Practice Report — August 16

The Buffs went through a two-and-a-half-hour practice Tuesday, the team's 13th of August camp. Inside, some notes on the search for a kickoff return man, and a conversation with senior linebacker Brian Iwuh.

Colorado practiced kickoff coverage and return, more than simply catching kickoffs, for the first time fall. Back receiving kicks were a group of players including Hugh Charles, Stephone Robinson, Gerett Burl, Chase McBride, Gardner McKay and Terry Washington. Robinson is the player with the experience, after returning 15 kicks in 2004 for an average of 17.3 yards per return. Terrence Wheatley led CU last fall with a 22.3 yard average on 16 returns. He is still recovering from a wrist injury and isn't playing football this season.

"Terrence did a pretty good job last year. He ran one against Washington State that was really critical. And one against Iowa State. And he was really fast," Gary Barnett said. "When things were clogged up, he could break it outside and go. On that (special teams unit), you sorta need somebody who can make a play.

"It depends on how well we do up front blocking, but we need somebody who's fast."

As for which pair will earn the duty this fall, it's still very much up in the air.

"We're going to look at all of them," Barnett said. "It's the guy who consistently catches it. You can see who's got a little burst and who's got a vision for it. That's what you do. Then it's a crapshoot after that."

Iwuh Likes Linebacking Corps' Preparation
It doesn't seem that long ago that Brian Iwuh drew a surprise start as a safety vs. Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game. But that was 2002. After moving to buff (outside) linebacker last fall, Iwuh is looking forward to his senior season.

Q: This is your last fall camp. Have you though much about how this is your last go around?
Brian Iwuh:
I haven't really thought about it. It comes in my mind sometimes, but I haven't let it set in. No, I ain't really worried about it right now.

Q: Do you ever think back to your first fall camp, and think about what the difference is?
BI:
Practices were a whole lot harder when I was a freshman because there were more two-a-days. We were in freshman camp before the vets got here. Our intensity is still up, but day to day practicing, it's much easier. It's all because they're taking precautions on everything.

I like it better this way because you work more and you're not tired all the time. You can push yourself more during your time in camp.

Q: You guys as a linebacking unit have gotten some preseason recognition. The Sporting News recently named you and Thaddaeus Washington first-team all-conference. How good can you guys be?
BI:
At this point, I feel that we're going real good. The last four games of last season, we started playing better. We carried that over into the spring, and in the summer, we studied more. All three of us became more students of the game. We worked on little things that we were bad at and I think this fall it's all coming together. We're steadily improving as a unit day by day.

Q: What about the fact that this is your second year at you position, and the second year in Coach Hankwitz's system. How is that going to make a difference?
BI:
We know what we're doing. We're not second-guessing ourselves. We know what our coaches want now. We're more comfortable with the system, all of us believe in the system now.

I feel a lot better in the system. I think it's a good system; it lets us make a lot of plays.

Q: Which game are you most looking forward to playing this fall?
BI:
Right now, CSU. That's the game I'm worried about right now. I'm not looking past them. It's a good game every year, so I'm looking forward to them.

Q: Spoken like a smart senior. …When I talk to people here, they say that you've taken on a leadership role. Is that something you're comfortable with?
BI:
I'm comfortable with it. And the coaches expect it out of me. I have no problem doing that. Mostly I lead by example, and I try to get practice picked up when everybody's tired. Or when I'm tired, I try to push through it. When we're hurtin' we've got to push through it.

I have no problem being a leader. It's something I've been all my life, so it's nothing out of the ordinary.

Injury Update:
Defensive end Greg Newman sprained a knee Monday and was out of practice Tuesday. Barnett said he should miss a couple practices. Safety Ryan Walters was in orange (knee), while Thaddaeus Washington wore the blue jersey put participated in most of the drills.

CU-CSU Tickets Remain
Just over 6,000 tickets remain for the Sept. 3 Colorado-Colorado State game at Folsom Field (1:30 p.m. kickoff). Cost ranges from $50, $65 and $85 in the stands to some priced at $300 in the club seat section. In addition, one suite (out of 41) is available for the game, and when sold, it will mark the first time that every suite will have been sold out for a game in this, just the third season with club and suite seating at Folsom.

Last year's game drew 54, 594, the largest crowd in Folsom Field history. CU officials expect another sellout.

Tickets are available for purchase by four methods: in-person at the CU Athletic Ticket Office, located between gates 4 and 5 at Folsom Field on the CU-Boulder campus; through all TicketsWest outlets at all King Soopers stores; on the internet at www.CUBuffs.com; and by telephone at 303-49-BUFFS (492-8337; or 1-800-87-BUFFS).

Anyone in Boulder Tuesday noticed the influx of CU students is well underway. CU ticket officials said that student season ticket sales hit 8,400 Monday, ahead of last year's pace at the same time; in 2004, the Buffs sold out the entire 12,000-student seat allotment. Also up is the membership in the Alumni C-Club, as assistant AD Bill Harris reports a record high of 956 dues paying members (almost triple the count from 2002), with hopes of reaching 1,000 by the first football game.

Observations
As I wrote Monday, Vance Washington really upgrades the speed at receiver. The question will be if he can learn the routes, block and — most critical — prove he's got good enough hands to warrant playing time. Tuesday he beat Lorenzo Sims and Gardner McKay on deep patterns on two separate plays and made the catch…a good sign.

Kevin Moyd also picked up his energy Tuesday, a day after head coach Gary Barnett said he had fallen behind.


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