Arlington Hambright has been at this college football thing for a while now, but the veteran tackle has some adjusting to do in his new surroundings.
“We got in some good work,” Hambright said after Colorado’s first practice of preseason camp on Thursday. “I’m just a little tired, me personally, from the altitude. Knowing the plays and stuff, I feel like I jumped straight in pretty good, but the physical part, I didn’t do spring ball last year, so I’m a little tired and knocking the rust off, but it’s getting there for sure.”
A graduate transfer from Oklahoma State, Hambright could be a key to the Buffaloes’ offensive line this season. He started the first five games of the 2018 season at left tackle at OSU before an injury sidelined him until the Cowboys’ bowl game.
Last winter, he elected to transfer and eventually selected CU, where he could be a starter immediately at left tackle.
“Experience, athleticism and helping the offensive line out all together – I think I bring that to the team,” said Hambright, who has opened camp practicing at left tackle.
This is Hambright’s third school, as he played two years at Garden City (Kan.) Community College before his two years at OSU (he redshirted in 2017). The fact that he’s been through change before should help him adjust to CU, he said.
“I think it’ll help big time,” he said. “I’m not really nervous going into any games, so I pretty much know what to expect.”
Head coach Mel Tucker, however, said it will take a bit of time for Hambright to get acclimated to the program.
“There’s going to be a learning curve for him because he’s coming from a different program,” Tucker said. “Oklahoma State has a great program, but we do things differently. There’s different plays and different schemes and different coaching and so he’s going to have to adjust to that.
“I’m really excited about him being here. He’s a very talented young man. He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s very coachable.”
Hambright, who arrived at CU earlier this summer, said he’s enjoying playing for Tucker and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic. He also said the scheme change hasn’t been too difficult, other than learning new terminology.
Happy to be at CU, Hambright is hoping to end his college career on a high note.
“I feel like I owe it to myself (to have a good season),” he said. “It’s been a grind my whole collegiate time. I feel like I owe it to myself for sure. I really want to finish out this whole season strong.”
New faces on DL
While Hambright hopes to solidify the offensive line, the Buffs’ defensive line is filled with fresh faces – mostly from the high school ranks.
Six of the nine scholarship defensive linemen are new to the team, with five of them going through their first practice on Thursday (junior college transfer Jeremiah Doss arrived in January). Four of those newcomers are true freshmen.
“We have more depth than we had, obviously, in the spring,” Tucker said. “We need to have depth in our defensive line. We want to be able to keep guys fresh on both sides of the ball in the trenches. The new faces we have there, the big bodies, it’s much needed. We addressed it in recruiting and it’s going to pay off for us.”
Junior Mustafa Johnson, who is one of the top defensive linemen in the Pac-12, said he’s been impressed with the youngsters in the group.
“They have good potential,” Johnson said. “They’re strong, fast; they want to play. They need to get a little more physical and work with this because it’s a new game, new speed, so they’re working on that. They’ve all impressed me.”
Johnson said the intensity of practice will be the biggest adjustment for the new linemen, but he’s been encouraged with how receptive they are to him as a leader.
“They’ve shown that they respect me enough to where I can say something to them,” he said. “They definitely take on what I say and they see what I do. Even though I mess up sometimes, I still show that I’m working hard and I’m going to run each drill and I’m going to do each drill as hard as I can.”
Johnson said sophomore end Terrance Lang “has gotten tremendously better,” adding that Lang has gone from being a third-down rusher to having the ability to “do it all.” … Saturday’s practice is the only one of camp open to the public. It will go from about 8:50 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at Folsom Field. Gates open at 8 a.m. and admission is free. There will be a post practice autograph session.