Bandison Pleased With D-line Play

Defensive line coach Romeo Bandison was generally pleased with the play of his unit in Sunday's scrimmage. Inside, Bandison talks about the line, including tackle Brandon Nicolas. Also inside, notes from Monday, including a player dismissal and position move.

BSN: What are your thoughts on the defensive tackles after watching game tape from Sunday's scrimmage?
Romeo Bandison
: George Hypolite was solid. He's got to clean up a few technique things, but he was solid. He graded out well and made very few mistakes. He's a smart guy so he's not going to mess up a whole lot. It's just when he doesn't do his technique is when he gets in a little trouble. But as far as assignments, he was very good.

Brandon Nicolas was a good surprise. I knew he was going to do well. I mean, I trust him. But he did a lot better than I thought he would. He hung in there in his gap, made a few plays, got to the QB. So I was very pleased with him.

BSN: Alonzo Barrett seemed pretty active.
: Yeah, and he got a lot of reps. He played the most. He got about 58 reps. He got quite a few opportunities to make plays, and he also graded out very well.

BSN: Is Marcus Jones going to help you guys this year?
: We're trying to get him involved and want to give him something to do. He has some work to do, but he's improved from the spring. Actually, he did some good things too (Sunday). He did a lot better with the things I want to see him improve on, so he's making improvements. There's certain things right now he has to improve on, and certain things he's pretty good at. As he keeps getting better, we'll get him more in the mix.

BSN: Any movement in the depth chart after watching the film?
: No. Nobody did really exceptionally better than the guys in front of them. But I'm trying to get some guys like Maurice Lucas and Alonzo some more reps with the ones and see how they do against better competition. That's what we're doing right now, trying to figure out who's going to play and who's going to do what.

BSN: How many guys will you typically use in a game?
: When I have really good depth, I was using six. Four guys starting, then two guys rotating a lot. And two more guys who played 15 or 20 plays. Last year I didn't have that luxury. But here, I think a lot of guys are going to play a lot. I expect to be using eight guys.

Monday Notes
• No big surprise, but at least we now know it's official. Senior safety Tyrone Henderson has been dismissed from the team permanently for violating team rules. Henderson had started 22 games during the past two seasons. While it appeared sophomore Ryan Walters had the inside track on the starting free safety spot this fall (alongside J.J. Billingsley), Henderson's absence has opened the door for sophomore Ben Burney, who has been running with the first team at safety the past several days while Walters nurses a sore thigh that's not supposed to be serious.

• Speaking of injuries, Hawkins' philosophy of when to tackle and when not to in fall camp is a departure from the previous' staff's. Two things are different. Under Hawkins, the team goes full speed when in full pads, but — except for a handful of plays — doesn't tackle all the way to the ground. Under Gary Barnett, whenever the team went full speed in full pads, they tackled. Meanwhile, in scrimmages under Barnett, typically, the first-team offense and defense rarely went up against their first-team counterparts. The team went ones vs. ones, twos vs. twos Sunday.

Hawkins said he's been doing it this way for 10 years, and he believes it makes a difference in avoiding injuries. It's a philosophy adopted by some pro teams, including the Denver Broncos. "We've got to have healthy guys," he says. Through eight days of practice, there's been no significant (season ending) injuries. Bumps and bruises, however, are beginning to show up.

• Though he suited up, Dusty Sprague was held out of Sunday's scrimmage with a thigh bruise. Walters didn't practice Monday, and Edwin Harrison and Marcus Jones banged up their shoulders in Monday's practice, and Terry Washington was held out with a sore shoulder. Walters is day to day, but they hope to have him in Friday's scrimmage. Meanwhile, receiver Jarrell Yates was back in pads and practicing after missing some time with a separated shoulder.

• Sophomore Maurice Cantrell has had a difficult time climbing the depth chart at linebacker since he came to Boulder in 2004 from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After practicing one period a day at fullback last week, he was moved full-time to offense Monday. It's an experiment. Coaches think he has promise there, but if it doesn't work, he'll be back on defense.

• Those who left Lorenzo Sims in the margin of the page when writing up their own depth charts over the summer overlooked two things. Sims is nothing if not a tough and cagey veteran (25 career starts). Maybe more importantly, his leg — which bothered him off and on last fall and spring — is much better. At this point, he's a solid No. 1 corner opposite Terrence Wheatley.

• Coaches are looking for more consistency out of the receiving corps as a whole.

• After looking at film from Sunday's scrimmage, Hawkins seemed upbeat about the offense. Certainly far from panic mode. While the first team offense mostly sputtered against the first team defense, he alluded to it being minor — and fixable — mistakes by one player on particular plays rather than the entire offense being out of sync.

"The thing that happens, particularly on offense, when there's a breakdown you think, ‘Oh the offense is not (working),'" he said. "It might be just one guy. It's something small. When you're watching the game, you think, ‘Oh, the quarterback took a sack.' Well, you got one offensive lineman going to wrong way.

"That's the big thing, just pinpointing a lot of those things."

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