Final Spring Showdown: Coach Prime's Buffaloes Go Black & Gold

Final Spring Showdown: Coach Prime’s Buffaloes Go Black & Gold

Having been in the coaching game for years, Pat Shurmur gets how things roll. That’s why the Buffaloes are keeping things under wraps for their spring game this Saturday. Gotta save the surprises for later.

The weather might not be great for the yearly Black & Gold scrimmage at Folsom Field (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network), but fans can expect some pretty basic plays.

“I don’t really have much going on here, so I spend my time at home flipping through other teams’ spring games,” said Shurmur, the new offensive coordinator for the Buffs. “I watch and learn, knowing our early opponents might be doing the same with ours. We won’t reveal all our new plays, probably just stick to what worked last year. But we’ll throw in a few surprises for the fans.”

CU starts with North Dakota State on Aug. 29, then goes to Nebraska and Colorado State. Shurmur joked, “Unless they’re spying on us at practice, we’re not giving them any hints.”

Even if it’s pretty basic, Coach Deion Sanders’ second Black & Gold scrimmage lets fans see the Buffs live for the first time since last year’s finale against Utah on Nov. 25.

For many new Buffs, including some coaches, this scrimmage offers a chance to experience Folsom Field for the first time. Even though it won’t be as crowded as a game day (only around 24,000 tickets sold so far), it’s still a taste of the atmosphere.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the stadium,” said first-year defensive coordinator Robert Livingston. “I’ve watched plenty of film, seen how packed it gets even late in the season. Can’t wait to soak in that atmosphere, experience being here under the mountains, which is why I took the job.”

Although snow isn’t in the forecast like last year, rain’s expected all day Saturday. It might mean no Ralphie run, but the Buffs still plan to practice hard for their last spring session.

Shurmur says the game is just another chance to practice.

During the game, Shurmur and Shedeur Sanders will team up on offense. Backup Ryan Staub aims to build on his solid spring performance too.

In Saturday’s scrimmage, keep an eye on the new offensive line. They’ve got Jordan Seaton, the country’s best freshman, plus five transfers and Tyler Brown, who couldn’t play last season due to an old NCAA rule. Hank Zilinskas is back too, holding down the center spot.

Shurmur mentioned how the team’s line is improving. With mostly new faces, Hank’s holding it down at center. They’re really gelling, despite the challenges.

Under Livingston, the Buffs’ defense is changing up. Travis Hunter, a standout at cornerback and receiver, is now in the nickel position. And keep an eye on newcomers Preston Hodge and DJ McKinney, making waves in practice. Plus, the revamped defensive line is ready to show what they’ve got.

Last year, CU’s rushing defense ranked 110th nationally. Livingston’s aiming for improvement, and Saturday’s a key moment for that.

“We need to shut down the run,” he explained. “If we stick together and keep pushing forward, we’ll reach our goals.”

Just like last year, the lineup at the spring game won’t match the fall’s. We’ve got our core players, but come fall, expect around 30 new faces with scholarships. They’re not here yet, but they’ll join the team soon.

No matter the conditions or who’s on the field, Livingston believes the spring game is a special day for the Buffs and should be cherished.

“It’s a big day. I feel like its importance gets overlooked,” he shared. “These guys put in tons of work all year for just 12 games in the fall. So let’s make this the 13th; it’s our sure thing. Let’s enjoy it, play hard, and give it everything we’ve got.”

“Go all out, even if you mess up. Looking forward to soaking in the atmosphere and seeing Buff Nation in action.”

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