Thornton, Ike return to practice; Kalen to start

Colorado game week football practice notes:

Kalen Thornton, who returned to practice Tuesday after missing all of last week's workouts and the OSU game, will start at RDE Saturday vs. CU. With Thornton back in the line-up, Maurice Gordon has moved back to DT and will start in the middle along with Marcus Tubbs. Carl Reese said O.J. McClintock is ready to step into the rotation at DE this weekend as well. McClintock will back-up Cory Redding at LDE while Jermain Anderson will back-up Thornton on the right side. Because of his size, Anderson is good for approximately 20 quality snaps at DE each week. Coming off his knee injury, Thornton's projected snap count going in to Colorado is uncertain, but Reese said, "If he plays well we'll play him as much as we can." Marcus Wilkins, who backed up Redding through the first six weeks of the season, could return to linebacker where he is capable of providing depth at all three spots. With the injured players returning, the defensive coordinator said both the tackle and end positions are four deep. In the middle, aside from Tubbs, who Reese said has been playing well for last three weeks, and Gordon, the four-deep includes Adam Doiron and Stevie Lee. Mack Brown praised the Oklahoma State game play of Doiron earlier this week and Reese Wednesday tossed out some good news on the progress of Lee. "Stevie's had the best two days of practice since he's been here," the defensive coordinator said. "This is his kinda game, bore holes and stay low." Reese said Lee has gotten some practice snaps this week with the first-team D. . . . With the Horns expected to play predominately 4-3 against the Buffs' running attack, Reese reiterated his intention to continue to split the WILL 'backer snaps between Everick Rawls and Derrick Johnson. Against the Cowboys last weekend, Rawls, who started the game, totaled 33 snaps to Johnson's 30, according to the DC. . . . Greg Davis said, ideally, his offense tries to use seven or eight play action passes in a game. Against OSU, that number totaled six or seven, he said, with four going for completions, including two of the Horns' five aerial TDs. . . . The coordinator said that the coaches did not simplify or change the pass protection schemes for true freshman tailback Cedric Benson against the Cowboys. "We went in with normal complement of throws and protections," he said. . . . "This will be our most physical game all year," Brown said this week. "Offensively, we want to do the same things we've done each week except for OU: be physical, be balanced, with backs gaining yards after contact and the OL providing protection and holes (for the backs)." . . . The head coach said CU QB Craig Ochs is being compared by some to John Elway. . . . Victor Ike is well and has had a good week of practice, Brown said. Ike will play, getting snaps at tailback, and will return to his kick return role (alongside Ervis Hill).

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