Charles, Smith Back To Work

Hugh Charles and Josh Smith were back at practice in full pads Tuesday for the first time since their respective injuries. Both expect to contribute Saturday. How much remains to be seen.

The buzz word around the CU program this week is "speed." As in Florida State's speed. Two of the fastest offensive players on CU's team, tailback Hugh Charles and receiver Josh Smith, practiced Tuesday, and should be able to play against Florida State. The team wore full pads Tuesday and plans to do the same Wednesday.

Charles, a senior, came up limping the first time he touched the ball in the CSU game. He spent the following week rehabbing his strained hamstring. He said the leg was "coming along" after Tuesday's practice.

"I feel pretty good about it, especially after today," he said. "I'm pushing it pretty hard and I'll be full go by Saturday."

He said that due to not being able to run full speed recently, the leg is a little weaker than normal. But Charles added he'll push through the soreness and be ready by Saturday.

Charles said having to miss a travel date with his teammates was an experience he'd not like to repeat. The senior spent last Saturday watching tennis and golf before tuning in to the CU-ASU game.

"I was a hermit crab," he said. "It was a bad feeling. I didn't feel like I should be (at home), and I didn't want to be seen out in public."

Smith, meanwhile, saw his first full practice since bruising a kidney during the team's final scrimmage of the preseason. He spent four nights in a hospital following the injury, and missed the Buffs' first two games.

Position coach Eric Kiesau said Smith was in better physical shape than he expected today.

"He's done a little extra running with Pit to keep in shape," Kiesau said. "We've just got to get him back into a football mentality."

Kiesau said how much Smith will contribute Saturday will depend more on how much of the game plan the true freshman is able to absorb than how well he's doing physically.

"We just have to be smart with what he can do and how much we can give him," the coach said.

Smith practiced with some extra padding around his midsection on Tuesday. He'll likely wear the padding Saturday. He said it wasn't a hindrance.

Smith was in on two plays when the team was "live," but he didn't take any shots. Kiesau would like to see how he responds to live action in Wednesday's practice.


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