Conversation with Clint O'Neal

Only five current Buffaloes have started more games in their career than <A HREF=[PlayerNode:1223498]>Clint O'Neal</A>(17). BSN spoke with the Buffs' starting tight tackle to see how his spring is going. Also inside, some notes that came out of Wednesday's practice.

Q: How is your spring going?
Clint O'Neal:
It's going real good. I'm enjoying it; it's fun. It's my last one.

Q: That's what I was going to ask you about. Has it started to set in that this is the last time you're going to go through spring ball?
Yeah. I was thinking about that during the last offseason too. It goes by real fast. Before you know it (the end) is here. I'm graduating in May, then I've got to work six or eight months after that. After that, I'm gone.

Q: What's your degree going to be in?

Q: That's got to feel good to get that done with.
Yeah, it'll feel real good to get that done and concentrate on football. It's a big relief off my shoulders.

Q: Will you still take classes in the fall?
Yes, sir. I'll take 12 hours and be a fulltime student so I'll be eligible to play. I might take some econ classes.

Q: What do you want to do after you're done with football. I mean after possibly playing in the NFL?
I'm going to pursue that and if it doesn't work out, if the Good Lord doesn't want me to do that, then I'm going to go back home and do ranch management or maybe real estate. I've got some stuff planned out.

Q: Tell me what's different about this spring, if anything, from past springs, in terms of the offensive line.
The main thing I notice is that we can recognize a defense real well now. We can pick up blitzes. This time last year we kind of knew what was going on, but we were kind of hesitant. Now we can picture everything as a broad picture and we can see everything. I think we're doing a great job across the board. We're real comfortable with each other.

Q: How are the young guys coming along?
They're coming along real good. We've got Jack (Tipton) stepping up, Tyler (Polumbus), Daniel Sanders. They're showing some great signs of being good for years to come.

Q: What about on the defensive line. Who's tough to block these days?
They're all doing a great job. James Garee, Vaka (Manupuna), Alex (Ligon), Abe (Wright). In my opinion, they're all hard to block.

Spirited practice Wednesday
The Buffs went through a spirited full tackle practice Wednesday afternoon. They spent a considerable amount of time at the end of the day in 11-on-11 situations. By and large, it appeared that the offense was playing the best of the two units. However, a defender, safety Ryan Walters, had the hit of the day when he stood up receiver Reggie Joseph a few steps after Joseph had caught a pass. Despite the punishing blow — which got most of the defensive players jumping up and down — Joseph held on to the ball.

Here are some highlights: Quarterback Bernard Jackson hit Joseph in stride on nice floater down the sidelines. Linebacker Joe Sanders went step for step with tight end Dan Goettsch and broke up a pass near the goal line. The three top tailbacks, Hugh Charles, Byron Ellis and Brandon Caesar, all had at least one good play. Caesar broke through the line and ran 30 yards to the end zone before coming up gingerly on one leg. Goettsch caught a pass in the flat and punished two defenders, Gerett Burl and Dominique Brooks, broke their would-be tackles for a good gain. Alonzo Barrett got into it with a teammate on the offense before Gary Moore played peacemaker.

Spring Game still at practice field
Barnett said the plan is still to hold the spring game at the north practice field. Boulder High School had offered to let the Buffs use nearby Recht Field. But Barnett said after practice they didn't take the offer.

"The logistics going over and back and playing on a different surface (dictated turning it down)," he said. "This is a comfortable place. We've done it here before.

"It will be real intimate for the fans."

In Barnett's first year as head coach at CU, 1999, the team held its spring game on the practice fields. The team can't use Folsom Field because of an issue with the grass. CU will bring in bleachers and the game will take place on the east field of the north practice area.

Some back in action
Receivers Blake Mackey (ankle) and Dusty Sprague (concussion), as well as tight end Quinn Sypniewski were back in partial action. All three were able to take part in drills, but not in full contact.

On his new boss, Mike Bohn
Bohn and Barnett had dinner Tuesday evening. Asked about the meeting, Barnett said, "We don't know each other. It was the first time for us to sit across from each other and talk. That's all we did. We were getting to know each other a little bit. We didn't talk a lot of business."

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