Washington, Dizon on Butkus Watch List

For the second-consecutive year, two CU Buffaloes are on the Butkus Award Watch List. Senior Thaddaeus Washington and junior Jordon Dizon, both inside linebackers, are on the list, which was released today. Also inside, notes from Thursday's practice, including an update on the punting situation.

A year ago, Thaddaeus Washington and then-senior Brian Iwuh were on the Butkus Watch List. This time around, junior Jordon Dizon joins Washington on the list for the award given to the best college linebacker in the country.

The CU linebackers are two of seven from the Big 12 on the watch list. Oklahoma also has two linebackers on the list. There are 65 players total on the list.

Washington, who led CU with 112 tackles in 2005. He praised his position coach, Brian Cabral, after Thursday morning's practice.

"Everybody knows Colorado produces great linebackers," Washington said. "Coach Cabral is a great coach and he knows how to develop outstanding players. That's what he has always done and that's what he is known for. We put in the effort but he is the one who makes us who we are as players."

Dizon had 61 tackles in 2005, and has played beside Washington since his freshman season in ‘04. The two players have developed a close bond over the past two years.

"Thaddaeus is a real quiet guy," Dizon said. "He doesn't open up to a lot of people. But I think of him as close as my brother. We share everything with each other. I love that guy."

Dizon said the closeness off the field has transferred onto the field.

"We trust in each other tremendously," he said. "If I'm supposed to sit outside but I go inside, he'll go outside. We have this little inverse thing going where if I do my job wrong, I know he's right behind me (to fix it). If he does his job wrong, he's knows I'm right behind him.

"You have a sense of security, and I love that."

Together with sophomore Brad Jones, Washington and Dizon hope to be a formidable middle line of defense for the Buffs this year. Dizon said Jones, who is expected to start for the graduated Iwuh this fall, has been playing well of late.

"Brad's fitting in perfect," Dizon said. "He's getting the job done. He's still learning, he's still growing, but he's night and day from what he was last year."

And like Washington, Dizon credited Cabral for getting onto the Butkus list.

"He's a tough guy. He'll never be satisfied. This guy is so hard to play for, but he is the best guy you will ever have as a coach. He'll pick on the details.

He's just one of those coaches that are hard to play for, but he'll get you where you want to go."

As for head coach Dan Hawkins, where he'd like the two inside linebackers to go is all the way to the Butkus Finalist list, he said Thursday. The Butkus Award Watch List will be trimmed to 10 semi-finalists on Oct. 19. That list will be cut down to three finalists Nov. 9.

Colorado has had two Butkus Award winners (Alfred Williams, 1990; Matt Russell, 1996), and a third finalist (Ted Johnson, 1994) in its history. The 2006 winner will be announced Dec. 9.

Thursday Notes
• The Buffs practiced Thursday morning, but Hawkins cancelled the afternoon practice. Players were scheduled to help students move in from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday.

• Receiver Charlie Sherman's days as a football player may be over. Sherman had surgery on his foot and ankle three months ago. During the surgery, doctors had to cut his Achilles heel and break two bones in his foot, trying to correct a condition that led to chronic ankle sprains. Sherman said Thursday he wasn't sure if he could play again, and was supposed to talk to Hawkins about his future.

• Unlike in recent years when they used three fields, the team has practiced on two practice fields — one with a synthetic turf, the other with a natural turf — this fall camp. However, the wear on the natural turf field has been so severe that the grounds crew re-painted the field lines prior to this morning's practice, and there are once again three fields. Hawkins said the three are regulation width.

• Hawkins said Thursday he's not concerned about Tyrone Henderson knowing too much of CU's playbook to give Montana State any kind of advantage Sept. 2. Henderson, who was dismissed from the Buffs for unspecified reasons this month, transferred to Montana State. Henderson can play this year since MSU is a Division I-AA school.

Hawkins said he usually won't grant a release for a player to transfer to a foe, but made an exception this time.

According to Hawkins, MSU was Henderson's only prospect. Henderson's father called Hawkins to ask the coach to grant the release.

"The kid's got to go to school, he's got to graduate. So we tried to help him out a little bit," Hawkins said. "But normally, I wouldn't do that."

Henderson started most of CU's games at safety the past two seasons.

• Special teams coach Kent Riddle on Thursday told his top two punters, redshirt-freshman Matt DiLallo and junior Isaac Garden, the next few days will be crucial in determining who will win the starting job. Right now, Garden — who has been a tad more consistent this camp — has the edge.

Friday's scrimmage will be the big test, but Riddle said he wants the job straightened out by Tuesday. He added, however, that they may find opportunities for the punter who isn't named the starter, as well.

"We don't have to relegate one to the bench all the time," Riddle said.

DiLallo has improved since the spring, but he said Thursday he needs to be more consistent.

Riddle called placekicker Mason Crosby his "ace in the hole.

"Is he in the picture? Yes. But he doesn't have to be," Riddle said. "We're trying to make one of those other guys be the guy."

• Speaking of punters, former Buff John Torp was at practice earlier this week. Torp had a free agent tryout with the Minnesota Vikings this summer, but was recently released. He is, however, in Wisconsin today for a tryout with the Green Bay Packers.

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