Jackson's Status Up In The Air

With just over a week remaining before CU's first game, the Sept. 1 opener vs. Colorado State, senior offensive threat Bernard Jackson's eligibility remains unclear. CU head coach Dan Hawkins addressed the issue for the first time in a while after Thursday's practice.

• It's looking like the Buffs will be facing at least one very unique situation Sept. 1. With Bernard Jackson's academic situation still up in the air, they could very well go in to their season opener with their senior offensive captain not eligible to play.

Jackson, who redshirted his first year at CU, is a fifth-year senior. He has practiced sparingly this camp.

Jackson is awaiting the outcome of two online courses. He finished a final in one of them Thursday and will take the final in another one "in a couple of days," Dan Hawkins said.

The possibility exists that Jackson could miss the Colorado State game. Hawkins said the coaches haven't decided yet what to in terms of Jackson's team captain responsibility if that's the case. However, senior tackle Tyler Polumbus has been helping lead warm-ups in practice.

Putting quarterback Cody Hawkins in the role won't happen, Dan Hawkins said, because even though using a quarterback in a leadership role is a natural thing to do, as a redshirt freshman, Cody Hawkins is too young.

While Hawkins has not wanted to comment on the situation much this camp, he spoke about it on Thursday. Jackson, last year's starting quarterback, is the father of a 2-year-old boy who's already had surgery to remove one of his eyes due to a rare disease in his young life.

Though details of exactly what Jackson needs to achieve academically are not available, the possibility looms that Jackson won't be declared eligible at all this season. That would mean his playing days at CU could be over. Hawkins said he empathizes with the fifth-year senior.

"Bernard, he's got some extenuating circumstances that would be tough on me," Hawkins said. "We always talk about life not being fair. He's got some obligations and some other things that are tough on any person. And then you're a person that's a student. And a person that's a student playing football.

"That's not an excuse, but my heart goes out to the guy. He's got a lot of irons in the fire."

• Redshirt freshman Marques Herrod was rolling from one end of the field to the other after Thursday afternoon's practice — some extra work after his teammates had left the field. It's not an uncommon sight this camp – young players working extra afterward. Hawkins said it's in part because many of them are going to have to contribute this season more than a first or second year player typically would.

"Those freshmen, they've got to grow up fast," he said. "That's what I told the young o-linemen, they've got to take an even more aggressive approach to learning all this. We've got to show them and the vets have got to show them, but they've got to do way more.

"Flash cards, meet in the library at noon and do a walk-through, meet each other after dinner in the varsity room and do a walk-through. Watch more film, they've got to do that."

• Meanwhile, the three freshmen wide receivers were the talk of camp the first 10 days. Before Josh Smith sustained a kidney injury in last Saturday's scrimmage that's left him sidelined indefinitely, it appeared he would make the most immediate impact. Kendrick Celestine has gotten a lot of looks with the first and second units throughout camp.

Asked about the third member of the trio, Markques Simas, on Thursday head coach Dan Hawkins said, "He's starting to come on. It's interesting because we always talk to those incoming freshmen about camp legs. They always go, ‘Yeah, yeah, I gotcha.' They just really, really get bogged down because they're just not used to running as hard and finishing.

"But I think he's starting to come back around. He's starting to come on and make plays. He just needed to build up that constant strength of those older receivers."

• Hawkins is continuing a theme he brought to the program last year, calling Thursday in the fall "Perfection Thursdays." The idea is to strive for no errors in practice on Thursday each week during the season. The reason, Hawkins says, is when teams practice at 90 percent efficiency or better, good things tend to happen on game day.

• The coach likes the group of tight ends currently at Colorado, even though Nate Solder and Joe Sanders are inexperienced and Riar Geer has been dinged up in camp. Eventually, he'd like the group of four (which now includes Tyson DeVree) to grow to six or eight they can play. He said the fifth tight end at Boise State use to have a decent number of catches during some seasons.

Anthony Wright has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Lamont Smith is still under review by the Clearinghouse, but coaches expect him to be OK.

• Ralphie won't travel to ASU game because CU handlers don't want to risk her health on what's likely to be a hot trip through the desert.

• Friday's scrimmage (closed to the public) will include a lot of situational stuff. Media is not allowed to report on the scrimmage.

Jason Brace has been back on sand duty the past two days after playing some in recent practices. He got a concussion and doctors are being cautious with him.

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