Thursday Practice Notes

Inside, notes from Thursday's spring practice.

• Junior defensive end Alonzo Barrett, who is expected to be in the thick of things for a starting position next fall, is out for the rest of the spring after dislocating his elbow at Tuesday's practice. Head coach Dan Hawkins said he didn't think Barrett's injury would require surgery, but he didn't rule it out.

• The Buffs will conduct their second extensive scrimmage of spring practices on Friday, beginning at 5 p.m. Hawkins said it will be a similar format to the scrimmage that took place prior to spring break.

He said the team will get in roughly 45-50 plays in the scrimmage. Because the numbers are low on the offensive and defensive lines, the Buffs will intersperse 7-on-7 work and special teams situations in the scrimmage.

"We don't have enough guys to go out here and run 100 plays," Hawkins said.

The coach said he's looking for continued improvement in the scrimmage. He hopes the team can build on the steps it took in Thursday's practice.

"I think we made some strides this practice," he said. "We got some execution, guys were making some plays, guys are figuring some things out. We're getting a little bit closer, so you'd love to see some continuity that way. But we want to see guys make some plays, take care of the football, and we'd like to see the offense execute a little bit better."

• If you put out your hand to greet senior quarterback James Cox these days, Cox will offer his left hand in the greeting. He's protecting his right hand that was injured early in camp, and the injury continues to keep him out of contact drills. Hawkins said there is still hope that Cox could return and see action next week, and in the April 15 spring game, but it's still uncertain.

"We'd like to see him go, but that hand's still messed up a little bit, so it's going to be a matter of whether he can function well," Hawkins said. "But I'd love to see him gets some reps and do some things."

Will Cox be able to make up ground once he's healthy?

"We'll see. I hope so," Hawkins said. "He's got enough experience under his belt. It's not like he's totally coming out of the blue, so you hope that he'd be able to get back n the hunt quickly. We need him to."

In Cox's absence, it appears junior Brian White has a clear lead in the race for the starting quarterback job, as White continues to work with what looks to be the first team. Bernard Jackson is working with the unofficial second team. Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich has said he may not name a starter until mid August.

• The Buffs are playing with just seven healthy defensive linemen right now. Last year, CU played with experience at defensive tackle, but the four current tackles — George Hypolite, Brandon Nicolas, Marcus Jones and Taj Kaynor — have relatively little experience (Hypolite being the exception).

Asked about the situation at DT, Hawkins said: "Obviously we're missing those guys (from last season). I think that's kind of the heart of your defense and we're going to play some guys in there that are, to some degree, more end type of guys. But we'll move them around and be creative with the front, and do some things on the back end to help them out a little bit."

Nicolas transferred from Notre Dame last August, then sat out the fall per NCAA rules. "He's doing all right," Hawkins said, when asked about Nicolas' progress. "Again, we're looking for some continuity." Hawkins said Nicolas is blowing out the rust from sitting out, and still learning the new scheme.


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