Monday practice notebook: Brenden Rice makes spring practice debut & more
Colorado's second Monday practice of the spring a few weeks ago failed to impress Karl Dorrell, who as a general statement wasn't very pleased with the tempo and energy he saw from his players following a few off-days on the weekend leading up to the practice.
Dorrell made a point to let the players know just that and since then, he's reported that Monday practices have been looking pretty good.
That was the note Dorrell led off with during his Monday evening Zoom sequence with reporters.
“I’ve been so encouraged, men, I want you to know this," he said. "The Monday practice that I told you about that I didn’t like about three weeks ago, this team responds to that constructive criticism that we were talking about."
"The last two Mondays have been steps up coming off of a weekend and having Saturday and Sunday off. I am just really pleased with the progress this team’s making."
As Dorrell has mentioned repeatedly this spring, Colorado's 15 practices (Monday was the 10th that CU has completed) are being used as a period of evaluation for coaches to get a sense of the kind of depth there is at each position group.
In terms of the young bucks on the team, Dorrell seems to be liking what he's seeing.
"Our young players, as you can imagine, are still swimming, but there’s a lot of guys who are getting really good reps and they’re getting better," Dorrell said. "You’re starting to see their skill sets starting to develop. You saw Caleb Fauria, for example, he had a couple nice plays in the scrimmage, and yet, he’s starting to develop. You can tell he’s playing faster and his confidence is growing."
"As you can imagine, a number of those younger players like Caleb — even Ashaad Clayton today — he was so much more assertive today when running the football. He’s getting more reps and understands what we’re doing. I'm really encouraged with what this team’s doing right now."
Defensive linemen Na'im Rodman and Austin Williams also were singled out by Dorrell for having shown noticeable leaps in ability and confidence so far into spring.
Transitioning, Monday appears to have been the spring debut of Brenden Rice, who, until today had been unable to practice with the team due to a finger injury as well as COVID-19 protocol.
Whether Rice had a brush with COVID or was being held out as part of contract tracing protocol is unclear, but either way, that coupled with his finger ailment had sidelined him.Tailback Jarek Broussard did not practice Monday and his status for Friday's scrimmage, CU's third out of four total this spring, is to be determined.
Dorrell listed him as day-to-day with a swollen ankle.