Steamboat grad prepares for first game against CSU

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— If Joel Adams were to accidentally cut himself, it shouldn't surprise anyone if Colorado black and gold slowly oozed out.

The 2003 Steamboat Springs High School graduate lives, breathes, drinks and eats University of Colorado football.

Adams, who remembers watching Kordell Stewart's legendary 1994 Hail Mary pass against Michigan and listening to University of Colorado football games on the radio while riding the bus home in seventh grade, has always wanted to strap on the CU helmet and play for his childhood team.

After Adams saw his first action on the field in Colorado's third game last year, the redshirt junior is now preparing to play his first full season.

He's listed as a backup safety and is expected to play on all the special teams units when Colorado and Colorado State University face off in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at 10 a.m. Saturday, at Invesco Field in Denver.

Now entering his second full year in the program, Adams said he's starting to find his role on the team.

"I'm more comfortable," Adams said after a weightlifting session Thursday. "It's pretty unbelievable how the attitude on the team has changed. Everyone is ready to get this one under way."

Adams originally attended Colorado on a skiing scholarship.

But Adams' love for football - especially CU football - led him to choosing the gridiron over the ski slopes. Because of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, Adams was forced to drop his skiing scholarship to play football.

It's a decision Adams, who wears No. 30 for the Buffaloes, said he'd make again if he had to.

"This was something I always wanted to do," Adams said. " It's been hard, but I'm glad I've done it. It's always been a dream of mine to play at CU."

Adams has played 42 downs and made 11 tackles in three scrimmages this year.

Adams said the difference between year one and year two under head coach Dan Hawkins is unbelievable.

A good portion of that is due to the work put in by strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman, who put the team through offseason workouts that Adams described as brutal.

"It was like boot camp," Adams said.

But during workouts so tough that scholarship players were quitting, Adams stuck it out and impressed coaches with his passion, play and personality.

"I don't know what my friends would tell me if I quit," Adams said. "You get through it with each other."

Adams was moving up the depth charts this offseason before a concussion slowed him at the beginning of camp. But the former Sailor expects to be a major part of CU's special teams unit this year.

Adams will have enough credits to graduate in the spring, but said he will hold off until December of 2008. He said the Colorado football experience is something he wouldn't trade for anything.

"Yeah, of course it would be nice to have a scholarship," he said. "But I came here to play sports and get my degree. That hasn't changed."

While the experience has been humbling for Adams, the driven young man doesn't pull any punches when it comes to picking a winner Saturday.

"I'm saying the Buffs," Adams said. "The Buffs for sure."

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