Buffs Open Spring Ball

Buffs Open Spring Ball

Inside: news, notes and opinion from Colorado's first day of spring practices.

• The team went through a two-hour-plus practice in shorts and jerseys in the bubble Monday. Head coach Dan Hawkins said the tempo was good, hustle was there, but the program is now at a point where he wants more. He wants practices to get to a "next level."

• Now in the third spring under the current coaching staff, Hawkins expects the level of competition to be ratcheted up. "We really stressed that as part of what we want to get out of (this camp)," Hawkins said Monday. "Having more guys with experience in the system …and having some young guys that really should challenge for some spots – I think we've missed that a little bit along the way. That healthy competition is good for everybody.

"They need to bring their ‘A' game every practice like it means something."

Josh Hartigan got dinged in the neck and left practice. Hawkins said they took him in for a precautionary look and the outside linebacker should be fine.

• Freshman linebacker Lynn Katoa is suspended from the football team indefinitely. It was originally thought Katoa would practice this spring, after being arrested Friday in connection with his alleged involvement in an off-campus altercation in February. But he was not at practice Monday, and Hawkins said both he and Riar Geer (also arrested Friday) are suspended "until something changes in their situation."

• Hawkins will spend more time with the defense this spring. He said he doesn't want his players to think of him as only an offensive coach. So he's bringing the Hawk Love to the guys who wear the white jerseys in practice every day.

Nate Solder certainly looked the part in his first day of practice as an offensive tackle. The third-year player who ran as a tight end the past two years, looks like a natural. He held off sophomore Marques Herrod in a one-on-one drill and drew the praise of line coach Jeff Grimes. Solder and Ryan Miller worked as the two offensive tackles in what appeared to be a Day 1 first string during 11-on-11 situations.

Erick Faatagi is expected to battle for a starting offensive guard spot. But he missed the first day of practice tending to class work.

• Boulder High senior and future CU tight end Will Pericak was at practice today hanging in street clothes with the tight ends.

• Both place-kickers Jameson Davis and Aric Goodman look to have good legs. Davis looks a little stronger.

• Some number changes: Sophomore wide receiver Josh Smith has changed from No. 9 to No. 1; fullback Kai Maiava switched from No. 51 to No. 40; offensive tackle Nate Solder changed from No. 92 to No. 78.

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