PUEBLO, Colo. (GothunderWolves.com - April, 18, 2014) - The lights were bright, and the fans were howling at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl on Friday for the first time since late 2013, as the Colorado State University-Pueblo ThunderWolves played their annual Red & Blue Spring Game.
And although the intra-squad scrimmage was the first bit of action that resembled a game in 2014, the defenses looked to be in midseason form.
The Blue team defeated the Red 20-16, in a defensive showdown that featured six turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown by both teams, the first coming from the Red team during the first series of the evening.
"Defense did a good job flying around," said head coach John Wristen. "They had a big pick, and got the game started right. We got a few turnovers, which isn't typical of Pack football on one side, but you're excited about the other side getting turnovers. There's a lot of good things with that."
Among the bright spots on the offense, however, in a game that did not feature starting quarterback Chris Bonner (Sr., San Diego, Calif.) as he continued to rehab offseason thumb surgery, was Paul Browning (Sr., Widefield, Colo.) and his two touchdown receptions, which contributed to 14 of the 20 points the Blue team scored on the evening.
"We started off slow, but I was able to pick it up and get the feel of things," Browning said. "I'm happy on offense, and how we performed today. It's going to be a good summer."
Although Browning, who won the spring's Outstanding Receiver, Outstanding Leadership and Outstanding Teammate awards, the latter of the two voted by his peers, met his individual goals in 2013 of 50 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, Browning said that the goal of 2014 would be different.
"Ultimately, I want to win the National Championship," Browning said.
The spring game also marked the debut of a new punter-kicker combination in Louie Neil (So., Woodland Park, Colo.), as he inherits the vacant spot left by First Team All-American selection Brandon Kliesen, and Josh Greer, who filled in for Greg O'Donnell (R.-Jr., Monument, Colo.) while he completes an internship at Walt Disney World, according to Wristen.
With the end of the spring game, the team will enter phase three of the summer program, according to Wristen.
"We get a chance to study up for finals, and get all of that stuff taken care of, and then get a couple of weeks off, and then come back ready to work sometime in the middle of May," Wristen said.