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Publish Date: 8/31/2005

Moyd has long way to go to show CU he can play


BOULDER — Before Kevin Moyd moves from the sidelines, he’ll have to prove he’s built for Division I football.

The freshman tailback out of Miramar, Fla., was one of the high points of the Colorado Buffaloes’ recruiting class last winter. He was fast, he was tough, and because crowds of 30,000 or more fans weren’t unusual at his high school games, he knew how to operate under pressure.

But during the first few weeks of preseason drills, the Moyd CU saw during practice was nothing like the Moyd they saw on tape. Although he’s recently provided evidence that he could be what the Buffs expected, and he is listed as the team’s third tailback, he is nowhere near game ready.

“What’s surprising is the mentality and the intensity of guys — when you think they’re one way and they come in and show you something different,” Buffs run-

ning backs coach Shawn Simms said. “Very seldom do you see a tough guy in high school come to college and just turn it down.

“There’s two things that can happen in that situation. One is that the first step is overwhelming and it just takes them time to get used to it. Two, is they never make the adjustment.

“But it’s good to see him coming

out of it,” Simms said. “He’s still got a lot to learn, but at least we’re starting to see the kinds of things we saw during his high school days. He’s hitting holes and using his speed and quickness.”

Moyd’s slow start has left his team a bit hamstrung at the position, however. After coaches discovered transfer Mell Holliday was ineligible last week, they can only count on three tailbacks — sophomores Hugh Charles and Byron Ellis, and senior fullback Lawrence Vickers.

After practice Tuesday, head coach Gary Barnett flatly said he is not comfortable putting Moyd in a game. It’s safe to assume the same goes for unproven tailback Maurice Little, a walk-on transfer who is day-to-day with an ankle injury.

“They can be anywhere on the depth chart, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to play,” Simms said.

Moyd, however, does not sound discouraged. He said the speed and size he’s seen in practice has been what he expected, but he admits to being a bit overwhelmed by the fringe aspects of college football, citing the amount of meetings and weight lifting as the biggest adjustment.

“I thought I was just supposed to go out there and run, but there’s more to it,” he said. “I’m far from where I want to be right now. I’ve caught on to a lot of things, but there are still a lot of things I have to work on.”

As long as he continues to catch on, his coaches are confident he can help the team some time down the road. Before he reaches that point, however, he still has much to prove.

“A guy like that, we’re either going to make him or break him,” Simms said. “Usually, if the guy has competitiveness and heart and spirit, he’ll reply the right way.”

Trash man: The Buffs appear to have fired the first official shot of the CU-Colorado State tension this week when freshman cornerback Gardner McKay and sophomore defensive end Alonzo Barrett were quoted as saying coaches have taught them to treat CSU as a little brother who needs to be kept in line.

Barnett expressed disgust at the comments after Tuesday’s practice, and went as far as to scold Barrett in front of a group of reporters.

“That’s stupid. I don’t think it’s good for anybody,” Barnett said. “I don’t want our guys doing it and I’m sure (CSU coach Sonny Lubick) doesn’t want his guys doing it.

“Neither one of those guys (McKay or Barrett) have played a lick in that game, so they have no right to say anything.”

The damage appeared to be done, however. On Tuesday, CSU running back Jimmy Green acknowledged the statement.

“I think there’s a lack of respect there. They definitely don’t think we can play with them, and that puts a lot of fire in a guy,” he said. “We’re going down there to do some business. I hope they’re ready for the battle, because I know we are.”

Tickets selling: According to CU sports information director Dave Plati, 1,778 tickets remained at the end of business Tuesday for Saturday’s game against CSU, down from nearly 3,000 on Monday.

Plati said the school expects a sellout, but that tickets are sill available through the school or at any King Soopers outlet.

This and that: After battling with the NCAA Clearinghouse the past week, McKay is considered eligible for Saturday’s game and practiced Tuesday, having already served a two-day suspension because his transcripts were late. … Safety Dominique Brooks attempted to practice on his sprained ankle Tuesday but was not able to. Barnett said he remains doubtful Brooks will be healthy enough to face CSU.

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