Players React to QB Change

On Wednesday, Colorado players reacted to Tuesday's announcement that <!--Default NodeId For James Cox is 1221111,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1221111]>James Cox</A> would take over as CU's starting quarterback this weekend with a mixture of surprise and support.

Though many expressed surprise at the move, players on the CU offense seem to have confidence in the ability of Cox to come in and be effective as Colorado's signal-caller vs. Iowa State.

"He came in and played well Saturday (in the second half vs. Oklahoma State), so we have just as much confidence in him as in Joel," receiver Evan Judge said. "I think we'll be OK."

Fellow starting receiver Ron Monteilh echoed Judge's thoughts.

"We have just as much confidence (in Cox)," Monteilh said when asked if it would be different having Cox under center rather than Klatt. "We really don't worry about it too much. We just go out there and try to get open.

"We're lucky to have some good quarterbacks on this team — more than one. As long as they get the ball there, we really don't see a difference."

But on Wednesday, Monteilh, like most of his teammates, admitted the move caught him by surprise.

"Klatt's the leader of our offense, and probably the leader of our team," Monteilh said. "That's the only reason why I was surprised."

Klatt is one of four team captains. Fellow captain, offensive tackle Sam Wilder, said the team will support the coaches' decision to bench Klatt and promote Cox.

"That's why they get paid; they have to make those choices and those decisions," Wilder said. "We're going to support James Cox and Joel Klatt through the situation. James is fully capable of going out there and playing well."

Though coaches have declined to comment specifically on why they made the change, it came on the heels of Cox's second half performance against Oklahoma State, when he subbed for the injured Klatt. Cox led the team on two touchdown drives after CU failed to score with Klatt at quarterback in the first half.

But, as starting offensive tackle Clint O'Neal pointed out Wednesday, CU's first-half offensive struggles on Saturday weren't all Klatt's fault.

"We just shot ourselves in the foot a lot of times (in the first half)," O'Neal said. "We had some dropped passes, some key penalties that set us back. But once we got ourselves going in the second half, we had pretty good production."

Monteilh and Judge both said there wasn't much difference in catching a ball thrown by Cox or Klatt. And both said that timing between Cox and the receivers shouldn't be an issue.

"There's a pretty good rotation with all the receivers (and quarterbacks)," Judge said. "I've gotten reps with both of them equally. I don't think (timing) will be an issue."

However, one obvious difference in the two quarterbacks is the mobility factor. Cox is the faster of the two.

This past spring, Cox was impressive in that he learned to avoid taking a sack in scrimmage situations after struggling with that the year before in practice. And on Saturday, he gained 21 yards on four scrambles.

"We've got to do a good job of getting downfield and making some blocks and protecting him if he's going to take off," Wilder said.

And, when it comes down to it, the biggest adjustment for the CU offensive players may simply be in getting used to seeing a new face calling out the plays in the huddle on Saturday.

"All this spring, all last year and all this year (Klatt has) been there for us and us for him," O'Neal said. "Now with James coming in, we're just going to have to work with him. But I think James is going to do a great job. We have a lot of confidence in him."

NOTES
Purify Update
Senior tailback Bobby Purify once again wore the blue jersey in Wednesday's practice, which means he could participate, but not in contact drills or situations.

Running backs coach Shawn Simms said afterwards the team still hopes to have Purify's services for Saturday's game, but they won't know how close to 100 percent he'll be until that day.

Lawrence Vickers saw action at tailback vs. Oklahoma State, as Purify was limited because of his shoulder injury.

Vickers was effective against the Cowboys, after being left out of the game plan the week before against Missouri.

Asked whether he thought Vickers would get more carries against Iowa State than he did against Missouri, Simms said: "That all depends. Certainly we hope he gets more than Missouri, because he didn't get any. We've got to get the ball in the hands of players that can make plays for us.

"Obviously, when Bobby's not there, we feel good about Lawrence with the ball in his hands, until some of these younger guys come up and prove themselves."

Quarterback Shuffle?
Since CU is playing Iowa State Saturday, a team that uses two quarterbacks, Gary Barnett was asked if he would consider doing that at CU?

He said: "I'm not opposed to it. I haven't thought about it too much. We did it a little bit in 2000, I think. If you win ‘em all, it works. If you don't win ‘em all, somebody thinks that's why."


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