Thursday Practice News and Notes

Colorado conducted its third spring practice Thursday. Inside, news and notes from the workout.

• The Buffs went through a two-hour workout inside the practice bubble in shorts, jerseys and helmets. They'll take the next week off for spring break and reconvene April 1 for their next practice. Head coach Dan Hawkins told the players to take the next week and get their mind off of football. But he told them to remember they're always Buffaloes and to conduct themselves accordingly. "You're always a Buff. You're always my son. Your last name is Hawkins and you better remember that," the coach said when asked what he told the squad.

• The Colorado offense has practiced a no-huddle look through much of the first thee practices – the kind of Missouri-styled system that calls for the entire team to look over at the sideline before the ball is snapped. It may be more than a situational switch. Asked if CU was installing an entirely new offense this spring, Hawkins grinned. "We're always evolving," he said.

It'll be something to watch as the spring sessions progress.

Kyle Black, who moved to quarterback from wide receiver this spring, is the most mobile of the quarterbacks. He was the Centennial League (Colorado) offensive player of the year twice as a dual-threat quarterback at ThunderRidge High, before redshirting in 2006 at Air Force as an option quarterback.

The reason for Black's move to his old position was to see if they could work him in to the offense in the way that Bernard Jackson was intended to be used last year. He's got some versatility, and could see the field this fall in some situations. He also gives the CU defense a mobile quarterback to practice against some – someone who's a running threat like Todd Reesing, of Kansas, and Chase Daniel, of Missouri, dual threats who gave the Buffs fits in 2007.

• The learning curve turned steep in Thursday's practice for new offensive tackle Nate Solder. He was getting beaten by defensive ends and outside linebackers in one on one drill. His head's got to be swimming right now. Ryan Miller, the sophomore, was gobbling rushers up on the other side of the drill.

• DT Taj Kaynor was at practice for the first time this spring. OG Erick Faatagi was still not out on the practice field. He's missed the first three days tending to class work.

• Though ideally he'd like to have captains decided upon by the end of spring ball, Hawkins said coaches are still working with a group of seniors to develop some leadership skills, and they'll decide on captains "when it's the right time."

• R-Fr. quarterback Matt Ballenger threw a beautiful 40-yard floating strike to Patrick Williams, who made a finger tip grab to end the team's scrimmage. The play of the day, however, came a few minutes later when DE Conrad Obi snagged a kickoff over his head, fell backwards and hung on to the ball. The team didn't have to run after that.

• Though they've yet to use them, the staff has created a couple of Wheel of Fortune devices that feature punishment and reward doled out at the end of practice. One of the punishments (for turnovers) includes some time in "Pit's Pleasure Palace."

• WR Josh Smith spent some time on the slopes with the ski team. In return, a CU skier wore a No. 1 jersey and worked out with the wide receivers for a solid 90 minutes Thursday.

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