The new-look Colorado football team has been on the field just two days while kicking off spring practice.
There are new players. New coaches. And even a few holdovers still in the mix. Just getting to know one another will almost be as big a challenge as learning the new schemes being implemented on both sides of the ball.
It has the feel of the dawn of a new era. Yet as new defensive coordinator Charles Kelly noted after the Buffs completed spring practice No. 2 on Monday morning, the coaching staff has gotten through much of the getting-to-know-you phase during the many hours spent meeting about the new course of the CU program.
Now it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get to work.
“People think it’s just spring practice. We’ve been in these meeting rooms since a couple days after signing day in February,” Kelly said. “We’ve been together for a long time. It’s not just starting this week. I really like our staff. I really like the camaraderie that we have. They have great work ethic. They want to be here. They want to be successful. And we want to give them the resources to be successful.
“It’s been really fun working with these guys. I think we have good relationships. We have fun in the meetings but we get a lot done. I’m looking forward to working with these guys a long time.”
First-year head coach Deion Sanders plucked Kelly from Alabama, where he was the associate defensive coordinator the past four years. Yet like most in his profession, Kelly has made plenty of stops, including stints at Tennessee, Florida State and Georgia Tech. So while the Buffs are integrating new faces with new schemes, the routine of implementing those sorts of massive changes is nothing new to Kelly.
“We’re moving some guys around to different positions, especially in the secondary, to see what they can do, what they can handle, how much they can process,” Kelly said. “And then some of the guys up front, we’re moving them. That’s more probably the experiment part. But right now, we’re just implementing. Every day we’re adding new things. Because we’ve got to see also not only how people play, but how they can learn and process.
“You’re going to play (opponents) that do different things every week. So your scheme has to be a little bit different based off what you see. So we have to be able to find people that can adapt to those situations.”
Not only is Sanders beginning his first year as CU’s head football coach, but he’s a basketball dad, too. His daughter, Shelomi, joined the CU women’s team as a transfer from Jackson State at midseason. Daughter and dad have enjoyed the ride as the Buffs advanced to a second-round date at Duke on Monday night by routing Middle Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Oh my God, they’re ballin’,” Sanders said. “First of all, they’ve got a heck of a coach. They have a heck of a coaching staff. We all agree on that. Those girls are unbelievable. The girls are doing a phenomenal job. We’ve got to root them on. I’m proud of them. I really am.”
Shelomi is a walk-on who is redshirting this season with the Buffs.
After practicing on Sunday and Monday, the Buffs will have an off-day Tuesday before resuming workouts on Wednesday. … Asked who the fastest player on the team is, receiver and South Florida transfer Jimmy Horn Jr. didn’t mince words. “I know I’m the fastest,” Horn said. “I’ve got about 10 different gears.”