When Thomas Perez finally got the OK to join the team, he said he was relieved. He had been watching from the sidelines since the Buffs began August camp on Monday.
“I felt happy,” Perez said. “I just got on my knees and prayed.”
Near the end of practice, Perez trotted onto the field in a jersey, shorts and helmet and ran 100-yard dashes with wide receiver Jarrell Yates, who is not practicing because of a shoulder issue.
Perez said he was told he would have to practice two days without pads. He thought that included Friday, and said he could be able to wear pads by Sunday evening’s scrimmage.
“I’ve been studying the playbook ever since I signed my letter of intent," the 6-1, 220-pound back said. “I’ll be ready to play.”
How quickly he gets into shape is another question. Perez said he felt good running the sprints.
“I was surprised. I did alright today. I wasn’t really that tired. I probably ran about 10 100s,” he said. “I was surprised because the air in California is a lot different than here.”
Running on the sidelines is a different deal than running between the tackles. Don’t be surprised if Perez sees minimal time, if any, on Sunday so as not to risk injury.
Perez hasn't enjoyed playing the waiting game, but he's stayed positive..
“It was real hard,” he said about waiting. “I’m sure you guys were watching me. I was throwing the football up in the air about 200 times a day. But everything happens for a reason, that’s what I believe. I guess it gave me enough time to learn the playbook even more, and to learn to read the defenses better. Everything happens for a reason.”
Speaking of avoiding injuries, the Buffs hit each other at full speed in several drills the past two days. However, the mantra from the coaches has been “Stay up! Stay up!” Except for two plays at the end of Friday’s practice, the Buffs have hit but they tried not to tackle each other to the ground.
Dan Hawkins said Friday that’s to avoid injuries.
“When we’re in full pads, we run a little bit of live every (practice),” Hawkins said. Sunday’s scrimmage, of course, will be live.
Of the practice, Hawkins said: “I thought we were just a little sluggish. But it’s good to get everybody out here together. You’ve got a few more bodies and can get a little more things going in the drills.”
• The first offensive line unit continues to be Tyler Polumbus, Brian Daniels, Mark Fenton, Daniel Sanders and Edwin Harrison.
• Friday’s practice drew the biggest fan turnout. Close to 300 people came and went during the 2 and a half hour practice.
• Junior outside linebacker Brad Jones has looked awfully good in pass coverage drills between the linebackers and tight ends/fullbacks.
• Byron Ellis had the biggest play in the 11-on-11 work Friday when he took a hand-off, found a crease, bounced outside and scampered the length of the field untouched. He was helped by a great block by walk-on receiver Scott McKnight, who came all the way across the field to take someone out.
• Ryan Walters was not in pads, but did some running on the sidelines. Not sure what his issue is, but it doesn’t appear serious.
Here’s an interview with Walters from earlier this week:
BSN: How do you feel about the secondary?
Walters: I’m excited about the secondary. We have great leaders back there in J.J. Billingsley and Lorenzo Sims. I love playing with those guys. We’ve got Terrence Wheatley back. He’s one of the fastest kids in the Big 12. I’m just happy to be back there with those guys.
We’ve got a lot of depth in the secondary. We’re going to have a good year.
BSN: What are your expectations for yourself as far as playing time?
Walters: Obviously, just like anybody on the team, I want to start, and then I don’t want to lose that job. I just want to go out there and improve every day and every week. If I do that, I’ll be out there having fun.
BSN: You’ve got a reputation on the team for being a big hitter. Do you want that reputation to spread among the Big 12?
Walters: Oh yeah. As a safety, I just go in there and not worry about contact, or try to make contact. There’s a lot of big hitters in this league and I want to be classified as one of them.
BSN: How’s it been with Coach Brown?
Walters: Coach Brown is great. He’s cool, laid back and knows his stuff. In the meeting rooms, he’s real encouraging. He makes you not afraid to make mistakes when you’re playing, having fun and making plays. I’ve learned a lot from him. Just in the spring alone, I improved drastically, and I think it’s largely because of him.
BSN: Which game are you most looking forward to playing?
Walters: That’s a tough question. We’ve got a lot of good opponents this year. But I’m at CU and I think Nebraska’s on everybody’s mind.