1. Smith returns to Denver
Former Colorado defensive back and current Baltimore Raven Jimmy Smith might look a bit leaner when he hits the field tonight in Denver to start his third professional season.
The Super Bowl champ has reportedly lost 10 pounds and despite some struggles in the preseason (getting lit up by Atlanta's Juilo Jones), the Ravens have the "utmost" confidence in the their young cornerback.
"I know it maybe wasn't a great game for him per se, when you look at it from the outside," Baltimore secondary coach Teryl Austin told BaltimoreRavens.com. "But I have the utmost confidence in Jimmy that he's going to have a fine, fine season for us. He'll make the plays that he's capable of making and should make, and I have no doubts about that."
Injuries have hampered Smith in his first two seasons, limiting the former Buff to 23 of 32 possible games. Smith came on strong during the Ravens' Super Bowl run last season and has recorded 50 solo tackles, 11 pass deflections and two interceptions in his young pro career. The Colton, Calif., product was selected by the Ravens with the 27 pick in the 2011 draft after four seasons at CU.
BaltimoreRavens.com also reports Smith has been "more of a professional" this offseason and was in a position battle during training camp. He'll likely split No. 2 cornerback duties with Corey Graham tonight, opposite Lardarius Webb.
2. Moving on
ESPN Pac-12 blogger Kevin Gemmell writes about the Colorado football team this evening as the Buffs put their first victory in the rear-view mirror. As you've read here on Buffzone, CU is hungry for another win following the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Saturday night's game against Central Arkansas is almost here.
3. So that's not for an on-campus stadium?
The Fort Collins Coloradoan reports the Colorado State University Research Foundation is writing large checks to property owners that currently reside on the site of a proposed on-campus stadium in Fort Collins. According to Larimer County Assessor Office data, CSURF dropped $923,000 on a two-bedroom home at 133 W. Lake St. valued at $125,000, among other purchases. The school isn't saying much, but the ball is clearly continuing to roll on a new stadium in Ramsville.
From the article: "CSU officials declined to comment on the purchases, other than to insist they were unconnected to the stadium project."
4. Tillman tribute
When the Arizona State football players head out of the locker room tonight to run onto the field, they'll pass a large photo of former Sun Devils linebacker Pat Tillman and a 90-inch TV playing his highlights. Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 serving for the U.S. military after going pro following his stellar ASU career. The university's equipment staff tweeted a photo today of the tribute.
5. Sign of the Time(s)
Texas A&M gunslinger Johnny Manziel has landed on the cover of Time magazine. The high-profile quarterback is the first college football player to grace the front of the magazine in 47 years (Notre Dame's Jim Seymour and Terry Hanratty in 1966). The accompanying article "It's Time to Pay College Athletes" hits newsstands tomorrow and will be available with a subscription on the Time's website.