December 14, 2007

Buffaloes, Wheatley back to practice

BOULDER, Colo. - The Buffaloes returned to the practice field on Friday afternoon in preparation for the Independence Bowl. All-Big senior cornerback Terrence Wheatley was back in pads for the first time in nearly a month.

"It feels fine, it doesn't hurt," Wheatley said when asked about his left foot injury, which kept him out of Colorado's regular season finale against Nebraska. "It feels like I haven't missed a beat. [I felt] a little bit out of shape, but that's about it."

The Buffaloes' December 30th match up against Alabama will be Wheatley's final game in a CU uniform. His days left in Boulder are down into the single digits.

"After the bowl game, I will go to Dallas for two days and then on January 1st or 2nd I will be flying down to Florida near the Pensacola area. I'll train at a place called API," he explained. "I'll be getting ready for the Senior Bowl and then after the Senior Bowl I'll be right back to Florida again to train. I'll be back here (Boulder) for about a week before pro timing day. But after the 23rd [of December], I'm pretty much gone for good."

Wheatley has an Aviation Meteorology final on Saturday morning at 10 am. He is set to earn his degree next Wednesday.

All-Big 12 defensive tackle George Hypolite was not back in pads on Friday but said his hamstring is getting closer to 100 percent every day.

"I have been doing a lot of running with the team during the days we're not practicing so I should be back out on the practice field tomorrow (Saturday)," said Hypolite, who played the Nebraska game with a torn hamstring.

In the fall, strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman had injured players hauling and shoveling sand. Hypolite and fellow injured players Drew Hudgins and R.J. Brown were carrying around practice dummies on Friday.

"It is kind of a mental grind," Hypolite said when asked about Pitman's new activity for injured players. "It keeps you in the mental flow of pushing yourself when you're not actually playing, which is a great thing."

Additional Notes:

*** With temperatures hovering around 20 degrees outside, the Buffaloes practiced in their new indoor bubble on Friday. A year ago, similar weather conditions would have provided a less than enjoyable practice experience for the players, coaches and media.

*** With the coaching staff out on the road recruiting much of the last two weeks, the players have done a lot of conditioning and lifting work with Coach Pitman. Wheatley also said that the players have been organizing 7-on-7s "once or twice" a week.

"Coach Pit tries to run us into the ground," Wheatley said laughing. "A lot of guys have been joking around saying, 'They're running us to death for one game'. But it is more than that. You have to get ready for this one game but it is also getting the guys on the right foot for next year."

"We've been working out with Pit, running with Pit, we have been getting to know Pit real well," added freshman offensive lineman Ryan Miller. "We have just spent a lot of time with him. We're all getting stronger and we're all getting faster. Everything is going according to plan."

*** On Thursday, the Buffaloes announced that they will play Hawaii four times over the course of a six year span. The first game of the series will be played in Boulder in September of 2010. The other game at Folsom Field is scheduled for 2014. Colorado will play at Hawaii in 2011 and 2015.

*** The Buffaloes will practice again on Saturday morning 9:30-11:00 am and Sunday 9:30-11:30 am.

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