Depth Chart Shuffle

Jack Tipton (BSN)

In the wake of Saturday's final fall camp scrimmage, Colorado released its most recent depth chart Tuesday, which features a few mild surprises. Also inside, a Q&A with junior Jack Tipton, and some notes from Tuesday's practice.

Here's a rundown of the mild surprises on the most recent depth chart, released by the team today.

Wide Receivers
Vance Washington is No. 3 behind Alvin Barnett and Dusty Sprague at z-receiver; Tim Lemon is No. 5 behind Marcus Gonzales, Reggie Joseph, Patrick Williams and Evan Judge at x-receiver.

Offensive Line
No surprises.

Tight End
No surprises.

Backfield
Brian White has moved to No. 3, ahead of Bernard Jackson, and behind James Cox and Joel Klatt; the tailback position shakes out: Hugh Charles, Byron Ellis, Mell Holliday, Kevin Moyd; at fullback, Brendan Schaub is listed ahead of Paul Creighton, who is also the No. 3 tight end.

Defensive Line
Zach Jones (who had been practicing inside last week) is listed No. 3 at rush end ahead of Maurice Lucas.

Secondary
Behind starter Lorenzo Sims are Gardner McKay, Stephone Robinson and Ben Burney; Gerett Burl will be backed up by Terry Washington and Terry Wilson (Corey Reid has been out with an injury of late); J.J. Billingsley and Tyrone Henderson have earned the starting safety spots (with Ryan Walters and Dominique Brooks out with injuries). Tom Hubbard is behind Billingsley, while Lionel Harris is listed for now behind Henderson.

Linebackers
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that true freshman Marcus Burton has moved to No. 2 at mike linebacker behind Thaddaeus Washington, and ahead of Joe Sanders and Maurice Cantrell.

Burton has been outspoken that he doesn't want to redshirt if there's an opportunity for him to play this fall. He spent time at all three linebacker positions the past three weeks, but is currently slotted No. 2 behind junior Washington at inside linebacker.

"He ran to the ball (in Saturday's scrimmage); he's just shown a lot of instincts," head coach Gary Barnett said of Burton. "He was a really hard worker in the summer. He's a physical player."

Colorado had not intended to take a linebacker in its 2005 recruiting class, but when Burton — who played on a team at Channelview, Texas, where former Buffalo Cedric Cormier was a coach — showed interest in the Buffs, they decided he was too good a talent to pass up.

Burton played defensive end at Channelview High, but has seemed to make a smooth transition to standing up at inside linebacker.

"It hasn't really been a big transition because during summer I trained as a linebacker because I knew I wasn't going to be big enough to play defensive end," said the 6-foot, 230-pound Burton. "I like it a lot. We move around a lot more and get a lot more hits.

"I think the biggest challenge is just the mental part of the game."

One new face in the CU starting lineup this fall looks to be Jack Tipton. Tipton grew up in Colorado and went to Pomona High School in Arvada. Barring something unforeseen, the fourth-year junior will get his first chance to start at offensive guard for the Buffaloes Sept. 3. The 21-year-old looks absolutely boyish as he breaks into a big grin when you ask him about earning a starting position on the CU offensive line this August.

Prior to this past spring, Tipton was expected to compete with sophomore Edwin Harrison for the starting split guard position. But Harrison injured a shoulder in March and had surgery, keeping him out of spring ball. Harrison just recently was cleared to play at full contact.

Meanwhile, Tipton has shown improvement from spring through the summer and heading into the final two weeks of practice before the Buffs' season opener vs. Colorado State on Sept. 3. He is expected to line up alongside tackles Clint O'Neal and Tyler Polumbus, center Mark Fenton and guard Brian Daniels one the first play from scrimmage.

BSN spoke with Tipton Tuesday.

Q: It's looking like you're going to be a starting guard vs. Colorado State.
Jack Tipton:
Yeah. I've spent a long time waiting for this.

Q: How are you feeling about it?
JT:
Very good. Everything's coming together. We've got a good line this year. We're getting along real good.

Q: Have you allowed yourself to think about what that's going to be like to walk out on the field and be a starter against Colorado State?
JT:
I've been waiting a long time, so it's going to be fun.

Q: Coach Borbely says he's got confidence in you. Tell me what you've done over the past several months to earn that confidence?
JT:
I guess I've just realized I've got two years left. It's now or never. I know all my assignments. I know all the defenses. I know how to get guys out of there.

Q: So has your studying improved?
JT:
Yeah, film study, I've been cracking on that. No matter what they throw at me, I've got it.

Q: What do you weigh right now?
JT:
290.

Q: Is that what you want to play at?
JT:
Yes.

Q: I know you're one of the strongest guys on the team. What's your bench at right now?
JT:
The last time I recorded it was 426 (up from 414 in the spring). I kind of tore my pec, not too bad, but a little bit at the end of the summer. So I had to ease up on it a little toward the end.

Q: Tell me about playing next to Tyler. How's that going?
JT:
It's fun. He's my boy. He's a good kid, he knows what he's doing to. He's real smart with the plays and he likes getting after people. Me and him are just gonna be tearing up that d-tackle and he's got that end on lockdown in pass protection.

I like playing with him, as well as Mark and Brian and Clint, too. We all get along perfect. Like a little o-line family.

Q: Which game are you most looking forward to playing?
JT:
Besides CSU I would say Nebraska. Every game is important, but those two are at the top of my list. You've always got to get up for CSU and you've always got to get up for Big Red at the end. Like I said, every game is important, and we've got Miami and Texas. It's going to be a tough year, but it'll be fun.

NOTES
Brooks not certain how long he's out
Junior safety Dominique Brooks suffered a high-ankle sprain in Saturday's scrimmage when he slipped on a play near the goal line. Barnett said Monday Brooks would "probably" miss four weeks. On Tuesday, Brooks said it was still up in the air how much time he'd spend out of the lineup. That's the nature of high-ankle sprains.

"A high-ankle sprain, they depend — some people are four, some people two," he said about recovery time. "I don't know yet. I'm just trying to get back quick as I can."

New faces
Twelve to 16 potential walk-ons were going through physical tests Tuesday, hoping to get an official invitation to join the team this fall. The team is allowed 105 total players during fall camp. Once school starts, other potential walk-ons may try out for the team.

Also, Barnett said the Buffs plan to have two-thirds of their CSU game plan installed by the weekend.

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