Depending on who you talk to, Mark Fenton will miss from two to four games with a fractured fibia in the lower part of his leg. It will not require surgery, and Fenton will begin aggressive treatment on it this week.
Fenton, wearing a brace on his lower leg and using crutches, said after Sunday’s conditioning practice that team doctors told him he would probably be out four games. But the 2005 first-team all-Big 12 center said he wants to be back in the lineup before that, namely by Oct. 14 vs. Texas Tech.
Head coach Dan Hawkins said Sunday it may come down to how much pain Fenton can tolerate, in terms of when he can return to the field. Hawkins noted that Fenton didn’t want help off the field after the injury Saturday, and said he liked the sign of toughness out of his center.
Senior Bryce MacMartin replaced Fenton Saturday, and played well, according to Fenton, Bernard Jackson and Hawkins. He will be in the starting lineup Saturday vs. Missouri. Should MacMartin suffer an injury, guard Daniel Sanders will slide over to the center spot.
MacMartin said he prepares every week as if he’s going to play and takes as many mental reps as possible if he’s not getting the physical reps at practice.
• Rather than have the players who didn’t play on Saturday practice Sunday, the team simply had a conditioning practice, running lots of sprints down on the practice field. Hawkins said it was planned that way, since the team was coming off a long-distance road trip.
• The players have adopted Hawkins’ mantra of burying a Saturday game on Sunday. However, the head coach clarified the philosophy Sunday. He wants the players to bury the emotion of the game the day before. But he wants the players to keep the lessons learned in their four losses front and center.
“I don’t really want them to get it behind them,” Hawkins explained. “I want them to keep it square in front of them and to understand we have to continue to push and to execute. …When opportunities come around in games, we’ve got to be able to make it happen.”
Hawkins warned his players that people would congratulate them on the respectful showing in Georgia. But he told them not to let it go to their heads.
“We should have won this football game, and we need to do things better, and we will do things better,” he said. “The other thing I told them is don’t think it’s going to get any easier. Every week we’ve got to climb another mountain, and we’ve got to carry all those lessons with us to the top of the mountain.”
• Hawkins and the staff began watching film of their next opponent, Missouri, on Sunday. First impressions? “They’re very aggressive, they run around and pressure you a lot. They’re very athletic,” Hawkins said.
• One thing that was obvious to anyone who’s watched the past three CU football games was that quarterback Bernard Jackson took a big step forward in the loss at Georgia. It wasn’t lost on Hawkins, who on Sunday said, “He did some nice things. He’s starting to get to that next level where you’re not just out there functioning. He really made some plays and did some things with some awareness that’s nice to see.”
Coaches are aware and pleased that the junior quarterback is beginning to assert himself with his teammates more and that he’s beginning to assert his personality on the offense.
• Senior quarterback James Cox is expected to return to Boulder and rejoin the team after being in California the past several days at his father’s funeral.