Former Sailor ‘buffs’ up football dream
Steamboat Springs — When Joel Adams first walked onto the University of Colorado football team in the summer of 2005, he wasn’t the fastest, the biggest or the most experienced player on the field.
He’s still not, but he has refused to let those things stop him from pursuing his dream in Boulder.
The only thing Adams was pursuing Wednesday was schoolwork as he rushed between classes on the CU campus. His thoughts were focused on making the grade with his teachers, but he didn’t mind sharing his thoughts about spring football or the impression first-year head coach Dan Hawkins is making on the football program.
“The coaches were not happy after last season,” Adams said. “We had one of the toughest springs ever. It was just like a boot camp.”
Adams said the players that were not serious about being a part of the Colorado Buffaloes football program, the ones that were just hanging around, now are gone.
But the former Sailor isn’t concerned about the departure of several scholarship players or putting in a little extra work in practice.
“We are a completely different team now, ” Adams said. “The hard work has paid off with an improved attitude on our team and high hopes for the upcoming season.”
Hard work is nothing new for Adams, a 2003 Steamboat Springs High School graduate who gave up a scholarship with the ski team to play football. He walked onto the team in August of 2005 during an open tryout. He made the cut and was asked to be a part of the Buffaloes practice squad.
At the time, Adams was a member of the university’s ski team. He was the only skier to qualify for the National Championships in 2005, and was part of the National Championship team in 2006.
Unfortunately, NCAA rules prohibited Adams from accepting a scholarship for skiing while continuing to play football. He forfeited the scholarship and continued to do both sports that year.
But it didn’t take long for him to realize his childhood dream of playing football and skiing for the Buffaloes was not going to work.
Adams said his school work suffered, and so did his performance on the ski slopes. He also felt like he could do more on the football field if he trained harder in the weight room and committed to spring practices.
So after getting a chance to play special teams for the Buffaloes in several games last season, Adams elected to leave the ski team.
Since then, he has gained 15 pounds, but at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, he still isn’t the biggest player on the team. Adams is hoping to trim time from his 40-yard dash with a little extra work this summer, but he isn’t the fastest either.
“Strength is important, but in the Big 12, it is all about speed,” Adams said. “There are a lot of fast guys out there, and I’m doing everything I can to keep up with them.”
But because of a strong work ethic and his passion – not to mention a strong spring showing – Adams has moved up the depth chart.
Next season he is expected to be on the field with the special team’s squad on kickoffs and punt returns. If he’s lucky, Adams might get the chance to mop up as safety. However, those opportunities might be limited because CU’s early season schedule will include key games against Colorado State University (Sept. 1), Arizona State (Sept. 8), Florida State (Sept. 15) and Oklahoma (Sept. 29).
But while Adams admits he is a long shot to make the Colorado starting lineup he’s not complaining about his position.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here, but it just goes to show you that a player from a small town like Steamboat can make it at this level,” he said. “I might always be a special team’s player, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.”
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Work to form a new strategic plan for the Steamboat Springs School District will start next week with the first sessions of a listening tour aimed at getting broad community feedback.