Colorado head football coach Mel Tucker has said he puts some extra weight on scrimmages when evaluating his team.
If that’s the case, Maurice Bell might be tough to keep off the field on game days.
The Buffaloes held a closed scrimmage at Folsom Field on Saturday and the sophomore receiver once again impressed his new head coach.
“Every time we scrimmage, Maurice Bell shows up,” Tucker said. “He looked explosive today.”
Bell is in his third year with the Buffs, but has played in just three games and has yet to catch a pass. He had a huge day in the spring game in April – six catches for 129 yards and a touchdown – and has been highlighted by coaches a few times during preseason camp.
Laviska Shenault and Dimitri Stanley were both sore and held out of the scrimmage, but Tucker said, “All of our receivers made plays today and our quarterbacks looked sharp.”
Receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini was also encouraged by the performance of the passing game.
“It was good to see (starting quarterback Steven Montez) on-point, and the receivers really competed at a high level today,” he said. “It was good competition across the board. I like where we’re at as far as coming to the end of camp. KD Nixon played big today. Maurice Bell continues to get better and make plays. I saw plays from Jaylon Jackson. Tony Brown is consistent. … I’m excited. Even with some of our top guys are out, we don’t have any drop-off. Guys are out there making plays.”
Big day for Landman
On the defensive side, linebacker Nate Landman stood out, as usual. The Buffs’ leading tackler a year ago, the junior has had an impressive camp.
“Defensively, Nate Landman plays at a different speed,” Tucker said. “I was really impressed with him. He really showed up today.
“He was sideline to sideline today and on the inside run game he was stout. He’s a knock-back tackler, so that’s what you want to have inside. You want to have a guy that can make those plays. I was really impressed with how fast he played and his intensity throughout the entire scrimmage every time he was in there.”
Overall, Tucker said the Buffs had a “really good days’ work.”
“We can make a lot of plays on offense and we feel like we can stop the run on defense,” he said. “We just have to improve in coverage and third down defense, but overall I was pleased with the effort. Guys really competed hard, finished plays. It was a clean scrimmage, really good organization and I think the players felt pretty good when they left the field today.
“I’m encouraged. I’m really looking forward seeing the film and looking at some of the details.”
Time to shine
On Friday, Tucker said the scrimmage would be big for the coaching staff, in terms of figuring out a depth chart for the Aug. 30 season opener against Colorado State.
Junior defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson said after the scrimmage, “Some people came out and showed up and some people didn’t. It’s the name of the game. Whoever wants the spot the most is going to get it.
“Most definitely I could see who wants it and who is trying to give effort, but they just need that one extra edge or technique they need to learn.”
Less than two weeks away from the opener, Tucker said, “We’ll start to get into our game plan pretty soon and the depth chart is going to start to shake out and become more clear during the next couple of days.”
Although a few players were held out, Tucker said, “For most the part we’re pretty healthy; fairly healthy.” … Tucker is pleased with the Buffs’ conditioning. “We’re much better conditioned than we were at the start of camp, I believe,” he said. “I could tell at the end when we ran our 40s, guys really pushed hard and got after it.” … The Buffs will take the day off on Sunday and return to practice Monday.