Akarika Dawn:<br>Buffs' Tackling Needs to Improve

The Colorado linebackers will play a key role in trying to stop the Cowboys when the running jugernaut comes to town Saturday. BSN caught up with CU junior <!--Default NodeId For Akarika Dawn is 1221200,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1221200]>Akarika Dawn</A> to get his thoughts on OSU. Also inside, news on the status of a couple of players battling injuries.

Oklahoma State features 5-10, 215-pound running back Vernand Morency, who is second in the Big 12 with 704 yards. Most impressive is Morency's 6.8 yards per carry. Blocking for Morency is 6-1, 260-pound junior fullback Shawn Willis.

Through four games, the Cowboys have run 236 times and passed just 47 times.

CU junior linebacker Akarika Dawn is currently second on the team in tackles (28). He spoke about what to expect Saturday.

BSN: What is it about their running game that's been so good.
Akarika Dawn:
They've got a good running back. He's big and fast. Their o-line's pretty big to. And they're a pretty quick line to be that big. They outrun people most of the time.

BSN: Do they remind you of anybody else?
Us. They remind me of us, because they're not going to throw the ball, they're just going to run it down your throat, and throw when they have to.

BSN: What do you guys have to do to stop them?
Tackle. Last week's game, if we make two tackles it's a 0-0 game. On that first drive, we had a couple sack (opportunities) that we missed.

BSN: Coach Barnett said earlier in the week that the team was a little hungover from the Missouri loss. Have you all been able to refocus as the week's gone on?
For the most part, yes. It hurt to lose because they really weren't that great of a team. We lost because of what we did. (Tuesday) was pretty much a practice for getting over that and getting back to what we do.

BSN: Is there a danger in playing a team like this that runs the ball so effectively, a danger in focusing so much on the run that they can play-action you?
Not really. In games when they've been down, they don't do that. They just run it over and over and over. Most teams are creatures of habit. And their habit is running the ball. And that's why we have our corners play a certain way. If (OSU) passes, they're already back there.

BSN: Does Vernand Morency remind you of anyobody?
He's like a faster Lawrence Vickers.

Billingsley will miss Oklahoma State game
Junior safety J.J. Billingsley did not practice again Wednesday and will sit out Saturday's game vs. Oklahoma State.

Billingsley had minor arthroscopic surgery on his knee in late August. He missed the game vs. UNT, but returned and played well against Missouri last week. His knee was fine after the game, but swelled on Monday.

His absence could be significant Saturday against the Oklahoma State running game, as Billingsley is the strongest Buff defensive back in run support.

Purify practices
While Billingsley is out for the Oklahoma State game, running back Bobby Purify is still listed as day to day with a shoulder injury he aggravated vs. Missouri. The senior who leads CU in rushing with 435 yards through four games, practiced Wednesday.

"Bobby did some things; he practiced a little bit," head coach Gary Barnett said after Wednesday's practice. "But he's still day to day. We'll know (if he'll play or not) on Saturday."

CU is getting Lawrence Vickers ready in practice this week in case Purify can't go.

Buffs shake off Missouri loss
While head coach Gary Barnett said after Monday's practice that the team was still feeling the emotional effects of the Missouri loss, he said they had moved beyond that by Wednesday evening.

"We've had two really, really physical, spirited practices," Barnett said. "When you practice like that, you always have a chance."

Miles at RB
Transfer Lenny Miles has been practicing at running back the past couple of weeks, after getting a look at defensive back and wide receiver after he joined the team in August. The former Adams City HS two-star sport transferred to CU this fall after playing basketball at New Mexico last year.

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