Football: CU Buffs' Paul Richardson brimming with confidence
Wide receiver believes he's better than ever after knee injury
04/05/2013 08:41:49 PM MDT
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Colorado football fans want the old Paul Richardson back. They miss the guy who provided some spark in the offense. They need the guy who spent a September afternoon in Folsom Field two years ago looking over his shoulder a lot at California defenders chasing him.
But Colorado football fans will never see that Paul Richardson again. Paul Richardson says so.
"I don't even remember who he is," Richardson said. "I think I surpassed him somewhere around five months out of surgery. I don't really think in the past I've done much. So I expect a lot out of myself and I know a lot of my teammates are going to be leaning on me."
Richardson missed all of last season because of a torn knee ligament suffered during spring drills a year ago April 9. The CU offense sorely missed his speed and play-making ability. His absence was a major contributing factor to the Buffs going 1-11 in 2012.
Richardson participated fully in a scrimmage for the first time this spring Friday at Folsom Field and he looked as fast as ever. This time he was looking over his shoulder at CU defenders who are hopefully learning from the lessons he provides them in each practice. He caught three passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard bomb from quarterback Nick Hirschman to open the scoring.
"He's an extremely talented receiver," CU cornerbacks coach Andy LaRussa said after Richardson played a significant role in a tough day for his group. "He does a lot of things well. He finds a lot of ways to get open and he's really a challenge for the secondary.
"Going against a guy like that every day in the secondary, you're bound to get better. He's one of the better receivers, I would imagine, in the conference."
The fourth year junior is brimming with confidence, not just about returning to the field this fall, but also about what CU might be able to accomplish in a new offensive system under new coaches.
Richardson has had a class conflict on Tuesdays and Thursdays this spring that has forced him to leave practices early on those days, but he says he's still getting a lot out of the time he has on the field.
"Confidence in our offense and the play calling of our coaches," he said. "Of course you have scripted periods, but you also have periods where we're live and we do realistic situations where we don't have to go off scripts. I've developed a lot of confidence in the coaches, confidence in my receiving corps and confidence in my knee."
And just how is your knee Paul?
"My knee is great," he says. "It's almost scary."
Richardson hasn't played a full season yet in his career. He missed part of his sophomore season in 2011 with a sprained knee and didn't consistently earn playing time in his freshman year until the second half of the season. He's curious what he might be able to do if he is able to stay on the field for all 12 games this fall.
Most fans of the program would be happy to see the Buffs take a few steps forward this fall. Win three, four, maybe five games and be more competitive in every outing. Richardson isn't necessarily making any predictions, but it's clear he's aiming higher.
"Our team is looking amazing right now," he said. "Our offense is great now. We're very fluid. The coaches have just been like encouraging us to go 100 percent whether we're making mistakes or not because the only way we're going to get better is getting out there and doing it. For the most part, like coach preaches to us every day, you're either getting better or you're getting worse. You're not staying the same. Every day we're progressively getting better. I just can't wait to see CSU."
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