March 13 Practice Report

Colorado was in shells for the team's second day of spring practices on Tuesday. Inside, notes from the session.

• OL Erick Faatagi, recovering from 2006 knee surgery, was working at practice today in some of the offensive linemen drills. He didn't partake in the light scrimmage situations, but was doing some drills without a helmet.

• When the team was working on punt return, D.J. Dykes, Chapelle Brown, Scott McKnight and Chase McBride were the returners. It's obvious Brown, who is playing WR this spring, played DB last year.

• A player to keep an eye on next year is cornerback Calvin Bini. He was the Kentucky state champion in both the 300-m and 110-m hurdles as a senior in high school. But he ran track just to stay in shape – football was his main sport. Though he had some interest from Miami of Ohio, he weighed just over 150 pounds, so he played at Kentucky Weslyan the past two years.

Bini's father lives in the area, and he got a meeting with the CU coaching staff in December to explore joining the Buffs. Bini brought a highlight reel, his stats and accolades, and Dan Hawkins and Greg Brown were impressed enough to ask him to transfer and walk on. Brown especially likes Bini's wheels. He's sitting out a transfer year this season, but is participating in spring ball. He'll have two to play two beginning in 2008.

Bini was 165 pounds in December, but the 5-11 player is now up to 178 pounds. He played corner and wide out at Kentucky Weslyan. But he's the kind of player that could make an impact as a special teams gunner in a couple years. And he may give Terrence Wheatley a run at the "fastest guy on the team" title when the Buffs do their 40s later this spring.

• Special visitor of the day: Quarterback of the 2001 Big 12 Champions, Bobby Pesavento took in some of practice Tuesday.

R.J. Brown's rise from walk on, to scholarship player to team tri-captain for the 2007 season is a good story. The team voted for 2007 captains after last season. Brown received the word he and Bernard Jackson and Jordon Dizon earned the honor in January.

"You've got to deserve it," Brown said. "I feel like I want to get out there and prove that I deserve it. But it's really exciting."

• Brown said things are moving along a lot faster after two practices than they were last spring and fall. It's a sentiment Coach Hawkins agrees with. Efficiency has improved "in the way we run around and knowing what the drills are," Hawkins said. He added that it took all of spring ball in 2006 to get to what the punt team was accomplishing in Monday's practice in punt drills.

• In his second practice in a CU uniform, QB Nick Nelson is still learning the ropes, as you might expect. Hawkins said he's the type of player he expects will show tremendous strides as he gets more practices under his belt.

"He's such a competitor. He gets frustrated when he doesn't do everything exactly right, which is a good trait to have," Hawkins said. "But he's picking things up pretty well. He's going to be fine when he gets the pads on."

• CU will wear shoulder pads Thursday. A scrimmage is set for Saturday at 10 a.m.

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