Bandison made it clear that the low numbers doesn't affect how much he pushes his players in practice. "I treat ‘em just as bad if I have 16 guys or (seven) guys," he said, grinning. Evidence of that was the fact that Bandison was speaking with two reporters 15 minutes after practice had ended, and in between field questions, the coach was directing lineman George Hypolite in a series of post-practice conditioning runs.
In early March, it looked as though the Buffs would enter spring ball with better numbers at defensive end than at tackle. But Ligon, Zimmerer and now Barrett's situations have left only ends Walter Boye-Doe, Maurice Lucas and Abraham Wright to man the edges. George Hypolite is moving between tackle and end, with former end Taj Kaynor playing inside, along with Brandon Nicolas and Marcus Jones.
The lack of experience on the interior is a concern for the Buffs. Only Hypolite, a second-year sophomore, has significant playing time already under his belt. And none of the tackles fit Bandison's idea of a prototype at the position — a 6-4, 290-pounder that runs a 4.8 and can change direction like a linebacker. But the affable Bandison says not many college teams can field those type of players.
"Everybody wants those guys," he said. "But we want guys that play hard, that love football. I want good guys with good motors that always go fast. Guys that can change directions. If you're 6-foot and 270 pounds and you do all those things, I'll take it."
Here is some more of what Bandison had to say after Thursday's practice:
BSN: How is Taj Kaynor doing on the inside? Is he a guy that can get to that prototype size?
Bandison: Yeah. He's definitely got the frame. But he's a freshman. He's like all the other guys, he's just got to work. It's going to take some time.
BSN: Marcus Jones has been here four years and hasn't played a lot. Do you feel like you can get him to the point where he can contribute in the fall?
Bandison: I think he will. I think part of the reason why Marcus didn't play was his work ethic. That's changed now. But you've got four years of habits (to break).
He's doing well in the weight room. The strength coach was really pleased with his offseason. He was excited. You can see him work. He's trying. We'll find a role for him. I don't know what it is yet. Like I told most of the seven guys I have, I want to get them all involved somehow.
We'll see how it goes. He needs to have a good rest of spring and summer. But he'll be in the mix somehow. He'll be on the field. We've just got to work with him and get him better, and he's got to want it. As long as he keeps working, he'll be on the field.
BSN: Is there anything specific you're looking for from tomorrow's scrimmage?
Bandison: Guys working hard. There's certain things I'd like to see as far as the way guys are using their hands and footwork. Those are the main things I look for. We're working on our footwork a lot and getting our hands and feet working together.
When I watch the film from the scrimmage, I want to see guys improving on that.
BSN: Are you teaching new technique as well as the new scheme?
Bandison: It's a new scheme and some new technique. Some of the stuff is similar. A lot of the stuff these guys did was similar. So I don't have to give them a lot of new stuff. I'm just kind of tweaking some things.