Aug. 7 Afternoon Practice Notes

Hugh Charles/BSN

Coach Dan Hawkins had praise for his squad following Tuesday afternoon's practice in Boulder. He called the practice one of the best since he's been at Colorado. Inside, notes from the practice.

• Though it was just the second day of practice, players during the second session on Tuesday — conducted in shorts and no pads — appeared as if they wanted to put on the full football gear and get after each other. It was, as they say, a spirited go. Things turned chippy at times — center Daniel Sanders and nose tackle Brandon Nicolas got into it twice after the whistle had blown before a horde of teammates broke them up — and it was the loudest of the four practices so far.

Head coach Dan Hawkins seemed thrilled with the session. He called it one of the best practices the team has had since he's been at Colorado.

"I just think we're really starting to understand (how to) finish, we're understanding the tempo, we're understanding communication, we're understanding rallying back, and the little things," he said. "How they handled (the skirmishes), there was a lot of maturity there."

• A handful of players missed the afternoon session taking care of schoolwork. They included OL Erick Faatagi, WR Alvin Barnett and WR/TB/QB Bernard Jackson.

• Senior tailback Hugh Charles had two impressive runs in the afternoon practice. Granted, they were without pads, but Charles found a seam and outran everyone to the end zone on one run off left tackle. On another, he jitterbugged past opponents all the way to the end zone.

Hawkins is liking what he's seeing from Charles.

"Every time I see him I remind him about passion," Hawkins said. "He's already this camp had two or three runs that have been indicative of that. He's so strong and so fast and so powerful, he's got to run with that Walter Payton kind of passion. If he does, he can be one of the better backs in the conference."

• Tight ends coach Kent Riddle said he wants at least four tight ends he can count on when the season begins. The first three should be Riar Geer, Tyson DeVree and Joe Sanders. Nate Solder, Patrick Devenny and Devin Shannahan have the opportunity in the coming weeks to prove they deserve to be No. 4 in the rotation.

Ryan Miller was the most dominant offensive lineman in one-on-one work vs. the defensive linemen Tuesday afternoon. Miller lined up at guard during the drill and no defender was able to get around him, nor go through him, as they tried to get to the dummy quarterback. He shut out all comers. During pass blocking when Miller's playing on the edge as a tackle, it's clear he needs to work on his lateral speed.

What continues to be impressive about Miller is that for a guy who got so much hype over the past year and a half, he has an undeniably strong work ethic. He hustles between drills and is among the first linemen finishing in conditioning sprints. Has the energy of a walk-on who's trying to catch the eye of coaches with his hustle.

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