QB Race Far From Over

The Buffs conducted their first scrimmage of fall camp Sunday evening at Folsom Field. While it produced a better showing that the spring game four months ago, it's evident the new CU offense is still in its infant stages. Meanwhile, Terry Washington led all tacklers on defense. Inside, notes and quotes from the scrimmage.

• The team went through a whopping 125 plays, including punts and kickoffs. Unlike under the previous regime, the quarterbacks were live and the No. 1 offense played the No. 1 defense, twos vs. twos, etc. The team will do that again in scrimmage No. 2 on Friday.

• There were roughly 500 people at the scrimmage, though most left when the overcast skies erupted in a heavy rainstorm three-fourths of the way through.

• No surprises in the starting lineup on offense, except that Dusty Sprague – though dressed – didn't play. Not sure why. On defense, Ben Burney was playing safety next to J.J. Billingsley with the first team as Ryan Walters continues to nurse a sore thigh. Terrence Wheatley and Lorenzo Sims were at the corners.

• With Brian White under center with the first team on every series it ran, up until the very end when James Cox got a series with the ones, the offense failed to get into the end zone. White went 7-of-9 for 41 yards and an interception. He was also sacked twice. The rushing offense also failed to get untracked against the No. 1 defense Sunday. Hugh Charles found little running room on his 10 carries that netted 29 yards.

• The biggest surprise on offense was the play of Cox, who had some presence and showed he's shaken off any rust that may have developed after missing spring ball. Except for one late series, Cox played exclusively with the second team against the second-team defense.

• Meanwhile, Bernard Jackson racked up big yards on the ground, rushing 8 times for 128 yards, much of it coming on a long boot out of the shotgun midway through the scrimmage. It came against the third team defense, however, which was comprised of seven players who were playing high school ball eight months ago. Still, you've got to think the coaches will find a way to develop a package around Jackson that they can use regularly this season if he isn't the starter.

• So, the quarterback race is definitely not over. Cox made some plays that he hadn't in practice this past week. Remember, this is the first week the coaches have really seen him play after he missed nearly all of spring with the hand injury. His work in the scrum earned him some more reps with the ones in the coming week, Mark Helfrich said. Jackson may have made up a little ground on the two in front of him, too.

Cody Hawkins is not Boy Wonder, but he looks like a gamer. Playing on and against the third team, he led the most sustained drive of the day. He went 3-8 for 65 yards and also picked up 16 yards on the ground and led the offense to one touchdown.

• Overall, Helfrich called the quarterback play "ragged. Some guys did some good things, some guys did some not so good things. It's a growing process. …I think we're always behind where we think we should be. We have high expectations for that position and we'll continue to have high expectations."

• Hawkins had a similar take. But was generally pleased — much more so than following the spring game when the offense was lifeless. "We showed some signs; some sparks in there. We need to get game time tempo going a little bit earlier on. It took the guys a little bit of time to warm up. We threw the ball away a couple times. (But) I think we're building, I think we're getting better every time out. Since the Friday afternoon practice, I think we've made a push upward."

• Some very good news is that (besides some miscues by backup punt team personnel), the team committed just one penalty. That's remarkable considering the Buffs nearly led the nation in penalties a year ago.

• And, the offense didn't put the ball on the carpet all evening. There were, however, four interceptions. Joel Adams picked off two Jackson floaters. White threw behind a receiver and it bounced off his foot and into Jordon Dizon's arms.

Patrick Williams played quarterback in high school, but showed why he's a receiver in college…in two ways. He had three catches for 20 yards. He also floated one of the uglier ducklings you'll see in a college practice on an end around. Terrence Wheatley bagged the errant pass and returned it a ways after the interception.

• Tailback Mell Holliday is definitely out of the doghouse after not spending the summer in Boulder, but working as a welder back home in Omaha. You've got to love Holliday's casual confidence, as well as his shifty, weight-forward running style. "Everybody needs an offseason program. I don't think it matters exactly where you do it, but as long as you're still working, you know…," he said afterwards.

Holliday had 43 yards on six carries. Asked if he thought he was pushing Charles for the No. 1 tailback spot, he said: "I push him every day. Everybody's out here trying to get better. He's doing his job, I'm pushing him, he's pushing me…that's what we doin'."

Hawkins had some praise for the senior still awaiting his first-ever action in a Division IA game: "He did a nice job. He's got good body movement, he's got a little punch, and he's got some nice vision. He made some nice cuts. The welder's showing up."

• The No. 1 defensive line got some nice push all evening. Abraham Wright had a couple sacks, and Brandon Nicolas found himself in the backfield more than a few times. Overall, the ones played solid on defense. Marcus Burton was very active with the second-team defense.

Riar Geer had perhaps the best offensive play of the night, a circus catch over the middle as he was falling to the ground.

• They'll platoon at receiver and walk-on freshman Scott McKnight is definitely in the rotation. Stephone Robinson didn't play much. He's been nursing a sore calf.

• There could be some shuffling in the depth chart after the coaches look at film.

White; 7-9-41 1 INT
Cox 7-14-89
Jackson 4-8-37 2 INT
Hawkins 3-8-65

Williams 0-1 1 INT

Creighton 4-19
Williams 3-20
Ham 1-48
DeVree 2-18

Charles 10-29
Ellis 8-26
Holliday 6-43
Moyd 5-37
Sumler 4-14
Jackson 7-128 2 TD
Hawkins 4-16
Nabors 3-6 1 TD

Field Goals
Crosby 66 yards, 37, 33
Eberhart 39
Gardner 46

Te. Washington 9
Thad Washington 7
Wright 6
Burton 5

Complete statistics in pdf format: August 13 Scrimmage Stats

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