March 19 Practice Report

Inside, notes from Monday's practice, including thoughts from receiver Dusty Sprague, news on an unfortunate injury situation, and a big-time visitor.

• Redshirt-freshman receiver Scotty McKnight broke his ankle in Saturday's scrimmage. Head coach Dan Hawkins said on Monday it's likely that McKnight will miss the remainder of spring practices.

A handful of players were not in pads Monday, as well, including Ryan Walters, Daniel Sanders.

• The team ended their practice on the ground doing mental visualization exercises. Hawkins said they did a little bit of it last year, but are emphasizing it more this spring.

"We kind of have them doing several mental practices each day," he said.

• Another thing the staff is emphasizing this spring is a Leadership Circle. It involves roughly a couple of players from each position, and they meet weekly with Coach Hawkins. It's an educational situation where Hawkins is trying to cultivate leadership in some of the players.

• Visitors: Highly touted New Mexico prep quarterback Landry Jones was at practice Monday with his parents. The 6-5 signal-caller from Artesia, N.M., has offers from Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin and Stanford, as well as CU. He and his parents spent some time after Monday's practice speaking with Hawkins. 2007 signee Lamont Smith was also at practice. Former Buffalo Marcus Washington, who coaches at Ridge View Academy in Denver, brought some of his pupils to the practice.

• Monday's end-of-practice competition included five offensive linemen lining up for a 22-yard field goal. Make it and the team doesn't run, miss and they run a gasser. Edwin Harrison and Wes Palazzi went old school and kicked straight on, instead of soccer style, and made the field goals. The other three linemen missed in a variety of entertaining ways.

• Senior Dusty Sprague led the team with three catches in Saturday's scrimmage. He said the offense has a long ways to go, but players felt good after the scrum, in light of the offensive struggles last spring and August camp. Sprague pointed to experience and improved chemistry as positives right now.

"It's great to have a year under your belt," he said. "Also, the chemistry on the team is great right now, everybody's getting along. I think that's just a year of being together. And none of us want to go through a year like we did last year."

Asked about the two quarterbacks people outside the program are least familiar with, Cody Hawkins and Nick Nelson — both competing with last year's starter Bernard Jackson — Sprague said: "Cody's a leader. He gets out there and he knows the offense real well. He definitely talks and does everything a good leader does. And he throws an accurate ball.

"Nick's the same way. He was a heckuva junior college player. He came from the same school as Colt Brennan, and I think he even took some of Colt's records. He throws an accurate ball too. It's going to be interesting, they've got about (9) more practices left to battle in the spring, and then we've got summer workouts.

"I think it's great for the team — it's great at any position — when you've got competition.

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