It wasn't a great day for the Colorado secondary Friday when the Buffs scrimmaged for the third time this spring in Folsom Field.
CU defenders gave up nine touchdown passes and failed to make an interception against quarterbacks Nick Hirschman, Connor Wood and Shane Dillon.
Hirschman and Wood were particularly effective. Hirschman completed 10 of 12 passes for 171 yards and four touchdowns. Wood completed 18 of 22 for 269 yards and three touchdowns while also running for a 32-yard score.
Coach Mike MacIntyre is used to seeing his quarterbacks complete a high percentage of passes. His offense at San Jose State last year was among the best in the nation in the passing game. It looks like that is at least beginning to translate here in Boulder, though the fact that it is happening against a CU defense that was among the worst in the nation last year dampens the excitement somewhat.
MacIntyre said coaches are playing "a bunch of different people in the secondary" but he didn't pull any punches in describing the defense as "terrible" in the scrimmage when it came to giving up big plays, a problem that ruined last season.
MacIntyre said injuries and a lack of continuity in the secondary contributed and he also noted the quarterbacks would not have been as efficient if they weren't off limits from being hit. He said some of the bigger passing plays in the scrimmage would have been sacks in an actual game.
Safeties coach Charles Clark said players in the secondary have made strides this spring but there is a long way to go in their development.
"It's a lot of learning different things that we're implementing," Clark said. "Those guys are trying to grasp a lot of it in a small amount of time. What, 10 practices now? It's a learning curve, but they will get it. We will get it down."
Defensive backs Jered Bell, Marques Mosley and John Walker were three of the five leading tacklers in the scrimmage. Linebacker Brady Daigh forced and recovered a fumble, accounting for the only turnover of the day for the defense.
Missing in action
MacIntyre said sophomore wide receiver Gerald Thomas did not attend the scrimmage because of an issue that is "between him and me." MacIntyre said he believes Thomas will be back with the team next week when practices resume.
Thomas played in all 12 games last season as a true freshman and made 18 catches for 171 yards. He was listed fourth at the X wide receiver position on the first depth chart issued this spring.
Tailback Josh Ford is having another strong spring. He led the Buffs in rushing in Friday's scrimmage with eight carries for 136 yards, including one 52-yard run.
Returning starter Christian Powell also had eight carries for 52 yards and scored on a 25-yard run.
MacIntyre said he would wait to review the film before deciding if any of the quarterbacks has taken a lead in the competition. He said the area he has seen the most improvement this spring has been in completion rates. ... Senior linebacker Derrick Webb led the team with eight tackles. True freshman linebacker Addison Gillam had seven. ... Punter Darragh O'Neill averaged 53 yards on two punts with one inside the 20-yard line. ... The Buffs will practice on Tuesday and Thursday next week (3:45-6 p.m.) ahead of the spring game Saturday (10:30 a.m.). The spring game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
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