Offense Shines Again In Scrimmage

Nick Nelson/BSN

The Colorado offense appeared to take another step forward in the Buffs' second scrimmage of fall camp, conducted Saturday at Folsom Stadium. Still, offensive coaches weren't celebrating afterward. Instead, they were focused on mistakes that need to be corrected. Inside, notes from the scrimmage.

• There were 160 plays on the day, 130 plays from scrimmage. Colorado does not give out individual statistics from fall scrimmages, but does announce team stats. The offense rolled up 326 yards on 66 rushes, and 451 yards on 60 passes. Take away 18 yards on four quarterback sacks, and the Buffalo offense amassed 759 total yards.

They scored eight touchdowns and three field goals in 20 series.

But offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich seemed more focused on what could have and should have been on offense.

He pointed out a number of misreads and dropped balls in the passing game, and running lanes tailbacks failed to take advantage of in the run game. Helfrich, though, said they were all correctable mistakes.

• Most of the competition pitted the first teams against each other, the second teams against each other, etc. Noticibly missing from the defense, though, were starting defensive linemen George Hypolite and Maurice Lucas, and backups Jason Brace and Marques Herrod. They were out with injuries. (TE Riar Geer and WR Jarrell Yates also sat out due to injuries.) Word afterward that all are minor injuries and they are expected back this coming week.

Head coach Dan Hawkins said he didn't think the offense would have been as productive had the four linemen been playing.

• Helfrich will look at film of today's scrimmage and make the decision about the starting quarterback either tonight or tomorrow. While Cody Hawkins had the edge coming in, Nick Nelson had his best scrimmage of the fall and spring on Saturday. Both quarterbacks started slow, and both bounced back — but Nelson bounced back the furthest.

Helfrich said Nelson had relaxed the past two days in practice after pressing earlier in the week. It showed. The junior directed the second team on a drive vs. the second-team D on the fourth series. Two nice grabs by receiver Josh Smith kept the drive alive, and Kevin Moyd eventually scored on a short touchdown run.

Nelson directed the first-team offense for a score vs. the first-team defense two series' later. It culminated with a nice play action fake and toss to a wide-open Nate Solder.

Hawkins started to warm up, and led the first team on a touchdown march vs. the No. 1 defense on the 10th series of the day. Smith had a 14-yard run for a first down on a double reverse. Then Hawkins hit Kendrick Celestine, who turned the catch into a 40-yard romp. Hawkins found TE Tyson DeVree for a touchdown a few plays later.

Both players also had interceptions. Matt Ballenger, meanwhile, directed the third team offense on two drives, both of which ended with touchdowns.

The most impressive drive was drive No. 14. Nelson hit Celestine, Hugh Charles and Demetrius Sumler on consecutive passes, before Sumler bounced in from 9 yards out to score.

• In all, the first team offense scored three touchdowns and a field goal vs. the first team defense. Brian Lockridge threw a half-back pass for a touchdown, too.

• OLB Brad Jones and DB Anthony Perkins had interceptions.

• Charles had a couple of nice runs and good yards after the catch. But Sumler, the redshirt freshman, stole the show among the tailbacks. It was the best he's played in a scrimmage since he's been at Colorado. He seems to have taken over the No. 2 tailback spot, and will get a lot of carries this year.

• For the second consecutive scrimmage, freshman wide out Josh Smith was impressive. He's still raw and learning tons, but he's got a knack for getting open and making plays. Smith was involved in the scariest play of the day. He ‘was eying a pass in the southwest corner of the end zone, ran out of the end zone and into a corner wall. He lay on the ground for a moment before popping back up. He played after that, too.

• Though he was in pads, Bernard Jackson didn't play, or played only once on special teams (not sure). Hawkins said afterward it's because he hasn't played that much yet after missing most of the first week of practice.

• LB Marcus Burton was running third string. Backing up Jordon Dizon with the second team was walk on Jeff Smart, a former Boulder High standout. Coaches and players have stopped addressing questions from the media about Burton (and others') possible academic issues. But it's looking like Burton will be ineligible. That's purely speculation on my part.

Chapelle Brown (punt) and Stephone Robinson (KOR) had the best returns of the day. Kevin Eberhart hit all the PATs and was 3 of 3 on field goals. Tyler Cope handled all the kickoff duties and was getting the ball inside the five, sometimes into the end zone.

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