catches," Barnett said. "We can't give them the big play like we did last year."

While the Colorado defense will be trying to eliminate big plays, the offense will be trying to create them. In order to do that, the offensive line will have to play better than it did through much of last season.

As he has in recent weeks, Watson was upbeat when asked about the potential of this year's line.

"I really like what we've been doing in the offensive line, in terms of their consistency in the fall camp," he said. "They've picked up and they've just taken off."

With veterans at quarterback, tight end and in the backfield, the other question mark is how well a group of mostly inexperienced wide receivers will play.

"That's probably the one position where we're going to find out a lot about who they really are as the season wears on," Watson said.

As far as what to expect from CSU's defense, Watson said: "I expect them to do what they've always done. They've always been a good sound defense. They always give you a lot of headaches with the zone pressure.

"I would imagine, no different than us, there'll be some new wrinkles. There are in all these first games. We expect that we'll have some adjustments to make."

UNT Kickoff Time Set
Kickoff for CU's game at home vs. North Texas on Sept. 18 has been set for 5:05 p.m. As of now the game has not been picked up for television broadcast, and it's looking like it won't be.

In an effort to attract fans, the athletic department is doing something it's never done before, present a post-game fireworks show at Folsom, which will take place directly after the UNT game. CU is also expected to announce a reduced ticket package in the coming days for the UNT game.

Two Earn Scholarships
A pair of junior defensive players, linebacker Kyle Griffith and safety Tom Hubbard, were placed on scholarship Wednesday. Griffith, from Broomfield was an invited walk-on in 2002, and has played on special teams in 20 games over the past two seasons. Last year he was second on the team in special teams points (11). Hubbard was originally a quarterback from Limon, and redshirted his first year in 2001. He spent 2002 as a receiver, then moved to DB last season and played in six games on special teams.


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