Goree Enjoying Opportunity

It happens every year in most any team sport. The veteran, the guy who's expected to be in the starting lineup, gets injured. He has to go to the sidelines. The setback provides an opportunity for a younger player to gain valuable experience. It speeds up his process, helps the team's depth at a particular position.

This spring, redshirt freshman Eugene Goree is taking advantage of senior Brandon Nicolas' time out of the lineup. Nicolas missed last Saturday's scrimmage and is sitting out this week, the final days of spring ball, to nurse a sore shoulder. It's not a serious injury, and Nicolas is expected to start in the fall at nose tackle on the CU defensive line. Since Nicolas has two years of starting experience under his belt, why risk real injury to the shoulder by playing with it in its current condition?

Goree is enjoying the opportunity to get after it.

"It's great being in there with the first defense and getting a feel for the tempo," said Goree Tuesday. "It's a little rough (going up against first-team center Daniel Sanders). But he's getting me better."

Sanders actually missed Tuesday's practice, which pitted Goree against Keenan Stevens and Shawn Daniels much of the afternoon. Goree had a good showing.

"Today was probably his best day of practice this spring," defensive line coach Romeo Bandison said. "He played real physical today. There's some old habits we've got to get him out of. But you can see he's coming along. We think he's going to be a good player."

Goree is the youngest member of his class. He wont turn 19 until after the Buffs' first game this fall. He's also among the team's biggest players, certainly on the defensive side. He weighs 296, and says he expects to play at 300 sooner, rather than later.

Can he become a quality backup this fall at a position where Nicolas is the only proven player?

"We'll see," Bandison said. "He has the tools. He needs to be more disciplined, but that comes with experience. With age."

• Bandison said if CU used a true "50" defense — the one they employed when the Buffs won the national championship in 1990 – Goree would make an ideal nose guard, Bandison said. CU uses a 3-4 look on occasion, and would like to use it even more this fall. But it's different than the "50" look in that CU's 3-4 used more traditional (smaller) linebacker on the outside than defensive ends on the edge.

• Sophomore tailback Brian Lockridge re-aggravated a hernia in Saturday's scrimmage. He's not been practicing full contact this week and will not play in the April 19 spring game. He's scheduled to have surgery to repair the hernia April 24 in Denver.

Lockridge said doctors have told him to expect a four to six week recovery period. He should be fine by the opening of August camp. Meanwhile, not one to want to be far from the action, Lockridge continues to dress in full gear even though he's not really practicing. Most players don't wear shoulder pads when they're injured.

• The spring game will kick off at 1 p.m. at Folsom Saturday. But events for kids begin at 10:30 a.m. It's usually a fun, family friendly affair.

Dan Hawkins said the team's scrimmage will be similar to how things were run the past two Saturdays.

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