The team went through what Dan Hawkins said will be a typical Sunday practice following a game. Most of the players who played in Saturday's 19-10 loss to Montana State were in shorts and jerseys. The rest of the players were in full pads, and took most of the reps.
The players in shorts and jerseys, however, took part in a grueling 45 to 50-minute conditioning session. For a bystander, it appeared to go beyond conditioning to punishment for the loss. But it was actually a normal Sunday session, augmented with some conditioning work for three costly penalties in Saturday's game.
"That's pretty typical," senior tight end Paul Creighton said about the conditioning work. "We have our average Sunday conditioning, which is a pretty good go. And then on top of that we had a late hit in the game and then two really blatant holding calls."
Hawkins confirmed the penalties added onto the conditioning the players owed on Sunday.
"We had a late hit," he said. "There's always going to be a little bit of holding, but the hold on the kickoff return – that was a takedown. And the hold on the long pass that got called back, that was a takedown too. I'm not putting up with that."
Creighton, who joined the team in 2002, has seen some highs and lows. The veteran called Saturday's game "an embarrassing loss," that's "a tough thing to be a part of." But he said right now the team has not splintered. The focus is forward.
"I think everyone's anxious to just put it behind us," he said. "We're going to be a good team. And we're all still here, we're all still one unit.
"It's the first game of the year. We're not rolling in anything. We're coming back together."
Hawkins told the team after practice, the loss was 6 feet under.
"Coach said, ‘We buried it,'" Creighton said. "We're moving on to CSU like it never even happened. We're learning from it and then gunning to beat CSU.
"We know now what it's like to be down. And that's about as low as you can get. But now we're looking forward, not back. And that's the way we're going to go with it."
• After watching film of the loss, Hawkins was sticking to the same story he had directly following the game Saturday. He said little breakdowns caused the team to stumble.
"You come away from that and everyone thinks, ‘Oh, it's a debacle,'" he said after Sunday's practice. "It's really not. It's one little thing each time. If you were to take four or five of those plays – let's say we got that (completion to Dan Goettsch) and there wasn't a hold; let's say we got that fumble. Those things translate into other things. But when you keep having water in the gas tank, you sputter and that not only affects your efficiency, but it affects your motivation.
"It was a lot of those little kind of things that have to get ironed out, and we will."
Asked if he could understand why people outside the program might be so frustrated with the loss, especially after the Buffs finished on such a down note last season, Hawkins came up with an analogy for a sportswriter.
"Let's just say everybody wants you to have 10 pages of sports (coverage) in your paper every day, but you don't have 10 pages of sports," Hawkins said. "You're on the inside and you understand why you don't have 10 pages. You can maybe identify with those people (on the outside who are frustrated), but you're going, ‘There's some other realities that we're dealing with.'
"Those are the things you have to address – the things you can control and the things you can address and things you can work on.
"By the same token, I've (been on the winning side of a big game). You go beat somebody and then all of a sudden everybody's got you in the Rose Bowl, and they're elated. But you have to go ‘Guys, let's focus on what we're trying to get done.' That's really what you consume yourself with."
• Starting guard Daniel Sanders said on Sunday that he injured his back early in the week last week and missed most of the practices. He had hoped to play, but when game day came, team doctors thought he wasn't ready. Redshirt-freshman Devin Head played in his place. Senior Jack Tipton didn't play because he was "still dinged," Hawkins said Sunday. After Sunday's practice, Sanders said, "I should be practicing full go on Tuesday." And while the team's 45 minutes of conditioning work looked brutal from the sidelines, Sanders said it wasn't too bad.
"It was nice because I've been just watching the last week. It was good to get out there and stretch everything," he said.
Asked if Tipton or defensive end Alex Ligon would play vs. CSU, Hawkins only said, "I hope so."