Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Grab Bag: Football is in the air

This is getting serious.  With two weeks to go before the start of the football season, it's hard not to ignore the excitement and focus in the air.  The regular students will hit campus this week, the football team is now going behind closed doors to continue their preparation, and suddenly the Rocky Mountain Showdown seems to be impending, rather than distant.

It's official, the calendar has flipped.  Baseball season has passed, football now takes the stage.  This can mean only one thing: November is just over the horizon!


Today in the bag, I'm talking Saturday's football scrimmage, some unfortunate injury news, and the fight against ALS.

Click below for the bag...

Scrimmage - 

Bringing an end to the public portion of pre-season practice, CU held their only open scrimmage of camp Saturday morning in Folsom.  By all accounts, it was a mostly positive performance, with the offense finally getting some pub after a week and a half of quiet murmurings that they had been a little behind their defensive counterparts.
If the rushing attack can get going, the Buffs may just have a shot at that bowl berth. From: the BDC
CU didn't release statistics after this one (they even went so far as to embargo any stats the media had been keeping themselves) so it's hard to quantify results in terms of solid numbers, but it would've been hard not to notice the Buffs repeatedly getting into the endzone. Behind a quartet of running backs, the offense found a lot of success on the ground.  If that's any indication of things to come, BuffNation should have a fun time watching Michael Adkins, Christian Powell, Phillip Lindsay, and Tony Jones this season.  Said Coach MacIntyre, "I've said all along, we have four guys that can run the ball in the Pac-12."

Of course, it's important to recognize that the offense had the better of a defense that was down four probable starters - Addison Gillam, Derek McCartney, Tyler Henington, and Jered Bell.  Gillam, especially, is a massive cog in the defensive wheel, and the Buffs will be hard pressed to stop anybody when he's not on the field.  With all the rushing success being talked about today, I can't help but think that his absence was a facilitating factor.  All scrimmage notes should be taken with a grain of salt, and this is a pretty big one for the plate.

Jered Bell injured - 

As promising as Saturday's scrimmage was, it was overshadowed by the devastating news from Friday night. Jered Bell, senior free safety and presumptive starter in the defensive backfield, tore his ACL in a non-contact exercise. For the second time in his career, he will miss an entire season.
Bell would've been an important piece to 2014's success. From the BDC
Bell, who is universally liked both in the locker room and across the assembled media, had been a pleasant surprise last season when he started all but one game and finished fourth on the team in tackles.  Coming into this year, the playmaker looked again to be a key component of a secondary on the precipice of becoming a source of pride for the program.  Talking to ($), sophomore safety Tedric Thompson, the other piece in the safety equation, said:
"It is a huge loss. I am telling you man, he was one of the key guys in our defense. He is definitely a coach on the field. He knows how to lift you up and he still knows how to get on you at the same time, so losing Jered was pretty tough."
Without Bell, CU will now probably turn to senior captain Terell Smith (coming in off of a injury, himself), but that leaves little veteran depth in the backfield to cope with further setbacks.

I can't help but feel for the kid. It had taken a lot of hard work and recovery to get him back onto the field last year, and his was a story worth telling.  Now, in a flash, he's back to square one.

While this is a bitter pill to swallow in the later stages of camp, I don't believe that this is the end for Bell in a CU uniform. As a redshirt senior, this was to be Jered's final year of eligibility, but, after losing his second season to injury, the odds are with the NCAA granting him a sixth year.  Coach MacIntyre, in fact, said he was 'almost positive' that the ruling would be in Bell's favor.  It's up to Jered, of course, but everyone surrounding the program seems to hope that he will give it a go.

Challenging ALS - 

Earlier this year I began to see something called the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' pop up on my various social media feeds.  The premise was simple: dump some cold water on your head, and donate to the charity of your choice.  A little self-serving (Hey, look at me dump some water on my head! Aren't I entertaining!), but still for a good cause.

When it first landed on my radar, the IBC (not to be confused with the root beer) was a small thing, and not charity specific.  Over the past few weeks, however, it has morphed into something entirely different.  After Pete Frates posted his version of the IBC on facebook, the challenge now has a face, a focus, and a cause. Overnight, thousands of people - from celebrities to the general public - were dousing themselves with water in the name of tackling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gherig's disease. (To their credit, the CU football team even took on the IBC, in turn challenging the president.)
It's been a massive success.  To-date, donations to the ALS Association are up; WAY UP.  The New York Times reports that "as of Sunday, the association said it had received $13.3 million in donations since July 29, compared with $1.7 million during the same period last year. It said there were about 260,000 new donors."  That's a lot of scratch from one little meme.

No, this is not the point where I show off the video of a bucket of water being dumped on my head.  If you should find yourself challenged, however, I would like to make a suggestion as to where you could go to donate.  My friend Jarod takes part in the ALS Association's yearly "Walk to Defeat ALS," and could use your help. Click here for more information.

Indeed, ALS can suck it.

Happy Monday!

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