New Face at Punt Returner?

Hoping to juice up the Buffaloes' punt return game, punt return coach Brian Cabral has been looking at different returners in practice. One or more may get their debut on Saturday when <!--Default For Colorado is to ignore-->Colorado hosts <!--Default NodeId For North Texas is 620,2004--><A HREF=http://northtexas.TheInsiders.com>North Texas</A>.

Stephone Robinson has taken the majority of returns so far, with Mike Duren dropping back in "safe punt" situations. Robinson is still in the mix as the main returner, but he bobbled a punt in each of the team's first two games. Duren will continue as the possession return man.

"We're not very good returning the ball right now," Cabral said. "We've got to find a way to return the ball."

Bernard Jackson, Reggie Joseph and Ron Monteilh are also in competition for return man duties, and have been taking reps at the position in practice. On Wednesday, Robinson said he thought he and Jackson — who was recently moved from quarterback to wide receiver — would get the call vs. North Texas.

Cabral confirmed that Jackson could see action at punt returner Saturday.

"He's pretty good catching the ball, and he's a pretty good athlete," Cabral said. "We'll see if he can help us."

Asked what he wants from his punt returner, whoever that is, Cabral said, "He's got to have a knack to make at least one tackler miss. That's my rule for those guys is, one, to catch the ball, and, two, make somebody miss. That's not happening right now."

Cabral also said that the team can do better in punt pressure situations. He acknowledged that Saturday's effort against Washington State — when Tyrone Henderson blocked two punts — was good, but added, "I really thought we should have had four blocks already. Maybe even a fifth. We had two (opportunities) in the first game where we just ran by and didn't block them."

Meanwhile, Terrance Wheatley, who had a 59-yard kickoff return against Washington State which set up a late field goal, has moved into the first team kickoff return unit. He and Robinson should be the two back men Saturday, with Bobby Purify and Gerret Burl on the second unit as kickoff return men.

Scouting Awasom
Senior offensive tackle Sam Wilder will be one of the offensive linemen to match up with North Texas' standout defensive end Adrian Awasom Saturday. Awasom is on the Lombardi Watch list. Wilder gave us the scouting report on Awasom after watching him on film:

"He's really technically sound. A good pass rusher, he gets up field hard. He's a good player," Wilder said. "We look forward to it anytime we play somebody really good. It's going to take our very best every time."

While CU's offensive struggles have left coaches, players and fans scratching their heads after two games. Wilder was placing responsibility on his and his fellow linemen's shoulders this week.

"It's just been our mistakes," he said. "It's nothing anybody else has done. It's been our inconsistency, and inability for every person to get our blocks every time. It's been one or two guys that have missed blocks and it's cost the whole team."

Asked if simplifying the game plan against North Texas might help get the offense untracked, Wilder said, "What we have on the table, it's never that complicated. Maybe things will be a little simplified, but it's up to us to come out and execute the offense. Everybody knows what to do out there, we just need to execute."

Buff Linebacker Update
Brian Iwuh practiced on Wednesday, his first time since sustaining a high ankle sprain in Saturday's game. Gary Barnett said the ankle was a little sore during the practice. He said Iwuh was still day-to-day in regards to availability for Saturday night's game vs. North Texas. Barnett said a decision on that would probably be made Friday.

If Iwuh's ankle turns into a lingering injury that keeps him out of uniform for a long period of time (like what happened with Bobby Purify's high ankle injury in 2003), Barnett said the Buffs probably wouldn't move anyone to the position from one of the other linebacker spots. Instead, they would consider taking the redshirt off of freshman buff linebacker Brad Jones. Currently, Joe Sanders and Ben Carpenter a manning the position while Iwuh heals.

Eying Ivan
Three players on the CU roster are from the New Orleans area, a city bracing for Hurricane Ivan, which could hit as early as this evening or Thursday morning. Barnett had spoken to the three players and said that Thaddaeus Washington's family (from Marrero) had gone to Atlanta, Reggie Joseph's family (La Place) had driven to Dallas Wednesday, and Brandon Dabdoub's family (Metairie) hadn't yet decided whether or not to evacuate early Wednesday.

Pay-per-View Option Goes National
Two national satellite television systems will offer Saturday's Colorado-North Texas game (5 p.m. MT kickoff at Folsom). DirecTV and DISH join local cable companies Adelphia (Colorado Springs) and Comcast (Boulder/Denver) in offering the game.

The suggested retail price is $29.95. As it turns out, that's a higher price than a ticket to the game, as CU priced12,000 tickets at $25 a piece on Monday. There will be a fireworks display immediately following Saturday's game.

Contact information for ordering the game on pay-per-view is as follows:

Adelphia 1-888-683-1000
Comcast 303-537-1064
DirecTV (Order by remote control)
DISH 1-800-333-DISH (or by remote)


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