Wheatley's been around his head coach enough now to understand the guy you get during Game Week is the same one you get in January. But that doesn't mean January is a low hum. It means January may as well be Game Week.
"Coach Hawk never changes," Wheatley said on Tuesday, just four days from the Buffs' opener vs. CSU. "He's the same fired-up guy. You would swear he's a player. I'm waiting for the day he runs out there in full pads and wants to practice with us.
"He's actually on the treadmill right now, running six miles (at 1 p.m.). He's fired up and ready to go. He's been fired up since the end of last season."
• The team went in full pads Tuesday. They got after it pretty hard early in the practice. Hawkins said he was pleased with the offense during the practice.
"We're getting close," he said.
Asked how things were different this week than they were a year ago, Hawkins said – just like in 2006 — there are a lot of unknowns going into Game 1. He said with a young team, that's going to be the case.
But what's clearly better is the leadership and assertiveness of the players.
• Talk about preventative medicine. Senior linebacker Jordon Dizon pops a couple of Tylenol before each game, he said Tuesday. He's always banging with players bigger than him for three hours on Saturdays in the fall. He figures he's going to get a headache, why not get out in front of it?
• Senior tailback Hugh Charles is one of 50 candidates for the 2007 Doak Walker Award, the honor given to the top college running back. Panelists will narrow the list to semifinalists on Nov. 12.
• The team held two scrimmages in August at 10 a.m. in hopes of getting players a taste of what it'll be like to play the early start on Saturday. What time are the boys waking up Saturday morning? 5:30 a.m.
• On Tuesday, freshman receiver Josh Smith spoke to the media for the first time since he spent four nights in the hospital after bruising his kidney in a scrimmage. He'll undergo an MRI test next week to see the progress of the kidney. There is still hope that he would be well and able to play vs. Florida State on Sept. 15. But Smith said he wants to be cautious. He said doctors told him he was lucky the injury wasn't worse. He also said redshirting is still an option, but that'll be determined down the road.
• The Denver Buff Club will host its annual rally and luncheon this Friday. The rally will take place at 11 a.m. in the Galleria of the Denver Performing Arts Center (14th and Curtis streets, Denver). It's free and open to the public. CU captains, coaches and alumni will be on hand. The lunch will begin at 12:15 in the Donald Seawell Ballroom at the DCPA. Hawkins will be the featured speaker. Tickets cost $25. Call 303-492-5497 to register.