The first practice of fall camp brought the usual excitement and a fresh-start feel to the Colorado Buffaloes football team.

Tuesday's opening session also brought a measure of comfort to the returning Buffs.

Despite having a first-year coaching staff, the Buffs put in so much work during the spring and summer that they felt like they hit the ground running Tuesday.

"That was the best first day I've seen in the three years that I've been here, so that was really encouraging," junior wide receiver Tyler McCulloch said. "That's really because of putting in all that work this summer."

With the exception of the true freshmen, most of the team went though spring drills with new head coach Mike MacIntyre and his staff. Then, the group went through scripted, structured player-run practices all summer.

"It was definitely a big help to be working on it all summer and staying fresh with the plays, signals and just getting in and out of breaks," McCulloch said.

Senior defensive lineman Chidera Uzo-Diribe felt the same level of comfort on defense, too.

"A lot of the guys knew what to expect and what their assignments were coming into the first day," Uzo-Diribe said.

Tuesday was the first opportunity MacIntyre and the coaches had to see the players on the field since spring practices ended in mid-April, and he was pleased with what he saw.


"We were improved from the last day of spring," he said. "For us to get as many repetitions as we got without as many miscues I thought was good. It showed they worked this summer and their player-led practices that they did really paid off because we haven't gone backwards. We were able to move forward, because we installed some more stuff today."

Adding the true freshmen to the mix gives CU 105 players, and that led to the Buffs getting a lot more done Tuesday than they did in the spring.

"We had a period there where we got a ton of reps done, the most we've ever gotten, even at the end of spring," MacIntyre said.

That made for a longer day than the players are used to (their player-led practices went about 50 minutes), but Uzo-Diribe said it was a good first day.

"We ran a lot of plays today, a lot more than we ran during our player-run practices," he said. "This coaching staff, they want us well-conditioned going into the fourth quarter, so running all these plays out here in practice is definitely going to benefit us."

While there was a lot of comfort going into the first day, McCulloch said practice had a different feel to it, as the Buffs gear up for the 2013 season.

"It's definitely a really, really exciting day," he said. "I've been waiting on this for a while. Summer stuff is fun, but at the end of the day, you just want to be playing football again. There's a lot of excitement in the air."

Parker returns

Defensive lineman Juda Parker got his first chance to practice with the new coaching staff Tuesday. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound junior missed all of spring drills while recovering from a Nov. 30 surgery on his shoulder.

"It was a really great opportunity to come back on this field and play," he said. "I've been anxious for a while to get to play for these coaches."

Parker was cleared to return to the field after spring ball, so he spent all summer practicing with his teammates, but Tuesday was different.

"Just to have the coaches teaching you and prepping you for the season, that's always a different experience," he said. "I was kind of like a sponge. I was soaking it all up, really getting to learn from a great coach, (defensive line coach) Jim Jeffcoat. And just to play alongside some my buddies was a really great feeling."

Parker played in all 12 games last season, posting 19 tackles and three quarterback pressures in 241 snaps.

"He's looking great," Uzo-Diribe said. "He's taken the next step and I'm expecting big things from Juda this year."


MacIntyre announced that seniors Scott Fernandez (tight end), Josh Ford (running back) and Alex Wood (tight end) have been placed on scholarship for this season. All three were given one-year scholarship at the start of 2012 camp, also. "Those young men have done really well in the classroom, have done well on the football field and they're really well respected," MacIntyre said. ... CU now has 84 players on scholarship, one less than the NCAA maximum. "We'll figure out what we're going to do with it," MacIntyre said of the final scholarship. ... Ten minutes into a rainy start to Tuesday's practices, the Buffs fled the field because of lightning. That caused a delay of about 20 minutes before they returned.

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