Player reactions to today's scrimmage

After a 65-play scrimmage this afternoon at the Dempsey Indoor practice facility, several players were available for comment. Here are the players we were able to speak with and get their perspectives on today's practice.

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TE Joe Toledo 6-6 290 RS-freshman:
"Overall, I think I did a good job today. Mentally I'm kind of overwhelmed right now, but physically I think I got after it and did well. Coach Gilbertson expects a lot out of me right now so I have to get that mental part down. The defense did a nice job. We've been running the same plays for a week so they may have known what was coming a little bit."

Toledo suffered a broken foot last fall but shows no ill effects from it. "My foot is 100%, it's great."

SS Evan Benjamin 6-0 200 RS-freshman:
The former Redmond Mustang had several big hits today. "I was just in the right place at the right time. That's defense, being in coverage and reading where the receivers go. I played strong safety today, my natural position. My instincts, reading everything from the lineman to the quarterback releasing the ball, and being in the right place."

Evan has gotten the lion's share of reps with the ones with Greg Carothers missing the entire spring after shoulder surgery. It's put a lot of focus on him, but he's making the most of his opportunity. "Spring ball is for us to get ready for fall. Having Greg (Carothers) and Owen (Biddle) out gives us young guys some experience. It's going real good, not just for me but all of the defensive backs."

SS Ty Eriks 6-2 218 RS-freshman:
"I really like (safety). There is still a lot of room for improvement so I'll hit the books and learn what I can. I'll look at the films and get it. It's a new position, but it's been going pretty well. I'm having a LOT of fun."

Eriks had a diving interception this afternoon off of a deflection. "I was in coverage like I was supposed to be and when the ball bounced off his chest, I was there to make the catch. I was in the right place at the right time."

QB Taylor Barton 6-2 210 senior:
"There is no comparison. As a team we are so far ahead of where we were last year that it's not even close. I am so far ahead of where I was. I came in this spring off of a real good off-season. I cleaned up my act a little bit and got back to what I do best. That helped. I know what I'm doing now and I'm getting back to what I do best and came into spring with no worries. I'm relaxed out there and just having fun."

Cleaned up his act? What did he mean by that? "I'm getting up earlier in the morning and doing homework every night. Getting back to being a student athlete. For a while there I was a little bit one-dimensional, and it was all football. I'm starting to get back into school and into the community. It reflects on the football field as well."

Barton threw an interception on the first series. "The first series was a little rocky today but that's to be expected. After I relaxed a bit I started making reads and a lot of checks and then did fine. Overall I was very happy with my performance. We have a good amount of our offense in, we just don't have all of our packages in yet. That is to the defense's advantage, but if you compare last year's first scrimmage to today's scrimmage, it's no contest."

New LB Coach Cornell Jackson:
"My goal coming here this spring is to get 11 guys on the run and 11 guys on the pass. If we do that, we'll be in good shape. There was some good and some bad today. The thing I really want to stress to our guys is that we want you to run and we want you to hit. They did that today, I heard guys striking people and that's what I wanted to hear. I saw guys running around and doing what we coached them to do. These guys come here to work, I'm pleased."

Jackson's connection to Washington: "I was in the Pac-10 before from Arizona State so I knew coach Axman when he was the head coach at Northern Arizona. I've known Brent Myers for 12 years and Coach Gilbertson is good friends with Dan Cozetto who was our offensive coordinator at Oregon State."
On Ben Mahdavi, his lone senior linebacker: "I saw what Ben did last year on tape and I know he wishes that he was healthy, but he's out here every day suited up. We want to keep him out of contact because we really want him to be here in the fall."

WR Paul Arnold 6-2 202 senior:
Arnold was named by a Colorado newspaper as one of the recruits who may have received improper equipment and athletic gear on his visit to Boulder during Rick Neuheisel's tenure at CU. Arnold was shocked at the allegations.

"I look up and the next thing I hear is that I'm getting gifts and stuff. I didn't hear about it until it got printed in the paper. I really didn't appreciate that. Nobody ever contacted me, nobody ever asked me about it. Nobody from the NCAA talked to me. I found out about it when I was told about it yesterday."

"I guess they said I got some stuff and gave it to another player. I bought hats from all of my trips just so I could remember them. I bought a hat from Colorado, but I bought a hat from everywhere I went. I didn't give anybody a hat, I'm not going to give them something that I paid for. I didn't know them very well in the first place."

One report said that Arnold had received a CU fleece pullover. Arnold denies this. "I didn't get any fleeces. Like I said, I just bought hats and I don't even wear vests! My arms are big and everything, but they aren't that big (to wear a vest)."

"I still have the hat somewhere, I'm sure I do. But, it's not so hot to wear other school's stuff around here."

That same report said that Arnold was one of the recruits that were allowed to go into the equipment room at Colorado unsupervised. "I don't recall ever going into an equipment room. I can't vouch for that," replied Arnold.

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