Q&A with Lorenzo Sims

While <A HREF=http://nuggets.Scout.com>Denver Nuggets</A> Fever has swept through Colorado in the past two months, one Colorado Buffalo is immune to the virus. <A HREF=[PlayerNode:1223661]>Lorenzo Sims</A> has a legitimate reason to be a <A HREF=http://spurs.Scout.com>San Antonio Spurs</A> fan, and inside he breaks down why the Spurs will beat the Nuggets if the two meet in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Also inside, some notes from Friday's practice.

Sims is cousins on his mom's side with Spurs standout Bruce Bowen. They both grew up in Fresno, Calif., and Sims' loyalty is strongly with the Spurs.

Q: Have you gotten to see Bowen play in Denver at all?
Yeah. Every time he plays in Denver he gets me tickets. We go down and I get a chance to see him. It's good because I don't get too many opportunities to see him because of our schedules.

Q: If the Nuggets play the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, and it looks like that could happen, you're not going to be rooting for the Nuggets?
Noooo! No! I argue with a lot of Denver fans, being in Colorado. When I'm at the Nuggets games, I argue with them. And Nuggets fans on the (CU) team. It's a continuing process. Until we prove that we're better than the Nuggets, which I think we are, it's not gonna stop.

Q: Break it down. Why do you think San Antonio would beat the Nuggets?
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker. I think we have a great defensive team. Denver's been good, they've improved. But still I don't think in a playoff series they could beat us.

Q: Turning to football, how is spring going?
It's going fine. There's a couple guys out with injuries, but I think the guys that are participating are making great progress toward the goals they set for spring. I think we're looking better. Obviously we've got guys coming back who are starters, but that really don't mean nothing if you're not striving to get better.

Q: Having Tom Hubbard and Terrence Wheatley out, is there a positive side to that in that some of the younger guys are getting more reps?
It is a positive for the younger guys. You can see who wants a spot, who wants to play, who's going out there trying to make themselves better. Obviously, Terrence's loss is a bad loss. We're hoping he can come back. If not, we have some people who can replace him.

Q: First full practice under Coach Bray. How has that been? Has he been able to do more teaching than during the season last fall?
Yeah. It was hard for him to come in last year and just go right into it in camp. Now he can focus more on the little basic things, and really get us more sound in technique. Last year he really didn't have time to do that. This spring he's taking advantage of that and I think the progress is showing.

Q: What is it you're working on specifically?
My technique in the man press. I'm doing a lot of press, a lot of man coverage. That's what I needed and wanted, and what he wanted me to work on. I think I'm getting a lot better.

Q: Standing behind the ropes here, he's a voice that we hear constantly throughout practice. Does he ever tell you when you do something good, too?
(laughs) Yeah. He does. It's not very often, so when he does compliment you, obviously, you did a good job and took his words into consideration. When you do that, you make him a happy coach and he can't resist but to give you a compliment.

Q: Who's looking good among the receivers?
Alvin (Barnett). I like his speed, I like his hands. I like the way he can get off the ball. I honestly think he'll be a big factor next fall. I wish we had him last fall. He's strong, he's a good blocker. There's not too many negative things you can say about the guy.

Iwuh, Part II
After knocking teammate Dusty Sprague out of last Saturday's scrimmage with a viscious hit, linebacker Brian Iwuh earned the biggest hoots and hollers from teammates at Friday's practice with a big hit. In an 11-on-11 situation, Iwuh flew across from his buff linebacker spot and took out an offensive lineman and ball carrier with a single blow. The effort even earned Iwuh a congratulations from the head coach, as Gary Barnett made his way into the middle of his players and gave Iwuh a "good job" slap on the helmet.

"Between he and Thaddaeus (Washington), those guys'll hit you," Barnett said after the practice. "Iwuh's been very, very consistent. After knocking Dusty out last week, no one wants to go into his area."

Barnett said Saturday's scrimmage, which is slated to begin at 3:15 p.m. at the north practice fields, will be similar to last Saturday's scrum. Like last week, coaches are looking for players "to put themselves in a position to be depended upon," Barnett said. "I think it's another opportunity for some of the younger guys who struggled through the first week just learning everything. They should be far along enough now to where they can play a little more relaxed, a little more under control, and show their stuff."

Barnett specifically pointed to juco transfer receiver Alvin Barnett, who is beginning to find some consistency in the past few days of practice. One play Barnett was involved in during Friday's practice stood out, as he caught a pass in the flat, fought of a would-be tackler from behind, then made to defenders miss as he turned it up field.

"We haven't had that kind of stuff out there at the receiver spot," Barnett said.

Charles in charge
Watching tailback Hugh Charles, who wears No. 2, go through his first spring practices, it's hard not to think about the running back who wore No. 2 before Charles, Brian Calhoun. After playing two years at CU, Calhoun transferred to Wisconsin prior to last season, where he's currently running second string on the Badger depth chart and is expected to make an impact on that squad this fall.

Like Calhoun, Charles has very good speed, and both players are well under 6-feet tall — Charles is 5-8, Calhoun 5-10. Charles, however, is a longtime competitive weightlifter and is built more solidly than the former No. 2.

Charles is slowly taking hold of the No. 1 tailback spot with his solid showing this month. Asked if he thought Charles — who ran a team-best 4.38 40 in March — was faster than Calhoun, Barnett said, "I think he is faster than Calhoun. And he carries a lot more with him when he gets there."

Mackey in blue
Wide receiver Blake Mackey, who injured a knee in the team's first spring practice, wore a blue jersey Friday, rather than the orange/no contact jersey he's had the past two weeks. Mackey took part in all the drills Friday except for the 11-on-11 situations, and he looked very good. Mackey has struggled at times in the past holding onto the football. Friday, he made a great catch falling backwards, then beat Gerett Burl in the back of the end zone in a short-yardage situation. Back to full go were receiver Dusty Sprague and tight end Quinn Sypniewski.

Head in the house
Future Buff Devin Head, the offensive lineman from California who is part of the 2005 signing class, was at practice Friday with his parents. He looks every part of the 270 pounds he reportedly played at as a senior.

Coaches clinic
The Buffs are hosting 100 to 120 high school and college coaches from Colorado and neighboring states for the weekend.

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