The first fall camp of the Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders era is underway in Colorado and with that comes the next edition of DNVR’s Prime Tracker. After each practice under the Flatirons up until the week of the TCU game, you can find all of DNVR and Thee Pregame Show’s analysis and thoughts on each practice through camp here.
Author’s Note: All insights from practice are credited to Uncle Neely of Thee Pregame Show, Well Off Media or Reach the People Media unless otherwise noted.
8/26: Day 20
Saturday was Coach Prime and the Buffs’ final day of Fall Camp. The team practiced in the indoor facility for a third and final scrimmage. Coach Prime has turned up the intensity and faced the team with some adversity and said while addressing the team, “If you tackle a guy that’s a penalty. I want you getting there with your feet and thudding them. We’re gonna call it extra tough on pass interference and offsides. We’re calling everything extra tough.”
Travis Hunter was at practice but appeared to be held out of participating as he had no helmet or shoulder pads on in Saturday’s Well Off video. Alton McCaskill continues to sport the yellow non-contact jersey at practice but said he is “110%” ready to play on Saturday, September 2nd against TCU.
Dylan Edwards did his thing and had another long touchdown after taking an inside run and cutting to the sideline. Colorado’s running back room will have five players ready to tote the rock against TCU. I still expect Alton McCaskill to be the bell-cow with Kavosiey Smoke, Dylan Edwards, Anthony Hankerson and Sy’veon Wilkerson all earning opportunities for carries.
Shedeur Sanders had another great practice through the air and running the football. Colorado’s quarterback has shown a great willingness to extend plays and take off down the field on his own when the opportunity presents itself.
8/25: Day 19
Friday was a cloudy, cool and misty day in Boulder that was headlined by CU’s 34th annual Kickoff Luncheon. The Buffs practiced early in the morning however and Uncle Neely said once again how impressed he was with Colorado’s running back’s room. As a whole, the first-team offense had a great day and is on track to show what they’re capable of next Saturday against TCU. CU’s defensive line led by coach Sal Sunseri and graduate transfer Shane Cokes took a while to make an impact in camp, but have come on strong and is flexing their muscles as one of the strongest rooms on the team.
Coach Prime revealed that Sy’veon Wilkerson was deemed to be eligible for the 2023 season by the NCAA adding another back to Colorado’s strong running back’s room. Unfortunately, the NCAA showed their incompetence and heartless decision-making by denying LG Tyler Brown eligibility for this season. Brown will not be allowed to play in games or travel with the team this season but retains his scholarship, the ability to practice with the team and be around the facility. You can watch Tyler’s appeal on his YouTube page.
At the Kickoff Luncheon, it felt like somewhat of a full-circle moment. Voice of the Buffs, Mark Johnson, emceed the event and asked questions to Coach Prime, Sean Lewis, Charles Kelly, Shedeur Sanders, Travis Hunter, Jace Feely and Mark Vassett. The event had an estimated attendance of 1600, last year only 400 people attended the event.
8/24: Day 18
DNVR was back in Boulder for Day 18 of Camp and met up with Uncle Neely to get the scoop on Coach Prime’s Buffs. Coming off of the speech that Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin gave at yesterday’s practice and in anticipation of Week 1’s kickoff, the Buffs have been flying around and playing with great energy recently.
Travis Hunter looks “phenomenal” on both sides of the ball according to Uncle Neely. Travis and Shedeur’s connection has only grown stronger since the duo arrived in Boulder. Both players have improved tremendously in multiple facets and are ready to present teams with all kinds of problems this season.
Colorado’s running back room continues to show off its depth and talent level at practice. Anthony Hankerson has been often impressing Uncle Neely with his play and Alton McCaskill has nearly regained his 2021 form and will soon shed his yellow non-contact jersey.
Coach Sal Suneri’s defensive tackle room is also coming on strong in the final week of Fall Camp. Shane Cokes’ leadership and ability to assist Coach Sunseri in teaching his teammates have set the tone for what Buff Nation should expect from that room.
After practice, Coach Sunseri and Cokes spoke to the media. Coach Sunseri mentioned Cokes along with Leonard Payne, Derrick McLendon and Arden Walker as players that have impressed him throughout camp. Coach Sunseri then compared Shane Cokes to one of his former players, Mario Edwards. The Oakland Raiders drafted Edwards at 35th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. The former Florida Seminole has been playing in the NFL ever since and is now with the Seattle Seahawks.
When Cokes took the podium, he mentioned Taje McCoy as a player who has stood out to him during camp. Despite Chance Main leaving the team earlier this week, Colorado’s defensive line has drawn plenty of praise over the last two weeks.
DNVR will be back in Boulder on Friday to meet up with Uncle Neely for the penultimate day of camp.
8/23: Day 17
Coach Prime switched things up on Wednesday and held practice on what was initially scheduled to be an off day. The biggest news of the day was who Coach Prime hosted as his latest guest to Boulder: Hall-of-Famer and Coach Prime’s former teammate, Michael Irvin. Irvin gave an impassioned speech to the team after practice and stated his belief in Coach Prime’s Buffs.
On the field, Travis Hunter was the headliner of Day 17 and showcased his tremendous ball skills on a defensive rep against Xavier Weaver. Hunter essentially became the receiver downfield, got in front of Weaver and high-pointed the ball for a spectacular interception.
During the special teams period, Shilo Sanders joined Dylan Edwards and Jimmy Horn as a returner. Shilo showcased his natural athletic ability with the ball in his hands and showed that he could also be a special teams weapon for CU this season.
Information on practice out of Boulder is becoming much more scarce these days with just over a week until the Buffs kick off the season against TCU.
8/22: Day 16
Players of the day: Shilo Sanders, Trevor Woods and Mark Vassett
Day 16 of Fall Camp for the Buffs was a highly competitive practice under The Flatirons. Shedeur Sanders and Colorado’s offense had another successful day through the air. Uncle Neely mentioned Shedeur Sanders’ name when asked about player of the day but it’s becoming routine to expect a good day from #2.
In the one-on-one period for wide receivers and cornerbacks, there was some healthy competition between Travis Hunter and Kyndrich Breedlove. Both players chirped back and forth with each other after Breedlove won a rep against Hunter. The next two times they lined up against each other, Hunter was able to get open and catch the ball cleanly. True freshman cornerback Carter Stoutmire continues to impress and is often drawing praise and coaching directly from Coach Prime after his reps. It appears that Stoutmire will certainly have a role and play a healthy amount from the get-go against TCU.
Shilo Sanders and Trevor Woods earned Uncle Neely’s defensive players of the day honors on Day 16 and said that both have been not only playing well but communicating effectively to lead the back end of Colorado’s defense.
Mark Vassett continues to impress with his accurate booming punts. Defensive tackles coach Sal Sunseri had to move his group three times and eventually went on to another practice field after Vassett’s punts kept disrupting their drills.
Jahquez Robinson, Jordan Domineck and Kavosiey Smoke all returned to practice today but the status of Tyler Brown still remains unclear. Brown is seeking a waiver from the NCAA to declare him eligible for the 2023 season after he already used his free transfer to join Coach Prime at Jackson State from Louisiana.
After practice, Dylan Edwards took the podium for his first time as a Colorado Buffalo. Edwards displayed great poise and maturity on the podium for a freshman and emphasized the talent and versatility Colorado’s running back room has.
Edwards also spoke highly of Sean Lewis’ offense and what he’s seeing from his teammates so far. “We have some dogs on this offense and everyone’s gonna eat,” said Edwards.
Colorado’s offensive coordinator then followed Edwards up on the podium and revealed some valuable information from last Saturday’s scrimmage. “We had 43 third-down opportunities, and we were 50% on that which would have put us ninth in the country based off last year’s numbers,” said Lewis.
Tomorrow the Buffs will not practice on the field but will be going through meetings, player development and rehab. DNVR will meet back up with Uncle Neely on Thursday for the penultimate day of Fall Camp practices for Coach Prime’s Buffs.
8/21: Day 15
Players of the day: Anthony Hankerson and Bishop Thomas
Monday was the start of Week 3 and Day 15 of Fall Camp for Coach Prime and the Buffs; the energy, focus and urgency have been turned up a notch after Saturday’s scrimmage. The Buffs have also started preparing ahead for their week one matchup against TCU so information on practice may be slightly more sparse moving forward.
That being said, it sounds like Shedeur and the offense bounced back from Saturday’s scrimmage and had a great day of practice today. Uncle Neely’s player of the day on offense wasn’t Dylan Edwards, but it was another running back who projects to see plenty of playing time this year: Anthony Hankerson. Hankerson was one of CU’s most impactful players last season despite an injury that kept him from seeing the field early in his freshman season. Given his size, nimble feet and never-say-die-attitude as a runner, Hankerson could provide a spark out of the backfield if McCaskill, Smoke or Edwards are on the sideline. In other running back news, it appears that Alton McCaskill has shed his knee brace and is on pace to play against TCU.
Bishop Thomas was once again Uncle Neely’s player of the day on the defensive side of the ball and after his performance in Saturday’s scrimmage, he may be on track to earn a starting role on Charles Kelly’s defense. Defensive coordinator Charles Kelly spoke to the media after practice and singled out Bishop Thomas along with Amari McNeil and Leonard Payne. Add in Shane Cokes and the Buffs have a pretty solid top-four at defensive tackle.
Shilo Sanders also spoke after practice and said, “This is the smartest, strongest and fastest I’ve ever been. Especially with Coach Kelly.” Shilo has taken his opportunity at Colorado extremely seriously and has emerged alongside Shedeur as one of the main leaders of this team.
DNVR will meet up once again with Uncle Neely tomorrow for Day 16 of Fall Camp.
8/19: Day 14
Players of the day: Taijh Alston, Bishop Thomas and Dylan Edwards
The Buffs took Folsom Field for their final scrimmage before the trip to Fort Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs. It was a hot day in Boulder and DNVR was there to observe Coach Prime and Colorado’s final dress rehearsal.
The defense has been building steady momentum over the last week and on Saturday they clearly outperformed the offense. Colorado’s defensive line had a great day rushing the passer and clogging run lanes as Bishop Thomas and Taijh Alston led the charge. Derrick McLendon and Demouy Kennedy also had standout plays and reinforced how much improved Colorado’s front seven is from a year ago.
Cormani McClain, Omarion Cooper, Rodrick Ward and Isreal Solomon were the players who flashed the most in Colorado’s secondary. McClain, Cooper and Solomon were able to get their hands on passes and force incompletions throughout the day. Rodrick Ward had the hustle play of the day by chasing down Dylan Edwards and preventing what could have been a 98-yard touchdown run. Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig brought the energy on defense and was flying downhill to make plays that would have resulted in huge hits if he wasn’t going against his teammates.
That being said, the offense still had plenty of big plays and was able to move the chains more consistently later in the day after struggling through the first half of practice. Shedeur Sanders threw his first interception of camp during team periods after a ball was batted around twice and caught by a diving Bishop Thomas. As previously mentioned, Dylan Edwards had the play of the day after taking the handoff from Shedeur on the two-yard line, exploding upfield and shaking a few tacklers. An early whistler paused Edwards’ momentum before he took off into the open field to be caught from behind by Rodrick Ward. Edwards also had a walk-in touchdown reception on a swing route near the goal line. Xavier Weaver hauled in two touchdown receptions but both were called back on penalties.
Colorado’s offensive line struggled to protect and open up running lanes at times but managed to put together a few touchdown drives before the day ended. Charlie Offerdahl had another nice day running the football and ripped off multiple chunk plays. Shedeur was more than willing to use his legs to extend plays and pickup easy yardage once the initial play broke down; he probably had about 75 yards rushing total on Saturday.
Jace Feely was the specialist of the day and nailed a 58-yard field goal that would have been good from 63 yards+. Overall, Saturday’s scrimmage was somewhat flat from an energy perspective as the coaches seemed to be focused more on evaluating rather than hands-on coaching. Despite the lack of energy at times, it’s quite clear how much better this team is than last year’s. This team is faster, more athletic and much better coached than last season’s 1-11 squad.
The third and final week of camp is upon us and DNVR will once again be up in Boulder to get Uncle Neely’s thoughts and analysis throughout the week.
8/18: Day 13
Player of the day: Alejandro Mata
Friday was a speed day for the Buffs meaning practice was much lighter and focused on preparation for Saturday’s scrimmage. When DNVR is waiting above the lower practice fields for media availability, we are usually able to tell when the team gets excited over a play or hear music playing over the practice speakers but today was notably quiet throughout the duration of Day 13.
When asked who won the day between the offense and defense, Uncle Neely was adamant that today was a draw. That being said, Shedeur had another great day of practice and when Neely was asked about Shedeur’s performance thus far at camp he said, “he’s just not gonna have a bad practice.”
Despite the tie between offense and defense, Uncle Neely awarded player of the day to Colorado kicker Alejandro Mata. Mata was challenged by Coach Prime with a 53-yard field goal attempt and the former Jackson State kicker nailed it with Coach Prime breathing down his neck leading up to and during the attempt.
Colorado offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle spoke on the podium after practice and revealed that Tyler Brown may not be eligible this season due to the NCAA’s transfer guidelines. Coach O’Boyle also said that Brown was out the last few weeks because he was recovering from mononucleosis.
Center Van Wells and right tackle Savion Washington also spoke to the media after practice as well. Van Wells’ excitement about this team is palpable. When asked about CU being placed 11th in the pre-season Pac-12 media poll Wells said, “This is a whole new team, a whole new staff. We just block out the noise. We know what we’re going to do.” Wells also spoke about how much he has grown as a player after starting as a freshman for most of last season. “Last year I was playing off talent, this year I get to play off experience and knowing more about the game.”
Savion Washington spoke to the media for the first time since arriving in Boulder this spring and explained just how talented this team is on the defensive line and at wide receiver. “Our defensive ends are going to be crazy this year,” said Washington. “With the weapons we have, I feel like we have some of the best receivers in the country.”
Coach Prime and the Buffs will be holding an intrasquad scrimmage that DNVR was invited to attend. We will have a takeaways video, another notebook update and a podcast recapping what we see on Folsom Field tomorrow.
8/17: Day 12
Players of the day: Dylan Edwards and Shilo Sanders
Colorado’s offense was rolling on Thursday and for the third straight practice, Dylan Edwards was Uncle Neely’s offensive player of the day. Shedeur Sanders had another good day of practice and at one point flipped a pass to Edwards on a screen that the talented freshman took 50+ yards to the house. Edwards caught the ball, made a couple of cuts toward the middle of the field and was gone.
Shilo Sanders was flying around making plays and was calling the plays for the Buffs’ defense. In today’s Well Off Media YouTube video, Shilo was speaking to Coach Kelly and Coach Prime and said, “today was the best [day],” for his unit on defense.
Terrell Owens was watching the offense again on Thursday and ran sprints with the team to close out practice.
Mark Vassett may not have punted a ball 80 yards today, but players and staff are raving about how well he can punt the football.
Tight ends coach Tim Brewster and tight end Michael Harrison spoke to the media after practice today. Coach Brewster took the podium and immediately praised the talent and ability of Shedeur Sanders. “We have an absolutely top-level, elite quarterback,” said Brewster. “This guy right here, right now, is playing with a confidence, a poise, he processes so extremely well.”
Coach Brewster also updated the statuses of tight ends Louis Passarello and Caleb Fauria. Passarello is out for an indefinite amount of time with a knee injury. Caleb Fauria has returned to practice after dealing with a Lisfranc injury and Coach Brewster is “totally jacked” about his return and what he can do this season. Coach Brewster also heaped praise on Michael Harrison and how he has progressed since his transition from wide receiver to tight end.
Harrison spoke about changing positions when addressing the media. “It took some convincing, I’ve played receiver my whole life,” said Harrison. Projected to be Colorado’s starting tight end, Harrison has bulked up to 225 after playing at 210 last year as a receiver.
DNVR will link back up with Uncle Neely tomorrow to speak to Colorado offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle and a selected player. We will also have content on Saturday’s scrimmage.
8/15: Day 11
Players of the day: Dylan Edwards and CU’s linebacking corps
Yesterday the Buffs had a case of the Mondays but Tuesday’s practice was much more energetic and lively. After spending most of the day yesterday watching Colorado’s receivers, Terrell Owens spent most of Tuesday’s practice watching the rest of CU’s offense.
The story of the day according to Uncle Neely was the Buffs’ running game and how CU’s linebackers defended the run. Dylan Edwards was at it again with two more touchdowns; one on the ground and the other as a receiver. Edwards’ ascension since he got to Boulder after National Signing Day has been meteoric. Now after 11 Fall Camp practices, Edwards has cemented himself as an all-around weapon for CU’s offense and as one of the fastest and most explosive players on the entire roster.
When Edwards wasn’t bursting through the offensive line for chunk gains, Colorado’s linebacking corps was able to plug holes and stuff runs for short gains. LaVonta Bentley, Demouy Kennedy and Marvin Ham II project to be Colorado’s top three linebackers but Uncle Neely emphasized the depth CU has at the position. Uncle Neely is confident that no matter who is playing on the second level of Charles Kelly’s defense, the drop-off is hardly noticeable.
Shedeur had another great day and he’s starting to find a go-to target at tight end in Michael Harrison. Harrison had another touchdown reception today and is on his way to locking himself in as the Buffs starting tight end.
Many fans have been wondering where Tyler Brown has been the last few weeks and Colorado’s stud left guard made his return to practice today after recovering from an illness.
Last Friday at Colorado’s media day Coach Prime said that he feels CU has, “some of the best specialists in the nation.” Mark Vassett backed up that claim today by punting a football nearly 80 yards through the air. As a Louisville Cardinal over the previous two seasons, Vassett averaged 43.2 yards per punt with a long of 73 yards and 16 punts of 50 yards or more. Colorado’s new punter earned Ray Guy Award Watch List honors last week.
After practice, defensive ends coach Nick Williams and defensive end Khairi Manns spoke to the media. Coach Williams mentioned Khairi Manns, Arden Walker and freshman Taje McCoy as players that have stood out to him through 11 days of camp. Coach Williams spoke glowingly about Shane Cokes on and off the field. He was also asked about Derrick McLendon and Sav’ell Smalls and said both are coming along and on their way to becoming fully conditioned for the season.
Khairi Manns comes to CU via Maine and gave his best recruiting pitch for his new home. “Why wouldn’t you want to come play here?” said Manns who also said that this team was the most talented team he’s ever been a part of.
Wednesday is a recovery day for the players that will be an emphasis on player development, meetings and recovery. DNVR will be back in Boulder with Uncle Neely on Thursday.
8/14: Day 10
Players of the day: Dylan Edwards and Arden Walker
Last week Byron Leftwich was at CU attending practice and now Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens will be spending the week with Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes. While many of Coach Prime’s other guests usually hang around him throughout practice, TO couldn’t help himself from watching the receivers through the duration of practice. According to Uncle Neely, Owens was very engaged and couldn’t take his eyes off of Colorado’s talented wide receiving corps.
Shedeur Sanders continues to stand out and be the talk of camp after every practice. Shedeur’s accuracy has been so good it’s starting to become normal for those routinely in attendance at practice.
Besides Shedeur, it’s hard to make a case for anyone else besides Dylan Edwards as the most impressive player through 10 days of camp. Edwards was Uncle Neely’s pick for offensive player of the day once again. Edwards blurred down the field for another long touchdown today.
Defensively, Arden Walker was Uncle Neely’s pick for defensive player of the day. After a bad rep, Walker was coached hard and reciprocated that coaching by turning in a strong day overall.
Overall, today’s practice was somewhat flat according to Uncle Neely. After the build-up to last week’s scrimmage, the Buffs are in the dog days of camp and will start building up for their next scrimmage this weekend.
8/12: Day 9
All practice observations from Day 9 are via Well Off Media.
The Buffs held their first scrimmage of Fall Camp on the lower practice fields Saturday afternoon. After watching both Well Off videos and hearing what the coaches said after practice, there is plenty to be encouraged about through two weeks of practice.
Offensive coordinator Sean Lewis admitted to the team after the scrimmage that the defense won and from what we saw from Bucky and the rest of the CU YouTube community, he was spot on. Shilo Sanders looks fantastic; his physicality coming downhill and smooth transitions in coverage have been impressive. The first-team defense was able to get to Shedeur for a sack on multiple occasions with Shilo being responsible for one. Colorado’s defensive line was able to pressure Shedeur without blitzing and was clogging up gaps to stuff runs behind or near the line of scrimmage consistently.
Cormani McClain had some great reps against Colorado’s best receivers; McClain’s size, length, natural athleticism and smooth transitions have been putting him in position to make plays and create PBUs often. Freshman Carter Stoutmire has also impressed throughout the first two weeks of camp and could put himself in the conversation to see game reps early in the season.
That being said, Colorado’s offense had multiple splash plays and showed the explosive potential they have under Sean Lewis. Dylan Edwards did it again, this time Shedeur hit him on a swing route after evading pressure. Edwards’ speed took over from there and he was gone for a 70+ yard touchdown. Charlie Offerdahl was also able to rip off a handful of big runs and showed his ability as a pass catcher for another first-down gain.
The depth and talent of Colorado’s receiving corps are beginning to shine as Shedeur once again found multiple targets all over the field. The Shedeur to Javon Antonio connection is starting to take off as the big receiver has been making plays over the top of defenders and across the middle of the field. Travis Hunter was at it again making highlight reel catches down the sideline and using his rare athleticism to pick up yards after the catch. True freshmen receivers Omarion Miller and Adam Hopkins are coming along and are showing why they were four-star recruits in the previous recruiting cycle. Miller went up over the top of Hunter for a spectacular catch that was ultimately nullified due to a penalty. Hopkins has shown his explosiveness and shiftiness when coming off the line in his releases and down the field in his route running while carving his way through the defense to pick up yardage after the catch.
Michael Harrison is pulling away as the clear and obvious TE1 on this roster with another touchdown reception on Saturday.
Gavin Kuld has been working with the second-team offense and is starting to pull away in the race for QB2 behind Shedeur Sanders. Kuld’s size, arm talent and athleticism have allowed him to stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball deep downfield for his receivers to make plays.
Uncle Neely and DNVR will be back in Boulder tomorrow as Week 3 of camp kicks off for the Buffs.
8/11: Day 8
All practice observations from Day 8 are via Well Off Media.
Friday was a shorter practice in preparation for Saturday’s scrimmage and obligations for Colorado’s Media Day after practice. After Shedeur and the offense’s hot start to camp, Colorado’s defense has begun to level the playing field and prove to be great competition for the offense.
Shedeur has continued to find all of his receivers on each level of the field showcasing his quick processing ability and fast release. Colorado’s quarterback has impressed multiple people in Colorado’s football program. One source told DNVR that Sheduer’s accuracy is the best of any CU quarterback since Koy Detmer and may even surpass that. The same source also said his athleticism and mobility are reminiscent of Kordell Stewart. Shedeur is primed to breakout as one of the best quarterbacks Colorado has ever had.
Michael Harrison has emerged as Colorado’s starting tight end and is backing up received the praise he received in the off-season from tight ends coach Tim Brewster. The former wide receiver turned tight end caught a pair of touchdowns, one in the end zone during seven-on-seven and another out running the defense to the pylon in 11-on-11.
Travis Hunter was working with the defense on Friday and shows the most sudden and pure athleticism of any player on the team.
During his press conference at Colorado’s media day, Coach Prime mentioned Xavier Weaver, Dylan Edwards and Shane Cokes as standouts in camp. Coach Prime also shouted out his specialists and said he thinks CU has some of the best specialists in the country
Coach Prime also gave his thoughts on how Colorado’s cornerbacks are coming along and a status update on how Cormani McClain is adapting to college life.
“I have tremendous expectations for our cornerbacks,” said Coach Prime. “Someone needs to join Travis.”
McClain has still been working with the second-team defense but with that, he’s been matching up against Xavier Weaver, Javon Antonio, Jimmy Horn Jr. and Travis Hunter occasionally.
“[McClain] is coming along slowly but surely. He just needs to make the emotional, mental and psychological transition from high school to college,” said Coach Prime.
8/10: Day 7
All practice observations from Day 7 are via Well Off Media. Uncle Neely is out of town for the rest of the week.
Dylan Edwards popped off for another long touchdown run today at practice. During the spring, Bucky called Edwards “Every Day” due to his knack for churning out big run after big run and routinely finding the end zone.
Travis Hunter continues to make jaw-dropping plays on both sides of the ball. Today during the one-on-one period of practice, Hunter’s competitiveness was on display during reps against Omarion Cooper and Cormani McClain specifically. Hunter picked off another pass when playing defensive back and displayed his silky smooth yet sudden change of direction skills when running after the catch at receiver.
Shedeur Sanders looked like his usual self once again. QB1 was quick in his reads, the release on his throws was even quicker and he allowed Xavier Weaver and Javon Antonio to go up over defenders for some amazing catches in the end zone.
Things are starting to get chippy as Anthony Hankerson and Shane Cokes exchanged shoves after both fell to the ground when Hankerson was blocking Cokes in pass protection.
Pat Shurmur spoke to the media after practice and revealed why he chose to come coach at Colorado for Coach Prime. “I believe in Coach Prime, I believe in his competitive spirit, and when I was given an opportunity to come work for him I jumped at it,” said Shurmur.
The hiring of Shurmur as an offensive analyst has been put under the microscope by Colorado fans and media members after his disappointing time with the Broncos as their offensive coordinator in 2020 and 2021. However, his role at CU is worlds apart from the roles he held down when he was coaching in the NFL.
“Being an analyst, I work primarily behind the scenes. I’m in the meeting room with the coaches. I’m not allowed to have one-on-one coaching with the players. It’s really hard to be out there and bite your tongue when you see something. But if there is something I see that might help a player, I track it through one of the coaches,” said Shurmur.
Day 8 of practice is tomorrow and so is local media day at the University of Colorado. DNVR will be in attendance to speak with Coach Prime and multiple players.
8/8: Day 6
Player of the day: Gerad “Tank” Christian-Lichtenhan and Shane Cokes
Charles Kelly’s defense has come on strong the last few days and held the edge over Colorado’s offense on Day 6. Coach Prime had former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl-winning offensive coordinator, Byron Leftwich as a guest at today’s practice.
Colorado’s defense is finally catching up to the speed and tempo that offensive coordinator Sean Lewis has brought to Boulder. In terms of their organization, communication and unity as a collective defense, the Buffs have made great strides since camp started. Shane Cokes earned defensive player of the day honors from Uncle Neely and has solidified himself not only as a defensive leader but as one of the main leaders of the entire team.
Cormani McClain is doing “100%” better when it comes to acclimating to the altitude, Boulder and his new team according to Uncle Neely.
Shedeur Sanders has continued to show off his deadly accuracy and has yet to have a bad day in the early stages of camp. Sheduer has also done a great job of spreading the ball around to all of his targets and attacking every area of the field. Uncle Neely called Shedeur “Mr. Consistency” in how he’s performed so far. The emphasis for the passing game today was on the running backs and getting them the ball in space.
The offensive line is starting to come together and a leader for that unit has emerged in left tackle Gerad “Tank” Christian-Lichtenhan. Tank has also been helping coach up Colorado’s pass rushers, going in-depth on how he won reps and sharing teaching points with Colorado defenders. In terms of the offensive line as a whole, offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle is still experimenting and figuring out who the best combination of five is to protect Shedeur this season. When it comes to the trajectory of the offensive line, “the arrow is pointing up,” said Uncle Neely.
Wednesday is a classroom day for the team with no on-field practices scheduled. DNVR will be back up in Boulder on Thursday to speak to selected coaches and players for media availability.
8/7: Day 5
Player of the day: Shedeur Sanders and Bishop Thomas
After a strong opening week to Fall Camp, Coach Prime’s Buffs sustained momentum at the start of Week 2. Coach Prime was upbeat and walked away from Day 5 feeling good about what he’s seen so far.
Shedeur Sanders has been on fire since Day 1 and has compiled some impressive stats in 11-on-11 periods at practice. On 89 throws, Shedeur has thrown for 22 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions. The Buffs’ quarterback has the most talented group of pass catchers he’s ever had and has consistently heaped praise on Colorado’s receiving corps when given the opportunity. Kaleb Mathis was the standout pass catcher on Day 5.
Syveon Wilkerson continues to rip off chunks of yardage in the running game and bowl through defenders. Dylan Edwards also had another big run and is shaping up to be one of Colorado’s most potent offensive playmakers. The media spoke to Colorado running backs coach and assistant head coach Gary “Flea” Harrell after practice, he mentioned that Edwards has been working with the wide receivers and will be a big play threat at running back and receiver this season.
Coach Harrell also said that Alton McCaskill is “about a week away” from shedding his brace. At this point, it’s a matter of McCaskill’s confidence in that surgically repaired knee before we see him taking on contact and receiving a full workload in practice. The top four running backs right now according to Coach Harrell are McCaskill, Kavosiey Smoke, Dylan Edwards and Anthony Hankerson.
Bishop Thomas earned defensive player of the day honors from Uncle Neely for the second straight practice. Thomas’ unique blend of size, athleticism and strength is a welcome development for a defensive line that has been completely torn down and rebuilt under Coach Prime at Colorado.
Travis Hunter spoke after practice to the media and was asked what his best play of camp has been so far, “all of them,” said Hunter. Hunter has been switching between wide receiver and cornerback on a daily basis and has cemented himself as Colorado’s best wide receiver and cornerback. Hunter was also asked about Shedeur Sanders and how he’s improved as a quarterback over the off-season. “His accuracy, timing, and his footwork have gotten a lot better,” said Hunter.
Tomorrow the media will speak to Colorado’s linebackers coach Andre Hart and a selected player after Day 6 of practice.
8/5: Day 4
Player of the day: Kavosiey Smoke and Bishop Thomas
The Buffs have been pushing for four straight days to open camp and Coach Prime’s squad emptied the tank before Sunday’s off day for what was the best practice of camp so far. Continuing with the trend we’ve seen since the first day, the offense continues to have a slight edge over the defense. The progression from Day 1 to Day 4 for the defense has been clear and after practice, Uncle Neely called today’s practice “a coin toss” between the offense and defense.
After Charlie Offerdahl’s big day on Friday, Kavosiey Smoke was the offensive player of the day on Saturday. Sheduer Sanders and Colorado’s passing game has been the early buzz of camp but it only took CU’s running game an extra day or two to catch up. While Alton McCaskill projects to be the lead back for the Buffs, Colorado’s stable of running backs is as advertised in terms of their strength, consistency and depth.
In Friday’s one-on-ones, defensive leaders Shane Cokes, Jordan Domineck and Derrick McLendon were standout players but on Saturday it was Florida State’s 2022 scout team player of the year, Bishop Thomas. According to Uncle Neely, the flashes of potential are there with Thomas and it’s only a matter of consistency before he emerges as a reliable presence on Colorado’s defensive line.
There was no media availability for Day 4, DNVR will be back at practice to speak to selected coaches and players on Monday, August 7th.
8/4: Day 3
Player of the day: Charlie Offerdahl
Practice went as scheduled once again on Friday, this time the team went down to use the lower practices fields for the first time in fall camp. Through two days the offense had an early lead but on Day 3 the defense bit back. Travis Hunter and the wide receivers continue to make plays at an impressive rate but the defense pulled ahead with their one-on-one work in the trenches.
Graduate transfers Shane Cokes and Jordan Domineck emerged as early leaders both on and off the field in the spring and their work over the summer is beginning to pay dividends. Former Florida State Seminole and graduate transfer Derrick McLendon has also emerged as a leader in Boulder. Former West Virginia EDGE Taijh Alston and former Tennessee DT Amari McNeil are also players who have flashed early on along the defensive line.
Charlie Offerdahl was Uncle Neely’s standout player of Day 3 after ripping off a 50+ yard run. The Colorado native was dipping and weaving through the defense before he was finally brought down before the goal line. After providing multiple big plays during spring football, Offerdahl received tremendous praise from Coach Prime after practice and earned the nickname “Charlie Oftenball” from Coach.
Practice observations from Day 3 are courtesy of Well Off Media, Reach the People Media and Thee Pregame Show YouTube videos. Coach Prime’s press conference after Day 3 of camp can be watched on our YouTube channel here.
8/3: Day 2
Player of the day: Xavier Weaver
Thursday’s practice was a full two-hour session in Colorado’s indoor practice facility. While Coach Prime and CU’s assistant coaches made themselves clear that Day 1 wasn’t good enough, there was a sense of satisfaction from offensive coordinator Sean Lewis and quarterback Shedeur Sanders after Day 2.
While Coach Lewis and Shedeur slightly downplayed their excitement following practice, Uncle Neely came away impressed with where Shedeur and the passing game are at this point in time. In fact, it’s clear to those in Boulder who were around Shedeur at Jackson State, #2 has gotten better in nearly all facets over the offseason.
Shedeur and the passing game have been the talk of camp through two days. Former USF wide receiver Jimmy Horn Jr. was the player of the day yesterday and on Day 2 it was his teammate at USF and now CU, Xavier Weaver. Weaver’s hands and ability to adjust to the football and make tough catches were what made him the standout player of Day 2.
The tight ends had another great day of practice and Tim Brewster backed that up when speaking to Uncle Neely after practice on Thee Pregame Show. Sy’veon Wilkerson was a late addition to Colorado’s running backs room but has made an impact early on with some big runs. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 210-pounds, Wilkerson’s contact balance has been on display as he’s done his best bowling ball impression in the early days of camp.
8/2: Day 1
Player of the day: Jimmy Horn Jr.
This ain’t Coach Prime’s first rodeo and he was wise to expect that the first day of camp with his new team would be somewhat lackadaisical. Instead of a full two-hour practice for day one, Coach Prime wanted his team to go as hard and fast as they could for one hour. Even with the reduced practice time of day one, Coach made it clear that the standard has once again been raised for the Buffs.
Multiple position groups received an F from their respective coaches for their performance on day one. The only position group that received praise from their position coach were the tight ends who Tim Brewster gave his group an A. Running backs and special teams received a C but every other position group was given an F.
According to Uncle Neely, the offense won the day while the defense struggled to contain Jimmy Horn Jr. and his speed. Horn scored multiple long touchdowns and while lining up in the slot and out wide. While some of those long plays may have been attributed to coverage busts, Horn is continuing to show tremendous signs of improvement and the ability to be an impact player for CU this season.