Buffs Offense Comes Alive in 1st Spring Scrimmage

Okay, so the rebuilt and very impressive defense was playing with one arm tied behind their back, but still, the University of Colorado football team's offense took a big step forward during the team's first major scrimmage of the spring season Saturday. The Buffs 78-play scrimmage in front of several hundred spectators at Folsom Field featured some impressive play from the offensive unit that had been dominated by the defense during the first half of spring practice.

Head coach Gary Barnett saw his offense outplay the defense for most of the day.

"I was really impressed with our offense," Barnett stated afterwards. "We looked pretty crisp and I thought our running backs ran hard. Overall, it was just good to get out here and play."

With tailback Bobby Purify sidelined by injury this spring, the duo of junior Chris Brown and sophomore Marcus Houston, combined for 148 yards and two of the offense's three touchdowns.

Brown ran for 77 yards on 15 carries, with a long run of 22-yards for a touchdown. Houston finished with 69 yards on 19 attempts, his best gain for 15 yards.

"I was really impressed with Chris and Marcus today," Barnett continued. "They both showed some good stuff and made some runs that we really like to see at this time."

Houston was also pleased with this outing. "It feels really good to be back in to it out here," he said. "We certainly have a lot of work to do as an offensive unit, but I thought our running game was very solid today."

CU's passing game also flourished at times during the afternoon, with quarterback Craig Ochs throwing for 111 yards and one touchdown on 9-for-13 passing. The junior connected with impressive senior tight end Beau Williams for the 18-yard score, his longest throw a 46-yarder to junior John Donahoe.

"I am really just starting to get back to where I was a year ago before I injured my ankle," Ochs stated. "I feel great physically and mentally, and it is good to get out here and knock off what rust we have. Spring ball is a fresh start for everyone,so we need to make sure we make the most of our opportunities and work hard to get things done."

Though the offense seemed to have more success than the defense in the scrimmage, Barnett said he and the coaching staff did not let the defense play to the extent that usually occurs during an actual game.

"We tied the defense's hands today and did not let them bring a lot of pressure," he commented. "We really limited what we wanted them to do, so I am not surprised to see the offense play well."

Though the Buff defense was corralled in its ability to blitz and stack the line of scrimmage, the CU security squad still managed to rack up seven sacks compiling 35 yards lost. Converted linebackers Marques Harris and Joey Johnson led the charge, as each finished with two sacks apiece.

Along with his sacks, Harris, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder who has moved to linebacker from defensive end this spring, was the most impressive player on the field. Playing outside linebacker, he finished the day with five tackles, two third down stops and a 52-yard interception return.

"I really enjoyed being out at my spot mixing it up today," the junior stated of the new position. "I felt very comfortable and I like how much room I have to run around. Certainly I have a lot to learn and we need to get better, but I was pleased with today."

"It was a good go and I think we got some good things done," Barnett continued. "But I need to wait and see the film before I can fully assess today. We have a lot of work ahead of us...but being a coach, we all say that no matter what happens out there."

On the injury front, highly touted transfer D.J. Hackett, a wide receiver from the defunct program at Cal State-Northridge, tore the lateral collateral ligament in his knee Wednesday. He will not need surgery, but will miss the rest of the spring season while rehabilitating for the next six weeks.