Colorado doesn’t have a football game this week, but that doesn’t mean the Buffaloes aren’t competing.
During the first open week of the season, head coach Mel Tucker is making sure the Buffs (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) are staying sharp through daily competition in practice.
“It was very competitive and the guys were into it and we kept score a little bit, so that kind of juiced it up a little bit,” Tucker said after Wednesday’s practice. “Any time you start keeping score, you get more competitive. So it was a good day’s work. We didn’t waste today. We really got after it.”
Coming off a thrilling 34-31 win at Arizona State, the Buffs took a couple of days off before getting back to work Tuesday, without pads. On Wednesday, they put the pads on, but it was “pretty much a similar practice,” Tucker said.
The Buffs, who host Arizona on Oct. 5 (2:30 p.m.; TV: Pac-12 Networks) did some scout work, but also some “good on good” work with starters going against starters.
“You always have to have competition and that’s how you get better,” he said. “When you go good on good, it’s like steel sharpening steel. And competition brings out the best. Cream should rise to the top when you’re competing. We have competitive guys and I think we’ve seen that in games, so the good on good work really helps us.”
While the Buffs came out of Tempe, Ariz., with the win for the first time, they also came away with some injuries. Receiver Laviska Shenault (undisclosed injury), defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson (ankle), cornerback Chris Miller (sternum) and others were banged up during the game.
Tucker said he had no update on the status of the injured players. His next scheduled media session will be on Monday.
Fall camp feel
During the regular season, the Buffs usually practice on Franklin Field, near the indoor practice facility. This week, they have been on the lower practice fields, where they conduct fall camp.
“I love coming down here to the Ponderosa,” Tucker said. “There’s more room; we have more field space, more room to work, more room to throw deep balls and things like that. And we don’t want to wear out our field up top. And, we’ve got a good view of the mountains, too. It’s awesome.”
Receiver KD Nixon said Tucker and the coaches have been getting on the Buffs all week as they use the “off week” to get better.
“It’s a grind week; it’s not just a bye week,” he said. “We’re still taking it in and we’re competing way more, like in fall camp. It’s really fun. We’re on the Ponderosa, where it all started. It’s about to be a new season of games, so it’s time to take it to another level.”
Trujillo coming along
True freshman cornerback KJ Trujillo made his debut at ASU. He played just two snaps, but continues getting better and putting himself in position to help the team.
“The thing about KJ is he really pays attention; like every single meeting, every walk-through, he makes the most of every opportunity he has to learn and compete and get better,” Tucker said. “He’s getting stronger and has a much better understanding of what our scheme is all about and what we need him to do and how to execute and get his job done.”
Junior college transfer defensive lineman Jeremiah Doss, freshman safety Mark Perry and veteran safeties Sam Noyer and Isaiah Lewis got on the field a bit at ASU, as well.
“We have to have them,” Tucker said. “Depth is very important, so we want to have as many guys that can play as possible. We’re not afraid to put freshmen out there. If they’re the best ones to be able to get the job done in that particular situation, we’ll put them out there. We need everyone. It’s all hands on deck.”
Senior safety Lucas Cooper has been named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is annually presented by the National Football Foundation to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete. CU’s Jim Hansen won the award in 1992. … Tucker and the coaches will take advantage of the bye week to get some recruiting done this week. Coaches are planning to get out of town and attend some high school games and visit schools. “We recruit every day,” Tucker said. “It’s just a matter of being able to get out on the road and get it done.”