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Archive for Saturday, September 30, 1995

T WAIT FOR BUFFS

September 30, 1995

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Steve Bratten, a University of Colorado legacy and highly regarded Colorado prep football player, seemed a lock to join the Buffaloes upon his graduation from high school.

But the Buffs dropped their pursuit of Bratten, and Bratten lost interest in the Buffs.

And so, a week from today, with about 40 friends and family in the Folsom Field stands, Bratten, Kansas University's red-shirt freshman inside linebacker, will start against his father's alma mater and Bratten's childhood favorite.

"No, no, no, I won't have any divided loyalties," Bratten said. "I don't have any good feelings for them."

He doesn't really have any bad feelings, either. CU recruited Bratten up until November of his senior year at Pomona (Colo.) High.

"They came to my school and said they decided to go with another kid," Bratten said. "I never got a chance to visit, so I can't really say I wanted to go there or I didn't. Everyone was supportive of my decision to come to KU. It was pretty simple. They didn't offer me a scholarship."

Bratten's father, Jim, was a three-year letterman at quarterback for the Buffs from 1968-70. The elder Bratten didn't pressure his son to consider KU. But he did take his son on occasional visits to Folsom Field.

"He took me to a lot of alumni games," Steve Bratten said. "I used to hang out there a lot. It's a good school. A couple of guys from my high school went there. But I wouldn't say we were die-hard fans. I probably went to six or seven games there. During the football season, my dad's pretty wrapped up in his season."

Jim Bratten no doubt will tear himself away from his duties as Pomona High's coach to see his son play next Saturday at Folsom. When he does, he'll see his son make his fifth career start.

A 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, Steve Bratten spent his freshman year as a medical red-shirt. He suffered a separated shoulder his senior year in high school, and the grind of two-a-day practices at KU aggravated the old wound.

But this year, without ever having played a down of major-college football, Bratten was listed No. 1.

"That first game, I was pretty nervous," Bratten said. "But I got in the flow of things. It's a lot better now."

So is Bratten, according to KU defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz.

"I'm pleased with his progress," Hankwitz said. "He's young, a little green behind the ears. But I like his progress. I like his effort and I like his attitude. I expect him to continue to get better."

Through four games, Bratten has made 19 tackles -- 12 unassisted -- and has recovered a fumble. His 19 stops rank fourth on the team.

"I have a hard time judging how I'm doing," Bratten said. "Personally, I think I'm doing OK, but I always want to do better."

Of course, he'd like nothing better than for Kansas, 4-0 and ranked No. 25 in the country, to stun the No. 4 Buffs.

"I'm looking forward to it," Bratten said. "I'll have a lot of fans there. It's exciting. I can't wait."

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