Re­freshed Bu≠s re­turn to prac­tice

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Brian How­ell

boul­der» Get­ting away from foot­ball for a few days seemed to be good for Colorado.

Fri­day, the Pac-12 run­ner-up Buf­faloes re­turned to prac­tice for the first time since their 41-10 loss to Wash­ing­ton in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game Dec. 2.

“I think it was needed,” se­nior cor­ner­back Ahkello Wither­spoon said of the time off. “It was nice to get my legs back un­der me. It’s also good men­tally, fo­cus­ing on some school work and get­ting back in a lit­tle rou­tine. It’s im­por­tant at the end of the year.”

Fri­day’s prac­tice kicked off CU’s prepa­ra­tion for the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. The Buffs (10-3, No. 11 As­so­ci­ated Press poll, No. 10 Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off rank­ings) will play Ok­la­homa State (9-3, No. 13 AP, No. 12 CFP) on Dec. 29.

“Get­ting back out here to­day was very ex­cit­ing,” Wither­spoon said.

CU’s coach­ing staff had been on the road re­cruit­ing most of the week. That al­lowed the play­ers to take a break from the field. They did some weightlift­ing and con­di­tion­ing to stay in shape.

“It is help­ful to get off our feet,” said ju­nior full­back and tight end George Fra­zier. “It helped us re­lax, get back healthy and let the team get back to 100 per­cent.”

It also helped the Buffs to get past the dis­ap­point­ment of the 31point loss to Wash­ing­ton and miss­ing out on a Rose Bowl berth. Matchups for bowl games were set Sun­day.

Wither­spoon said he and sev­eral team­mates were dis­ap­pointed when CU wasn’t in­vited to the Rose Bowl, pri­mar­ily be­cause so many of them are from Cal­i­for­nia and hoped to play close to home.

But by the end of Sun­day, Wither­spoon said the Buffs were ea­ger to head to San Antonio.

“I don’t re­ally see any dif­fer­ence in terms of the op­por­tu­nity be­tween the Alamo Bowl and the Rose Bowl,” Wither­spoon said. “It’s a ball­game, and it’s an ex­pe­ri­ence. There’s no fall-off to me. It’s go­ing to be a great ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Pre­par­ing for a bowl game will be a new ex­pe­ri­ence for the Buffs. CU hasn’t played in a bowl game since the 2007 sea­son.

With nearly three weeks left be­fore the Alamo Bowl, coach Mike MacIntyre said the Buffs will bal­ance work­outs with school work. The Buffs will prac­tice Satur­day and Sun­day, but they will take sev­eral days off next week so play­ers can fo­cus on fi­nal ex­ams.

“I told all these guys you have to com­part­men­tal­ize,” MacIntyre said. “We won’t keep them out here too long and wear them out (dur­ing early prac­tices). We’ll keep them fresh.”

MacIntyre said se­nior quar­ter­back Sefo Li­u­fau, who suf­fered an an­kle in­jury dur­ing the Pac-12 ti­tle game, was on the field Fri­day.

“He wasn’t 100 per­cent, but we didn’t have to take him out or any­thing,” the coach said. “This time off — of not hav­ing to do any­thing for the last five or six days but go get treat­ment and go to class — re­ally helped him get that bet­ter.”

MacIntyre may have been a lit­tle weary Fri­day. He was in San Antonio on Thurs­day for a news con­fer­ence be­fore fly­ing to At­lanta for ESPN’s col­lege foot­ball awards show that night.

While it’s been a busy week, MacIntyre said he re­ceived a lot of great feedback about the Buffs while in At­lanta.

“It was a great honor to be up there rep­re­sent­ing this foot­ball team, the guys that have been on this team be­fore that have been un­der our pro­gram and then the Univer­sity of Colorado,” the coach said. “To see ev­ery­body come up and talk to you say they’re glad Colorado is back, it gave me a lot of ful­fill­ment and joy.”

Pac-12 salutes CU.

MacIntyre was named the Pac-12 coach of the year by The As­so­ci­ated Press on Fri­day. He was named con­fer­ence coach of the year in vot­ing by Pac-12 coaches last week.

CU placed four play­ers, all on the de­fen­sive side of the ball, on AP’s all-Pac-12 team. Line­backer Jim­mie Gil­bert, cor­ner­back Chi­dobe Awuzie and safety Tedric Thomp­son were se­lected for the first team. Wither­spoon was se­lected for the sec­ond team.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.