CU Spring football game answers questions about Buffs

Spring’s arrival signifies warmer weather, excitement for the end of classes and for CU Buff football fans, the first look at next year’s Football squad with the 2013 Spring Football game.

With quarterback Jordan Webb tearing a ligament in his right knee earlier this year, the battle for the starting spot became all the more open.  Saturday’s Spring game illuminated that the battle is essentially down to two, junior Nick Hirschman and junior Connor Wood.  Hirschman completed 16-of-27 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, while Wood was 11-of-16 for 205 yards and one TD.

Another key takeaway from the game was the importance of junior wide receiver Paul Richardson’s return.  Richardson played a key role in giving the Buffs a deep threat during the 2011-2012 football season and a torn ACL during last year’s spring drills sidelined him all of last season.  Richardson caught five balls for 129 yards and a touchdown during the Spring game and immediately reminded fans how much they had missed him all last season.

“I was just happy to be out here,” Richardson said after the game. “Connor’s (Wood) not afraid to make those passes now, but it wouldn’t happen if the line wasn’t blocking.”

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If the line continues to block successfully and Wood and Richardson can stay in sync they will be a dangerous duo.

The ability to spread the field with Richardson’s deep threat presence is something Head Coach McIntyre is looking forward to.

“If (the secondary) is playing deep coverage, we have to be able to run the ball and dink it,” McIntyre said. “If they some and try to stop our short game, which we hope they have to do at times, we have to go over the top.”

The overall offensive scheme was a fast-paced no huddle type of format that relied heavily on the passing game.  Both squads (Black and Gold) combined to throw the ball 57 times out of the 84 total offensive plays, meaning that nearly 70 percent of offensive plays were passes.  This is a change in mentality when compared to previous coach’s Jon Embree’s run first philosophy.

When the Buffs did run, sophomore Christian Powell, senior Josh Ford and junior Tony Jones looked like top backs as they combined to run 15 of the 21 designed run plays.

On the defensive side of the ball, things looked solid as defense only gave up a combined four touchdowns and had one interception, a safety and a fumble recovery.

However, coordinator Kent Baer says about only 25 percent of the defensive scheme was seen today and the remaining 75 percent likely won’t be installed by the time the Buffs open on Sept. 1 against Colorado State.

This is partially because schemes take time to learn and put in place and because this year’s Spring game was televised on the Pac-12 network and thus many things weren’t revealed.

Areas that need to be improved in come August include “tackling, learning to play harder still and learning how to leverage the football,” Baer said.

In sum McIntyre was pleased with the game and got a lot of information about his players.

“Overall, I thought the effort was very good,” McIntyre said. “We saw a lot of plays, saw the DBs making some plays, saw some good runs, saw the quarterbacks do some good things.”

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Grayson O’Roark at Grayson.oroark@colorado.edu.

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