What you need to know ... Call the new offense under Dan
Hawkins a work in progress. It's not going to be the fun 'n' gun
like many will make it out to be with an emphasis on balance and
a strong running game. However, the pieces aren't quite in place
considering there's a three way battle to figure out who the
quarterback will be, there's no depth on the offensive line, and
the receiving corps, while talented, hasn't lived up to its
potential. On the plus side, there's a decent backfield and a
great starting five on the line. Of course, there's also
Hawkins, who'll be as inventive and creative as any coach in the
Passing: James Cox
13-29, 93 yds
Rushing: Hugh Charles
176 carries, 842 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Dusty Sprague
43 catches, 468 yds, 1 TD
Star of the offense: Senior C Mark Fenton
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QBs
Bernard Jackson, Brian White, and/or senior QB James Cox
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OT Edwin Harrison
Best pro prospect: Fenton
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Fenton, 2) RB Hugh
Charles, 3) OG Brian Daniels
Strength of the offense: Starting five offensive line
Weakness of the offense:
Offensive line depth, experienced quarterback
It has been Joel Klatt and more Joel Klatt over the last
three years before he got knocked out against Texas forcing
James Cox to see a little work with Brian White later getting on
the field in the Champs Bowl loss to Clemson. It's a wide-open
battle for the starting job with the big passing White with the
paper-thin lead going into summer with Cox and the speedy
Bernard Jackson also in the hunt. Redshirt freshmen Patrick
Devenny and Mack Brown will battle for practice reps behind the
top three. Top recruit Cody Hawkins, son of head coach Dan
Hawkins, will likely be redshirted.
The key to the unit: Figure out who the starter is as
soon as possible and revolve the offense around him. It would
help if one would emerge from the pack right off the bat this
Quarterback Rating: 6.5
- Brian White, Jr. - 8-13, 91 yds, 1 TD, 1 carry, 10
The 6-5, 225-pound junior finally got on the field in the last
game of the year and looked great in the loss to Clemson in the
Champs Sports Bowl. He has a rocket arm and the fearlessness to
lead the attack and be the leader over the next two years if he
shows he can overcome his lack of mobility. The new coaching
staff would like some sort of a rushing threat from the
quarterback, and going 10 of 24 for 102 yards in the spring game
- Bernard Jackson, Jr. - 8 carries, 10 yds
Basically, the old coaching staff didn't know what to do with
him. Jackson is a very fast, very talented athlete who was kept
under wraps and used sparingly as a runner and a receiver. He's
not even close to being the most accurate passer in the
quarterback derby, but he's so fast and so explosive that it
might be impossible to keep him off the field.
- James Cox, Sr. - 13-29, 93 yds, 44.8%
Cox is a tall 6-3 passer with good mobility and more experience
than anyone else on the roster, but he didn't look good when he
got his shot last year completing one of eight passes in the Big
12 title game debacle before going four of 12 in the bowl loss
to Clemson. He missed most of spring ball with a thumb injury
and will have to be lights out this summer to have a shot at the
number one job.
The production fell off the map once the offensive line
started having problems, and now the group will be expected to
carry the offense until the quarterbacks and the passing game
come around. Dan Hawkins has said he wants this to be a running
team meaning he needs Hugh Charles to be the speedy back he was
over the first half of last season. Mell Holliday, Byron Ellis
and Kevin Moyd will all get plenty of work, but Ellis is the
only one with the potential to get the hard yards up the middle.
More help is on the way from the recruits this fall. Samson Jagoras and Jake Behrens will try to replace do-it-all
fullback Lawrence Vickers.
The key to the unit: A between-the-tackles runner
needs to emerge and more consistent production will be needed
from all four tailbacks.
Running Back Rating: 6.5
- Hugh Charles, Jr. - 176 carries, 842 yds, 4.8 ypc, 6
TD, 26 catches, 226 yds, 8.7 ypc, 1 TD
The lightning fast Charles did the most with what he could last
year having problems behind a patchwork line. He started out hot
with three 10-yard games in the first four, and then the
problems on the line kicked in. Now the 5-8 back is expected to
have a huge season with more room and space to run and more
opportunities. The coaching staff is going to go out of its way
to get the ball in his hands.
- Fullback Samson Jagoras, Jr.
The transfer from Western New Mexico has some huge shoes to fill
trying to replace Lawrence Vickers. He's not huge a 5-120 and
225 pounds, but he's physical and very, very tough. He started out his CU career as a
linebacker before being moved over to the offense.
- Mell Holliday, Sr.
The Wayne State transfer was forced to sit out last year thanks
to a snafu with the NCAA, and now he only has one season left.
He's a physical 205 pounds with decent quickness and just enough
pop to get a few carries a game. He was great this spring
emerging as a viable option to be the number one runner if Hugh
Charles isn't getting the job done.
- Byron Ellis, Jr. - 75 carries, 216 yds, 2.9 ypc, 6 catches, 70
yds, 11.7 ypc
The 205-pound powerback will add a little bit of thunder to the
lightning of the rest of the runners. He has breakaway speed
once he gets through the line, but he hasn't gotten through the
line much so far in game action. He might not be a special
runner, but he has the makeup to carry the offense if he has to.
- Kevin Moyd, RFr.
Moyd has tremendous speed and home run hitting ability who'll be
deadly when he gets the corner. He's not going to run it between
the tackles and isn't going to power over anyone at 5-8 and 185
- Fullback Jake Behrens, RFr.
Last year's star recruit as both a defensive end and a fullback
will be more of a runner than Samson Jagoras and should
eventually be the power runner in the attack. At 5-11 and 235
pounds, he's bigger than Jagoras.
It's a good group of experienced receivers
that should be ready to explode. Dusty Sprague is a good number
one receiver to build around, while Patrick Williams and Alvin
Barnett provide some big-time speed to stretch things out.
Stephone Robinson, now that he's no longer a defensive back and
will just be a receiver, should be too good to not get the ball
in his hands on a regular basis. A big boost is on the way with
the return of Blake Mackey from a knee injury, but he'll have to
wait until fall to prove he's back to normal. The big hit is at
tight end losing NFLer Joel Klopfenstein and quality backup
Quinn Sypniewski. The hope is for Tyson DeVree to be over
shoulder issues and for Paul Creighton to shine now that he
doesn't have to be a fullback.
The key to the unit: Get more big plays downfield from
this experienced, talented bunch.
Receiver Rating: 8
- Dusty Sprague, Jr. - 43 catches, 468 yds, 10.9 ypc, 1 TD
The big, fast Sprague had fantastic season growing into the role
of the team's number one target. He's 6-4, 190 pounds, and has
the toughness to make the big catch across the middle at the Z
position. He's not explosive and only
had one touchdown catch last year, but he was steady from start to finish.
- Patrick Williams, Soph. - 28 catches, 241 yds, 8.6 ypc
Williams stepped in when Blake Mackey went down and turned into
a decent third receiver. While he didn't make many big plays, he
has the ability to be a top playmaker in the full-time role at
the X, or in three-wide sets. He's 6-2, 195-pounds, and can
move. One of the program's best receiver prospects in years,
he'll be too good to keep out of the mix.
- Tight end Paul Creighton, Sr.
Part fullback and part tight end, the offense needs Creighton as
a full time tight end. He's not the receiver fellow tight end
Tyson DeVree is, but he's a better blocker. That's not to say he
won't catch any passes, but he won't be featured like Joel
Klopfenstein was last season.
- Stephone Robinson, Jr. - 6 catches, 61 yds, 10.2
Part cornerback and part receiver, the quick Robinson moved to
the offensive side early last year and was used as the team's
punt and kickoff returner. He's one of the team's quickest
players and should be tough to handle when he gets more work on
the inside now that the coaching staff plans to make him a key
- Alvin Barnett, Jr. - 17 catches, 131 yds, 10.9 ypc
The former JUCO transfer has all the skills to be the team's
best receiver if everything comes together from his hands to his
consistency to his concentration. He started off well catching
12 passes in the first four games, and then his production fell
off the map. He'll see time at the X before Blake Mackey is
- Blake Mackey, Sr.
One of the team's biggest questions is whether or not Mackey
will be healthy again after missing all of last year with a knee
injury. Before getting hurt, the 6-3 deep threat was starting to
show signs of being a next-level caliber target. He was limited
in spring ball, but when he's back to normal he'll push hard for
the starting job at the X.
- Tight end Tyson DeVree, Jr.
The Western Michigan transfer has the size at 6-6 and 245 pounds
and he has the hands, but he has to prove he's over a shoulder
problem that has limited him over the last few years. Hell
quickly be a key target.
The Achilles heel last year, the line suffered a rash of
injuries that killed the offense's consistency. There's almost no depth
to speak of and the waiting game was played this spring with several top
linemen still out recovering, but the starting five, once they're all on
the field at the same time, should be marvelous. Mark Fenton is the best
center in the Big 12 and a mortal-lock to be a Rimington Award finalist,
while guard Brian Daniels is the team's steadiest blocker. Edwin
Harrison has all the tools to grow into a superstar at left tackle.
Daniel Sanders should be a solid right guard, while Tyler Polumbus and
Paul Backowski will form a nice duo at right tackle.
The key to the unit: Everyone has to get healthy and
all the new prospects have to develop at light speed to provide some
Offensive Line Rating: 8
- OT Edwin Harrison, Jr.
Thrown into the lineup when injuries started to his, the 6-4, 300-pound
junior started seven games and turned out to be fantastic. He's a steady
pass blocker and played like a seasoned veteran in tough situations.
He's a terror in the weight room and should grow into an All-Big 12
- OG Brian Daniels, Sr.
It took a while for Daniels' season to get started after suffering a
broken rib and a bruised kidney in the season opener, but he turned out
to be a steady force having been the team's steadiest all-around blocker
for the last three seasons. He's not the team's best lineman, that's
center Mark Fenton, but he has the best technique along with all-star
- C Mark Fenton, Sr.
It's Fenton's third season as the starter having grown into one of the
nation's best centers and an All-Big 12 performer. He's a dominant pass
blocker allowing just one sack in his career and should start to earn
All-America status once more recognize his run blocking abilities.
- OG Daniel Sanders, Soph.
The 300-pound Sanders is a big, strong sophomore who worked his way into
the lineup before having problems with a torn hamstring. He's expected
to grow into a top run blocker once he get more time and more seasoning.
- OT Paul Backowski, RFr.
While he still needs plenty of seasoning, the 6-6, 285-pound redshirt
freshman has all the makings of a good one at right tackle. He's good on
the move and he has a long frame with good reach for pass protection. He
saw plenty of time this spring, but he's going to have to work to get
the right tackle job when Tyler Polumbus is 100%.
- T Tyler Polumbus, Jr.
The 6-8, 285-pound junior was just starting to come into his won
before getting nailed with a shoulder problem. He's an excellent pass
protector on the right side and should be back at 100% this fall to take
over his job, but he'll have to beat out Paul Backowski to get it back.
- G Erick Faatagi, Jr.
One of the team's top recruits will be thrown into
the mix right off the bat. At 6-3 and 340 pounds, he's the team's
biggest lineman and should be a mauler after turning into a top
all-around blocker last season at El Camino JC in California.