Fall Camp Notes

August 29th

Saturday … No practice … Mandatory NCAA team day off …

Sunday … Meetings (12:00 p.m.), Practice No. 26 (1:30 – 3:00 p.m.)

Fall Camp Roster

The Fall Camp roster can be found and downloaded here.

Depth Chart released (see Notes after press release, below, for more details)

Download the depth chart here

From cubuffs.com … There were no “shockers” in the Colorado football depth chart, released Saturday.

But the Buffs’ two-deep chart for Thursday’s opener at Hawaii did confirm what fall camp followers had been theorizing for several weeks: there will indeed be a handful of new faces on the field when the Buffaloes open the third season of the Mike MacIntyre era.

The biggest changes will come on the defensive side of the ball, where three transfers who have never played a down for Colorado moved up during fall camp and are now listed atop the charts.

At outside linebacker, former Air Force quarterback Jaleel Awini is listed as the starter, with returning letterman Christian Shaver listed No. 2. At right defensive end, sophomore junior college transfer Leo Jackson III is listed ahead of junior Jimmie Gilbert, who started nine games for the Buffs last season. At defensive tackle, junior Jordan Carrell — another junior college transfer — is slated to start ahead of two-year letterman Samson Kafovalu.

All three began fall camp listed as second on the Buffs’ “pencil” depth chart, with Awini actually listed as a defensive end. While the three are currently listed atop the depth chart, there’s little doubt that those at No. 2 will see playing time in Hawaii, especially given the expected hot and humid conditions.

There were also a few other alterations to the first depth chart of camp.

Defensively, sophomore Ryan Moeller, first listed as the No. 2 strong safety, is now No. 1 at free safety, ahead of fellow sophomore Evan White. On offense, sophomore Devin Ross is listed ahead of sophomore Donovan Lee  and redshirt freshman Jay MacIntyre.

Meanwhile, there are still four positions still up in the air.

At left guard, it’s Jonathan Huckins or Shane Callahan. At fullback, George Frazier and Jordan Murphy are in the top spot. And, both special teams spots are still open, with freshman Alex Kinney and Chris Graham listed at punter and Diego Gonzalez and Graham at placekicker.

Meanwhile, senior Christian Powell has emerged as the first choice at tailback, a position that CU coaches have continued to say will see a consistent rotation until someone steps up with a hot hand.

There are also a handful of true freshmen who earned a spot on the depth chart, albeit third or fourth at their positions. The list includes cornerbacks Nick Fisher and Isaiah Oliver, linebackers N.J. Falo and Grant Watanabe, and running back Patrick Carr.

It’s worth noting that in a day and age when teams run multiple sets and formations on both sides of the ball, depth charts are seldom more than a starting point. In fact, the latest CU chart includes 12 offensive positions, with the actual starting lineup depending on whether the Buffs open with a fullback or three (or four) wide receivers. Last season, the Buffs opened seven games with a three-receiver set, two games with four receivers, two with two tight ends and one with a fullback.

It is also the same story on the defensive side of the ball, where the depth chart technically lists four defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs. It won’t be a surprise if the Buffs open a majority of their games in a nickel package — utilizing five defensive backs — meaning starting cornerback Chidobe Awuzie could slide into the nickel spot, or Awini could fill that role. There may also be situations when the Buffs start just two down defensive linemen and bring another rush end/outside linebacker into the mix.

Some notes

– Linebacker Deaysean Rippy, listed as the No. 1 outside (Sam) linebacker in the summer depth chart, is nowhere to be found on the new depth chart

– The lack of clear cut winners at the kicker and punter positions can be seen as a sign of weakness, a sign of strength, or a sign that the Buffs don’t want to give out that information to the Rainbow Warriors

– The Buffs will play a 3-4 and a 4-2 more often than the listed 4-3, so the actual starters for the first snap next Thursday will likely be different than what is shown on the depth chart

– Sophomore Ryan Moeller was listed as a backup to Tedric Thompson at strong safety in the July depth chart, but is moving over to the starter at free safety in the Hawai’i depth chart, ahead of the former starter, Evan White

– Junior Yuri Wright and senior Marques Mosley, former starters in the defensive backfield, have slid to fourth on the depth chart at cornerback and safety, respectively

– Three players are listed as injured, including Tyler Henington and Travis Talianko, who were both lost early on in August. The only other player listed as injured is walk-on sophomore tailback Joey Tuggle, so the Buffs … knock on wood … emerged from Fall Camp without any new significant injuries (though backup sophomore defensive end Timothy Coleman is listed as injured on the depth chart).

 

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August 28th

CU Football Preview show with Johnson, Woelk and Brooks

From cubuffs.com … At the CU website, there is a 17-minute preview video with KOA’s Mark Johnson together with CU writers Neill Woelk and B.G. Brooks. The trio take you through the roster unit-by-unit with a preview for each. No breaking news, but it’s always good to hear these guys talking CU football.

The full video can be watched here.

 

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August 27th

Fall Camp Stories …

– “Brooks: Buffs Braced For Breaking In A Pair Of New Legs” … from cubuffs.com

– “Transformation Nearly Complete For Buffs’ Jaleel Awini” … from cubuffs.com

– “Kenneth Olugbode believes experience bodes well for Buffs” … from the Daily Camera

– “Tedric Thompson’s mentality – ‘They’re not as good as us, they can’t score on us’ … from BSN Denver

 

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August 26th 

Fall Camp Stories …

– “Everything you need to know about the CU Buffs special teams competitions” … from BSN Denver

The opening … In just over one week, Colorado kicks of their season at Hawaii, but the question remains: who will be doing that kicking? Or any of the kicking for that matter.

To this point, Colorado has yet to name a starter for either kicker position, or punter, but the battles have been narrowed down from three to two.

“We certainly feel that the kicking competition is probably going to come down to Diego Gonzalez and Chris Graham,” said special teams coach Toby Neinas. “And the punting competition is going to come down to Alex Kinney and Chris Graham.”

Continue reading this very informative story here

– “Buff D-Line Focuses On Run Defense” … from cubuffs.com

– “Buffs bullish on offensive line as opener nears” … from the Daily Camera

– “Buff Defense Continues Taking Aim At Takeaways” … from cubuffs.com

 

Coach MacIntyre talks with the media after Wednesday’s practice

YouTube video courtesy of BuffStampede.com:

 

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August 25th 

Fall Camp Stories …

– “Buffs Expect Big Things From Tight Ends” … by Neill Woelk at cubuffs.com

– “Michael Adkins aims to break away from injuries” … from the Daily Camera

– “Buff Wideouts Benefit From Playing CU’s DBs” … by Neill Woelk at cubuffs.com

– “Eddy Lopez making plays on defense” … from the Daily Camera

 

Coach MacIntyre talks with the media after Tuesday’s practice

YouTube video courtesy of BuffStampede.com

 

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August 24th 

Nice article on Derek McCartney

Ryan   at BSN Denver has posted a nice article on CU sophomore defensive end Derek McCartney entitled “Derek McCartney: Student, leader, athlete“.

The full article can be found here.

The opening … What do Kenneth Crawley, Justin Solis and Derek McCartney have in common? They’re expected to play a big role for the Colorado defense this season, they were all recruited by Jon Embree in 2012, and they’re all expected to receive their under-graduate degrees from the University of Colorado this year.

The difference? Crawley and Solis are Seniors on the football field this season, while McCartney is only a (redshirt) Sophomore.

“I just like when I see sophomore next to his name,” said head coach Mike MacIntyre with a laugh. “He is a very mature young man, he’s doing really well, I’m very proud of him.”

Continue reading story here

Also … “Punt returns not the weapon they once were” … from the Daily Camera

9News interviews coach MacIntyre in the Champions Center

9News did a live report from CU’s new Champions Center, along with an interview of head coach Mike MacIntyre.

Here is a link where you can watch the report and interview.

 

Nelson Spruce named to ESPN Pre-season All-Pac-12 team

ESPN has released its Pre-season All-Pac-12 team, and CU wide receiver Nelson Spruce is on the list.

ESPN had this to say about Spruce:

WR: Nelson Spruce, Colorado, senior

As a junior, Spruce finished tied for fourth in the country with 106 catches and was named second-team All-Pac-12.

The full list can be found here. The breakdown by school: Utah, 5; USC, 4; UCLA, 4; Stanford, 3; Arizona, 2; Oregon, 2; Colorado, 1; Washington State, 1; Arizona State, 1; Washington, 1; Cal, 1; Oregon State, 0.

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August 23rd

Coach MacIntyre talks with the media after Sunday’s practice

YouTube video courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Fall Camp concludes with a solid practice

From cubuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes finished fall camp Sunday on a high note.

“Really good practice today,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said following the Buffs’ afternoon workout. “I was excited about our practice today. We came out and had a really energetic practice. We went through a lot of different situations and made ‘em think and put a little pressure on them.”

Classes start Monday at CU, and players will have the day off. They will then begin their normal schedule of morning meetings and practices before classes.

Even though they were in shells (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts) Sunday, the Buffs conducted a variety of semi-live situational drills, pitting the No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense and vice versa. Both sides came up with some big plays, including a nice pass route and catch by receiver Shay Fields, who left a defender flat-footed in the process, and a deep-ball interception by cornerback Ken Crawley.

“Every day, this team has come,” MacIntyre said. “We haven’t had what I’d call a bad practice. We’ve had some that may have started slow, but we’ve never had a bad practice, where you go watch the film and go, ‘Oh gosh, they just weren’t in it today.’ That has not happened.

“It shows maturity, it shows they are in really good condition and it shows a little fire in their belly.”

Two areas on which the Buffs continue to concentrate are the fourth quarter and turnovers. MacIntyre has consistently reminded the team throughout camp how many games the Buffs let slip away in the fourth quarter last season — and how many of those could have been turned around by forcing just one more turnover.

Continue reading story here

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August 22nd 

Coach MacIntyre talks with the media after Saturday’s practice

YouTube video courtesy of BuffStampede.com:

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August 21st

Kickoff Luncheon … “A team that will not be denied” … “I can’t wait to see the smiles on your faces”

Here is a link to the video of the CU Kickoff Luncheon, with speeches from Mike MacIntyre, Rick George, Gary Barnett, and assistant coaches.

 

Buffs turn attention to Hawai’i  

From cubuffs.com … Thoughts of Hawai’i are now firmly at the forefront of the Colorado Buffaloes’ agenda.

One day after finishing up their last two-a-day session of fall camp, the Buffs on Friday began working on their game plan for the Sept. 3 season opener, when they kick it off against the Rainbow Warriors in an 11 p.m. (Mountain time) game at Aloha Stadium.

“We’re just working on a little bit of Hawaii, making sure we’ve got all of our concepts down defensively, offensively and special teams,” said head coach Mike MacIntyre. “(But) you don’t know what exactly what anybody is going to do the first game. You don’t know that all your concepts and theories and rules will match up to anything that happens.”

That’s especially true for the Rainbow Warriors this year. While Norm Chow is still the head coach, Hawai’i’s offensive and defensive coordinators won’t be the same coaches who manned those positions a year ago, when Colorado took a 21-12 win in Boulder. Don Bailey is the new offensive coordinator; Tom Mason now heads the defense.

“I would assume they’ll be different,” MacIntyre said. “We’ll find out when we get out there.”

Still, the Buffs are now at the point of fall camp where they will begin focusing more and more on the opener. Most of their top two units have been decided, or will be very soon. Players are anxious to play a game; coaches know they have just 10 practices remaining — including two in Hawaii — to fine tune a game plan and prepare for the opener

“I think a sense of urgency should always be there,” MacIntyre said. “But as you get closer to game time, players get excited and coaches probably get a little more nervous, making sure you’ve covered everything.”

 

Quarterback depth a plus for Buffs

Quarterback analysis from B.G. Brooks at cubuffs.com … In junior quarterback Sefo Liufau, Brian Lindgren believes he and the 2015 Colorado offense have something rare – and he’s right.

After setting 51 school records in 2014, Liufau is poised to become only the sixth three-year starter in 125 seasons of CU football. But beyond Liufau, Lindgren, the Buffs’ offensive coordinator/QB coach, also believes this is a rare season overall at his position.

“We’ve got depth . . . that’s the No. 1 thing from when we got here (in 2013),” he says. “We’ve got some options now after your starter – guys who can go in there and have shown in practice situations they can perform.”

The hope always in August is that come late November the first starter will still be the starter. But that can be rare, too. Liufau opened in 11 of 12 games last season, missing the start at No. 3 Oregon because of a concussion. Still, he wound up playing much of the last half in CU’s 44-10 loss.

The first snap in Eugene went to returning backup Jordan Gehrke, who has a fairly solid hold on that role entering 2015. Behind Gehrke, who’s in his third year on campus, are redshirt freshman Cade Apsay, true freshman Steven Montez and walk-on T.J. Patterson, a homegrown (Boulder High) transfer from Wyoming.

Continue reading story here

 

Other Fall Camp stories …

Buffs learning life lessons (e.g., only 1.6% will make the NFL) … From Neill Woelk at cubuffs.com

Devin Ross Used An Unexpected Redshirt Season To His Advantage … From B.G. Brooks at cubuffs.com

CU Buffs Dylan Keeney could ‘make a real difference’ in the passing game … From BSN Denver

-” ‘Big Brother’ Ken Crawley … from BSN Denver

Stronger, faster Jeromy Irwin ready for key role … from the Daily Camera

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August 20th 

Notes from the final day of two-a-days

From cubuffs.com … If it’s not crunch time, it’s close.

With Thursday being the final day of two-a-day practices for the Colorado Buffaloes, it means Mike MacIntyre’s team will have just 11 practices remaining before the Sept. 3 season opener in Hawai’i.

But 11 is actually a bit of a misleading number. Two of those practices will be in Hawai’i — one the day the Buffs land (Sept. 1) after their 71/2-hour flight to the islands, and another the day before the game.

Thus, in reality the Buffs have what amounts to nine meaningful practices remaining before they kick off their season.

It means that sense of urgency that’s been present throughout camp is starting to ramp up another notch. Players are feeling the heat as coaches are shuffling players in and out of drills, trying to determine their two-deep charts at each position.

That process will become even more apparent in the next few days.

“We’ve been working with everybody because we have to have backups everywhere,”  MacIntyre said, “but we’ll kind of start narrowing that down, getting a little bit more game specific as we go along.”

The Buffs’ starting lineup is set for the most part across both sides of the ball. But still up for grabs are a number of places on the second unit — something that will be key as the Buffs prepare to play in a hot, humid environment, one that becomes more difficult because of the substantial time change. While the kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Hawaii time, the Buffs’ internal clocks will say 11 p.m. Boulder time.

It’s why depth has been such a focal point for the Buffs this season.

A year ago, the Buffs were thin in too many places after the starting lineup. Now, MacIntyre said, the Buffs are much more comfortable with their depth.

“I’m confident in the fact that when we put somebody in depth-wise, they’ve played,” MacIntyre said. “To me, that always makes a difference. You’ve been in a situation before.”

There are a handful of areas in which depth should not be an issue. Running back, wide receiver and the secondary are three places where the Buffs have plenty of returning experience.

But other places, such as the defensive and offensive lines, are areas where depth may still be a question mark.

“Right now, I think we could put a first team together and a few other guys that could make a play,” said defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt earlier this week. “But I don’t know how much depth we’ll have. We’ve got to find some and get it ready before we play.”

 

Woelk – Jimmie Gilbert / Derek McCartney filling new roles of defensive end/linebacker

From cubuffs.com … Ask Colorado junior Jimmie Gilbert about his new duties this year, and Gilbert can’t help but grin.

A year ago, Gilbert was listed as a defensive end, whose task consisted of rushing the quarterback and stopping the run. He proved adept at the job, finishing with 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four other tackles for losses.

But now? Gilbert has visions of an interception or two dancing in his head. In new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt’s new defensive scheme, Gilbert will line up as an outside linebacker/rush end, meaning he’ll still be rushing the passer and playing the run — but will also be asked to drop into pass coverage when the situation dictates.

“That’s just a great chance for me to make a play on the ball,” Gilbert said. “Everyone loves getting picks, everyone loves getting a touchdown. When you get the chance to drop into coverage, that just opens up the door for a pick six or getting the ball in the hands of the offense.”

As a true defensive end, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Gilbert is slightly undersized. But his long, lanky frame is perfect for someone who will also be expected to drop back into pass coverage as an outside linebacker.

Continue reading story here

 

More Fall Camp stories

– “Outside The Comfort Zone The Norm For Buffs’ Afolabi Laguda” … from cubuffs.com

– “Under-appreciated work-horse (Christian Powell) expected to start again” … from BSN Denver

 

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August 19th

Camp stories …

Donovan Lee looks to make big impact as slot receiver” … from the Daily Camera

Buffs aim for turnaround on turnovers” … from the Daily Camera

“John Walker makes Nickelback cool” … from BSN Denver

Oregonian … Colorado on the rise (at least in terms of facilities)

From the Oregonian … Ever so gradually, the Colorado Buffaloes are becoming a first-rate program — in terms of facilities, anyway.

On the field, there’s still plenty of work left to do.

Coming off a 2-10 season, the Buffaloes have been picked to finish last in the Pac-12 South by just about everyone, including the league’s media poll.

That hasn’t deterred third-year coach Mike MacIntyre from discussing bowls with his Buffaloes. He’s unabashed in his belief the team has the talent to make the postseason for the first time since 2007.

After all, they return junior quarterback Sefo Liufau and senior standout receiver Nelson Spruce. The running game is solid, with Christian Powell expected to receive a bulk of the carries, and the defense revamped under new coordinator Jim Leavitt, who spent the last four years as linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers.

“The way I see everything now is we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” MacIntyre said. “The program is growing.”

Continue reading story here

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August 18th

Neill Woelk … Spruce will get help at wide receiver this fall

From cubuffs.com … If you attend a Colorado football game this fall, you’re virtually guaranteed to hear the cheer:

“Spruuuuuuuuuuuuce.”

It’s the sound the home crowd makes after every catch by Buff receiver Nelson Spruce — which means the crowd has had plenty of practice perfecting the chant, and will likely have many more opportunities this fall.

Last year, Spruce caught a school-record 106 passes for 12 touchdowns (also a school record). He had at least 10 catches in four games, including a school-record 19 against Cal, and was held to less than five catches only once in 12 games, that coming in a loss to Oregon.

This year, he’s one of 48 receivers in the nation to be named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list (he was a national semifinalist last year), he’s a consensus preseason all-Pac-12 first team selection, a fourth-team all-America pick by Phil Steele, and has the most career receptions (205) of any receiver active this year in the nation’s Power Five conferences.

So what does the 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior plan on doing do for an encore?

“Win more games,” Spruce said recently. “If we win, I know my numbers will be there. If I have personal goals, it’s to be all-Pac-12, things like that. If I get there, it means we won a lot of games and I got to contribute.”

“Everything else will take care of itself.”

Continue reading story here

 

Camp Stories …

Buffs envision bigger role for versatile Frazier” … from the Daily Camera

Callahan, Huckins battle for starting job at right guard” … from the Daily Camera

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August 17th

Buffs reach halfway point of Fall Camp

From cubuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes marked the halfway point of fall camp Monday with a two-a-day session, with players hitting the field in shells for a morning practice before a full-pads workout in the afternoon.

Monday’s practices were the 14th and 15th of fall camp; the NCAA allows 29 before the first game. Colorado opens the season with a Sept. 3 game at Hawai’i, scheduled to kick off at 11 p.m. (MDT).

“It goes by faster than you think,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “As a coach, you’d like to have 15 more; as a player you’d like to have 15 less. But they just keep pushing.”

MacIntyre said the Buffs haven’t had a “bad” practice thus far in camp, something he attributes to a more experienced and better conditioned team.

“We’ve had a couple that started slow a little bit, but we haven’t had a full bad practice yet,” MacIntyre said. “I think we’re stronger and better conditioned and have more maturity, and they know how to go through camp.”

MacIntyre said he continues to be impressed with the progress of junior quarterback Sefo Liufau, who last season set 51 school records. Liufau became the full-time starter as a sophomore after starting seven games as a true freshman. He threw for 3,200 yards and 28 touchdowns last year, but also threw 15 interceptions, a number CU coaches have said needs to be reduced this year.

But, MacIntyre has also reminded fans and media that at least a few of Liufau’s interceptions came because the CU quarterback had been thrust into make-or-break situations.

“If we’re better on defense and we run the ball a little better, Sefo will get better,” MacIntyre said. “If we’re not better on defense and we don’t run the ball better, it’s all on Sefo.

“But I think those phases are getting better and I think Sefo definitely has improved. He made a huge jump from freshman year to last year.  I don’t know if he’ll make the same jump — if he does, he’ll win the Heisman — but I think his jump will be a significant jump.”

Liufau has indeed had a solid camp thus far. He appears to be thoroughly comfortable in the pocket, he’s added several pounds of muscle, his footwork has improved and the fact that he’s already had plenty of work with veteran receivers Nelson Spruce and Shay Fields is evident in their timing.

“He’s really doing well and seeing the field well,” MacIntyre said.

 

Jeremy Bloom impressed with CU’s new facilities

From cubuffs.com …  As former Colorado football players continue to visit campus and get their first look at the new Champions Center, the reaction is almost always the same:

“Wow.”

Saturday morning, ex-wide receiver and return specialist Jeremy Bloom got his first look. Bloom, who is again doing some weekend work for the Pac-12 Network, was awestruck by the new facility.

“It’s not a ‘like-to-have,’ it’s a ‘must-have’ to recruit in this conference,” Bloom said. “With the facilities and programs across the country, to 17- and 18-year-olds, that really matters.

“I remember when I was being recruited, I went to Colorado State and I saw their facilities. As a 17-year-old, I said, ‘I don’t want to play here.’ Really, that was my reaction.”

Bloom, who played at CU from 2002-2003, came to the CU campus when the Dal Ward Center was about a decade old. Then, it was still relatively comparable to most other facilities in the Big 12.

But as the facilities improvement race escalated, the Buffs fell behind, especially when they joined the Pac-12.

That won’t be the case anymore.

Continue reading story here

 

More stories …

Justin Solis up for the challenge” … From BSN Denver

Alex Kelley provides stability to the offensive line” … From the Daily Camera

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August 16th

Sefo: “Taking care of the ball is going to be very important”

From cubuffs.com …  Beginning Sunday with 17 remaining practices, Liufau wants his offense to quicken the pace. He said tempo will be on his mind much of the time during the remainder of camp.

“If we huddle, getting in and out of it, and getting up to the ball faster,” he said. “Getting up on the ball after a big play – or any play for that matter. I think we can catch some teams with some of the things we’re running.”

Also, he wants to eliminate his and his unit’s turnovers: “Every series should end in a PAT, a field goal or a punt for us,” he said. “Taking care of the ball is going to be very important.”

Coaches getting closer to finalizing some depth chart questions

From cubuffs.com … One position that’s close to being settled, MacIntyre said, is linebacker.

“We’re rotating some guys in, and we still haven’t decided who exactly is the twos, but we’re close,” MacIntyre said. “That’s a good thing, a really good thing. It’s a long season and your twos and threes are going to have to play a little as it goes along.”

Other positions that are still seeing plenty of rotation during practice are running back, wide receiver and the secondary, particularly safety.

At wide receiver, MacIntyre and receivers coach Troy Walters have both said the goal is to create versatility, with players able to play all three receiver spots.

“As many plays as we play, they’re all going to play,” MacIntyre said. “We need seven to eight receivers to play, especially in a 13-game season. They’ll just keep working and go from there. Do it on a rotation-type basis and see how it goes.”

PRAISE FOR AWINI: Former Air Force quarterback Jaleel Awini is making “great strides” at linebacker, according to MacIntyre.

“He did well in the spring, but the last 12 practices, every day he is just making great strides. He’s really athletic, really quick,” MacIntyre said.

As would be the case with any player switching from quarterback to defense, MacIntyre said there was a concern about how quickly he would adapt to making tackles instead of trying to avoid them. Those concerns have been allayed for Awini, who has two years of eligibility left after sitting out last season as a transfer.

“Now he understands everything, he’s running and hitting — I’m really excited about Jaleel,’’ MacIntyre said.

Awini is getting his share of reps at the outside linebacker spot.

“I think he’s enjoying know that he’s going to play and not stand on the sidelines and signal,” MacIntyre said. “That’s the hard thing about quarterback — if you are the backup, you are only playing if something goes terrible, terrible, or if the other guy gets hurt.

“The other way you are playing special teams, you are running in and out on defense, you are able to contribute in the game. I think he’s excited about that.”

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August 15th

Defense has solid scrimmage

From cubuffs.com … Colorado defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt dished up plenty of vanilla on Saturday in the Buffs’ second scrimmage of fall camp.

Not that anyone should be surprised. With the scrimmage open to the public, Leavitt had no urge to show any wrinkles that might give a future opponent an inside look at the new defense Leavitt is installing this year.

Still, the scrimmage gave Buff fans a good glimpse of some players who will be called upon to help the defense take a big step forward this year. The Buffs notched few sacks, contained the running game for the most part and had an interception return for a touchdown.

“We stayed real base; we really didn’t do anything different,” Leavitt said. “More than anything, we wanted to see where we could find some depth. We just wanted to see guys play and see who could make some plays.”

Some of the Buffs’ regulars played only a series or not at all. Some were held out for precautionary reasons as they heal up minor injuries; others played sparingly simply because the coaching staff wanted to get a longer look at some backups.

“I didn’t play Addison (Gillam) and Kenneth (Olugbode) but one series,” Leavitt said of his starting inside linebackers. “We didn’t play Chido (Awuzie) today. We need to get a look at a lot of guys and get a little depth out there.”

Other stories …

Freshman QB Steven Montez makes strong first impression” … from the Daily Camera

CU Buffs Gilbert ‘very comfortable’ in new defense” … from BSN Denver

Kenneth Crawley’s resiliency pays off” from BuffStampede.com

 

 

August 14th

Buffs okay with running back by committee

Running backs preview by B.G. Brooks at cubuffs.com If any of Colorado’s running backs are dreaming of a 1,000-yard season in 2015, dream on. Maybe that’s a little harsh, given the uptick in the Buffaloes’ overall running game over the past two seasons. And fortunately CU’s backs take a broader view – a team view – that encompasses more than individual numbers.

The Buffs certainly aren’t without capable runners, an offensive line that figures to be strong, athletic and deep, and a passing game that will put defensive coordinators on edge (or tumbling over it). It’s all about balance, and CU could be on the verge of finding that elusive 50-50 offensive mix that creates defensive nightmares.

Not that any of the Buffs’ offensive coaches or backs are hung up on this, but the school doesn’t have a rich recent history of pumping out 1,000-yard rushers.

Consider: CU has had two 1,000-yard backs in the last 11 years – Rodney Stewart in 2010 (1,318 yards) and Bobby Purify in 2004 (1,017). In his 1,000-yard season, Stewart had 290 carries while six years earlier Purify had 209. The Buffs identified their horse and rode him.

Continue to reading story here

 

Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt: “We’re going to be a little bit different”

From cubuffs.com … Almost as soon as Jim Leavitt took the job as Colorado’s defensive coordinator, Buff fans wanted to know one thing:

Would the Buffs stick with a 4-3 defense, or would they switch to a 3-4?

The answer (drum roll please): Yes.

They’ll do both, and also throw in a little 4-2 for good measure when the situation dictates. In simple terms, Leavitt said, the Buffs will run whatever’s necessary in an attempt to slow down the high-powered offenses that have become so prevalent in the Pac-12.

“We’re going to be a little different,” Leavitt said after practice earlier this week. “We’re doing a lot of hybrid things. We’ll run some 4-3, we’ll get into a little bit of 3-4 and some other stuff, even some 4-2.

“We’ll just bang away at it and see if we can slow down somebody.”

Thus far in camp, the Buffs have indeed shown a wide variety of formations. They’ve used three linemen, four linemen, two interior linemen and two rush ends/linebackers — just about every possible combination, with an equally varied combination of players.

When Leavitt says “hybrid,” he’s not exaggerating.

Continue reading story here

 

Other fall camp stories …

– “Coaches look for stronger start on special teams” … Daily Camera

– “CU Buffs Devin Ross got ‘hungry for the game’ ” … BSN Denver

Kicker battle still open

From cubuffs.com … MacIntyre said the battle between kickers Diego Gonzalez, Chris Graham and freshman Alex Kinney is still “wide open.”

“We’re putting more and more pressure on them,” MacIntyre said. “ I think they’ve all been kicking well. We haven’t made a decision on who the starter is yet. We’ll do some stuff in the stadium; you always want to see how they kick in the stadium. Just trying to add more and more pressure to them.”

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August 13, 2015

Practice Notes“Everything is going like it should be”

From cubuffs.com … Since the day Mike MacIntyre took the reins as the Colorado football coach, he and his staff have preached player accountability.

Wednesday morning, Buff defensive end Derek McCartney said the message has hit home this year.

“The guys who are leaders are stepping up,” McCartney said. “Coach MacIntyre has always talked about it, but you can see it happening on the field this year. Guys are holding each other accountable. We’re pushing each other to get better.”

MacIntyre has said throughout camp he’s seen a difference in this year’s team.

“I see a lot more vocal guys holding guys accountable,” MacIntyre said earlier this week. “I see things happen in the huddle. The players are taking control and now everything is going like it should be.”

McCartney said it’s been a subtle shift from a year ago, when there weren’t as many players who were willing to step up and take charge when necessary.

“You’re seeing it now,” McCartney said. “When guys need a pick-up, we lift each other up. When something needs to be said, it gets said. We’re just taking responsibility and making sure we’re all accountable for what we do.”

The key will be whether the players can maintain that attitude as the dog days of August begin to hit home. Wednesday morning’s practice was just the eighth of summer camp; there are 21 remaining until the Sept. 3 season opener at Hawai’i.

“We have to continue that,” McCartney said. “It’s what leadership is about, it’s what leaders do. We’ll push each other. When things get tough, we have to keep pushing.”

 

Cornerbacks preview

From cubuffs.com … It might be one of the most inexplicable statistics of any from the 2014 Colorado Buffaloes’ football seasons.

In the pass-happy Pac-12, a conference that boasted three of the top-10 throwing teams in America, the Buffs finished the season with just three interceptions, the second-lowest total of any FBS school in the nation. That’s three interceptions out of 408 passes thrown by opponents; three interceptions in a season in which the Buffs faced five of the nation’s most prolific passing offenses.

Equally inexplicable is this: all three of the Buffs’ interceptions were by the same player, safety Tedric Thompson. That means Colorado’s cornerbacks, the position usually associated with picking off an opponent’s passes, came up empty for an entire season.

It’s a statistic Colorado’s corners have vowed to change this year.

“We were in position a lot of times last year to get some turnovers, especially interceptions,” said Buffs cornerbacks coach Charles Clark. “We’ve just got to catch the ball. We had too many PBUs (passes broken up) and not enough interceptions.”

Indeed, the Buffs did put themselves in position to pick off more than three passes. They recorded 60 PBUs last year, an indication that they were in the right place at the right time on a regular basis.

They just didn’t seal the deal …

Continue reading story here

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August 12, 2015

First two-a-day practices go well

From cubuffs.com … The Colorado Buffaloes conducted their first two-a-day session of fall camp Tuesday, with the afternoon practice in full pads.

Head coach Mike MacIntyre said the Buffs finished installing most of the base offense and defense in the morning practice.

MacIntyre said that while “dead legs” are to be expected at this point of camp, “We got a lot accomplished. … But they pack 29 practices in before the first game. If it was spread out more, we’d have a better chance of not having dead legs.”

Players did receive a break in the weather for the afternoon workout, as cloud cover kept the temperature right around the 80-degree mark, a break from some of the 90-degree days they saw early in camp.

While the Buffs’ starting lineup appears to be shaping up as expected in most places, MacIntyre did say there’s still competition at kicker, where junior Diego Gonzalez and sophomore Chris Graham are battling for the No. 1 spot.

Graham, a former walk-on, was awarded a scholarship earlier this summer, but MacIntyre said, “It’s open. We’re keeping stats on it and they’re competing. We’ll make a decision before long.”

Other stories …

CU Buffs Shay Fields ‘looks forward’ to extra attention on Nelson Spruce” … From BSN Denver

CU football: Christian Powell powers Buffs’ running game” … from the Daily Camera

Q&A with offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren” … From BuffStampede.com

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August 11, 2015

Offensive line preview from Neill Woelk

From cubuffs.com … One year ago, the Colorado Buffaloes jumped 50 spots in the national total offense rankings, moving from 87th to 37th.

Now, Buff head coach Mike MacIntyre has his eyes on another leap.

“I feel like our offense will go from 37th to the top 25 offenses in the country,” MacIntyre said at CU Media Day, “and we’ll be able to run the ball in the red zone a little bit more.”

If MacIntyre’s projections are to come to fruition, it will start up front with an offensive line that brings 56 career starts and a hunger to excel to the table.

“The experience is excellent,” MacIntyre said. “I feel very good about our first seven or eight guys right now.”

Continue reading story here

New safeties coach Joe Tumpkin likes what he has to work with in CU’s secondary

From the Daily Camera … Joe Tumpkin has yet to coach a game with the Colorado football team, but he’s already liking what he’s seeing from the Buffaloes’ secondary.

“I love the energy right now, I love how they’re picking up the packages and the process in training camp,” said Tumpkin, who was hired in February to coach CU’s safeties.

Having served as Central Michigan’s defensive coordinator the past five seasons, Tumpkin has a keen eye for everything going on defensively. He said that in the early going, he’s encouraged not only by the safeties, but by the cornerbacks as well.

“I enjoy the leadership we’re having in the secondary,” Tumpkin said.

In particular, he pointed to CU’s veteran corners, Kenneth Crawley and Chidobe Awuzie, as well as sixth-year senior safety Jered Bell for their leadership in camp.

“You’re starting to see some of the other guys, like Tedric (Thompson) is starting to pick up some leadership roles, and starting to be more vocal,” Tumpkin said. “We’re getting Evan White that way, too.”

Continue reading story here

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August 10, 2015

Monday practice report – Buffs conduct scrimmage in Folsom; Barnett/Graham visit

From cubuffs.com … The morning after getting their first look at their new Champions Center home, the Colorado Buffaloes got back to business.

Monday was the Buffs’ first full-pads practice of fall camp, and they used their fifth practice of the preseason to get in some scrimmage work in Folsom Stadium. The coaching staff pushed the team through a rigorous 86-play scrimmage that took approximately one hour and 20 minutes.

“It went well,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “They got after it. We’re fresh right now. We had a day off yesterday (Sunday), so I thought it went real well. Nobody got seriously hurt, which is awesome.”

The Buffs worked through a variety of situations involving clock and yardage, and also got in some special teams work.

 

Buffs move into new locker room

The Buffs moved into their new locker room on Sunday. Here is a link to the video … nice!

Story from cubuffs.com … They knew it be nice. They knew it would be an upgrade.

But members of the Colorado football team had no idea exactly how nice their new digs in the Champions Center would actually be until they finally stepped foot in the building Sunday night.

Monday morning, after their first fall practice in full pads, players were still gushing over their new home. Their space includes spacious locker rooms with high-tech lockers (plug-ins for phones and iPads), a players lounge with a theater and state-of-the-art training facilities, including recovery pools.

Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre called the players’ initial reaction “awesome.”

“They were jumping around and hugging each other and screaming and yelling,” MacIntyre said after Monday’s practice. “We had to kick them out of there because they just kept wanting to stay in there, in the lounge and everything. It was really exciting and they really love it.”

 

“No more excuses” the theme of local writers

Kyle Ringo at the Daily Camera and Ryan Koenigsberg of BSNDenver have penned columns with similar themes: There are no more excuses available to Mike MacIntyre and the CU football team – it’s time to win now …

Ringo’s article, “Buffs have pieces to the puzzle“, opens:

There are no more excuses for Colorado football.

The Buffaloes should be able to win in the Pac-12 Conference moving forward. That isn’t to suggest they’re going to be competing for a conference title this fall or even a division championship, but all the necessary pieces of the puzzle are being put in place to produce those results in the not too distant future.

The facilities upgrades currently being completed in and around Folsom Field are flat out amazing. For years the Buffs have been bringing up the rear when it comes to facilities and they’ve paid a heavy price for it on the recruiting trail, which has played a big part in a decade of losing.

No more.

Continue reading story here

… Meanwhile, “It’s time for Colorado football to ‘walk the walk’ ”, by Ryan Koenigsberg, opens:

Bowl game, huh? They said it, not me.

As head coach Mike MacIntyre finished a quote about his new 12-man leadership council, at Friday’s media day, he threw out those two words as if they were a matter of fact.

“Maybe the bowl week we might elect the four captains for the game,” he stated casually.

Whether from MacIntyre or from a player, you’ve heard those two precious words come up after every single practice during fall camp. This is new to the MacIntyre era, as fans and media had become accustomed to his “1-and-0 every week”  narrative about season goals during his first two years at Colorado.

“They’re saying it to me, that’s not something I say to them, they say it to me, and I hear them say it to each other,” MacIntyre said of his willingness to talk about a bowl game. “They come to me and say, ‘Coach, what’s our schedule for Christmas, for the bowl?’ They haven’t asked me that before… They feel that. Now we gotta go do it, but until they see it in their mind’s eye, I cant make them see it. I can mention it, but I can’t make them see it. So I see more and more of that happening… I can talk about it with this team because they believe it.”

That’s all fine and dandy, but this business of publicly rising expectations can be a dangerous one.

Continue reading story here

 

Additional articles …

– Neill Woelk of cubuffs.com spoke with fullback Jordan Murphy, who was at the theater in Aurora when James Holmes opened fire on movie goers. “For CU’s Murphy, Holmes Trial Resurrects Memoriescan be read here.

– Kyle Ringo interiewed CU offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, “Brian Lindgren plans next step for Buffs’ offense“, which can be found here.

– Adam Munsterteiger has posted a “Q & A with defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt“, which can be read (I believe it is a free read) here.

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August 9, 2015

Leadership Council named

From cubuffs.com … For games, there will be four captains drawn from the council comprised of offensive players Sefo Liufau (QB), Christian Powell (RB), Phillip Lindsay (RB), Stephane Nembot (RT), Alex Kelley (C), Jordan Murphy (FB), Nelson Spruce (WR), and defensive players Chidobe Awuzie (CB/S), Kenneth Olugbode (LB), Derek McCartney (DE), Jered Bell (S) and Addison Gillam (LB).

Powell, Nembot, Spruce, Murphy and Bell (sixth year) are seniors; Kelley, Liufau, Awuzie, Gillam and Olugbode are juniors; and Lindsay and McCartney are sophomores.

Bowl Talk

It was not just head coach Mike MacIntyre talking about going bowling at the CU Media Day … so were his players.

From cubuffs.com

– Running back Michael Adkins …  “You win every game and a bowl game is in the picture. We’ve been talking about winning since I got here. Obviously we want to win and get some of the rewards that brings. A bowl game is just a part of that.”

– Quarterback Sefo Liufau … Asked if he can see the Buffs wrapping up the 2015 season in a bowl, he answered, “I do, but I don’t think anyone else does – and that’s OK. I just believe if we keep improving and can be consistent throughout games, especially on offense where we started slow sometimes last year, then we can definitely be in a bowl game.”

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August 8, 2015

Mike MacIntyre Media Day press conference

Coach Mike MacIntyre spent about 45 minutes talking with the local media at CU’s 66th annual Media Day. The complete transcript of Mike MacIntyre’s press conference can be found here

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Aaron Baltazar will not be a Buff this fall

One story out of Saturday’s meeting with the media was that former Boise State running back Aaron Baltazar, did not qualify academically, and will not be a Buff this fall.

Baltazar was a member of the Recruiting Class of 2013, played as a true freshman for Boise State, was injured, and sat out last season (he transferred to Washington State, but never played for the Cougars).

 

B.G. Brooks previews the safeties

From cubuffs.com … Last season offered more time for reflection than he ever wanted, but on Wednesday morning Jered Bell and his new position coach squeezed in a private reflective moment before the Colorado Buffaloes assembled for their first on-field work of August camp.

“Jered and I were talking before practice,” said Joe Tumpkin, hired last winter to coach CU’s safeties. “It’s been 360 days since he was on the field. That’s a long, long time.”

Bell has pondered every bit of it, ticking off days and hours until a possible return. “Possible” is necessary here because last season was to be his final year of eligibility.

A mid-camp knee injury scratched his 2014 season and left him petitioning the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. Three camps prior, an injury to his other knee cost him his sophomore season and outfitted him in a redshirt for 2011.

So it was up to the NCAA to give him a thumbs up or down for 2015 – and last spring the thumbs that counted pointed skyward. Bell was ecstatic. “I’m just happy to be out here, blessed to be in this position,” he said following his first practice in nearly a full year. “I’m trying to enjoy every moment of it that I can.”

Before last August’s injury, he was set to enjoy 2014 in the same way. In a breakout 2013 season he started 11 games at free safety and proved to be a dependable big playmaker, scoring touchdowns on an interception and fumble return and setting the stage for a superb final season.

Continue reading story here

 

Buffs deep at running back

From the Daily Camera … The 2014 season was a strange one for Colorado running backs, as the featured role rotated among four players.

All four of those players — Michael Adkins, Tony Jones, Phillip Lindsay and Christian Powell — finished with between 79 to 94 carries and 391 to 448 yards.

It was the first time since 1959 that nobody on the team had as many as 100 rushing attempts, and the first time since 1983 that nobody had at least 500 rushing yards.

Powell (448 yards) had the Buffs’ lowest team-leading total since Lance Olander (440) in 1979.

Whether the Buffs have a similar time share in the backfield this year depends on the health of its backs.

“We’d like to play two, but we had injuries last year to Michael and to Christian, so then Tony and Phillip had to do it,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “They all do things a little bit better than the other, but if one gets in a groove, you’d like to keep him (going) as much as you can.”

Continue reading story here

 

Phillip Lindsay likely to return as a kick returner

From cubuffs.com … MacIntyre said Lindsay would likely see time as a kick returner this year.

Lindsay was named a preseason second team all-Pac-12 returner by Phil Steele. Last season, he returned 36 kicks for 849 yards, including a long of 51.

“We see Phillip doing kick returns but we see other guys there, too,” MacIntyre said. “It depends on how much he’s running the ball and how we come out of fall camp if nobody’s banged up. If he’s healthy, he’ll be doing it some. It all just depends on how it all works out. He’s a guy you will see back there.”

Lindsay, a sophomore, shattered CU’s freshman all-purpose yardage mark last year, amassing 1,359, far ahead of the previous record of 947, set by Lamont Warren in 1991.

Mike MacIntyre has nice things to say about Bryce Bobo

From cubuffs.com … MacIntyre had good things to say about sophomore wide receiver Bryce Bobo, who has been catching just about everything thrown his way thus far in camp.

“He has a great range, he has unbelievable hands and can catch the ball all over the place,” MacIntyre said. “He just goes and gets it.”

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Bobo didn’t participate in spring drills after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, but he looks fully healed now. He’s coming off a season in which he caught 23 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns, including a four-catch, 54-yard, two-touchdown game against UCLA.

“He hasn’t missed a beat,” MacIntyre said. “He hasn’t dropped a pass in a couple of days and he’s stronger and bigger and healthy now, so I feel really good about him.”

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August 7, 2015

Phillip Lindsay – “I’m a part of this”

An inspirational video featuring sophomore running back Phillip Lindsay has been posted.

The video is definitely worth two minutes of your time, and can be found here.

 

Jered Bell ready to return to action

From B.G. Brooks at cubuffs.com … Last season offered more time for reflection than he ever wanted, but on Wednesday morning Jered Bell and his new position coach squeezed in a private reflective moment before the Colorado Buffaloes assembled for their first on-field work of August camp.

“Jered and I were talking before practice,” said Joe Tumpkin, hired last winter to coach CU’s safeties. “It’s been 360 days since he was on the field. That’s a long, long time.”

… Now up 20 pounds (210) over his last playing weight (190), Bell impressed Tumpkin through spring work, then from what Tumpkin could see in the offseason. He also caught glimpses of Bell’s overall abilities on day one: “From what I saw (Wednesday) on the field, the communication part and lining up correctly, I thought he did a good job. Now, it’ll be interesting to see film (of practice) and see how he adjusts to being back.”

Even though he was rehabbing when Tumpkin arrived, Bell never abandoned his leadership role – something Tumpkin had come to expect from sixth-year players he coached at Central Michigan, Pittsburgh and Southern Methodist.

“That’s one thing I was impressed with during the spring and summer when (Bell) was going through his rehab – he was always in tune, always out there helping, always coaching the younger guys and re-communicating some of the things I was saying and keeping everybody in tune with it,” Tumpkin said. “He’s good in a leadership role in the locker room; he does a really good job there.”

Continue reading story here

 

Junior linebacker Addison Gillam looking to return to freshman year production

From BSN Denver … It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for, one time freshman All-American, Addison Gillam over the last year.

“As you know, last season was pretty rough, with injuries, and I just had some issues personally, with family and everything,” he allowed. “Right around winter break, I started not really knowing what was going on, didn’t know what I wanted to do… I never really thought I was going to stop playing football, it was kind of just a weird feeling, I guess, I don’t know how to explain it.”

Gillam took a short break from the team in the offseason, but he was back for the spring.

Continue reading story here

 

Now on scholarship, sophomore linebacker Ryan Moeller … plays the same way

From the Daily Camera … Ryan Moeller spent his first two years at Colorado just trying to prove he belonged at this level.

Now he’s earned a scholarship, but the redshirt sophomore isn’t doing anything different.

“I haven’t noticed any difference,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre. “I’ve seen the exact same Ryan Moeller, which is what I expected to see, and he’s working hard and pushing hard.”

Continue reading story here

 

Update on freshman linebacker Grant Watanabe

From cubuffs.com … MacIntyre said freshman linebacker Grant Watanabe seems to be fully recovered from a foot injury that has delayed his career for a year.

Watanabe, a member of the 2014 recruiting class, did not enroll until January of this year after he was sidelined by a foot injury. Even after enrolling, he was unable to participate in spring drills, so this is first activity on the field in a Buff uniform.

“It’s great to get him out here finally,” MacIntyre said. “He overcame his foot injury. When he got here in January, he weighed 252. Now he weighs 230 and he’s in good shape. Yesterday I was pleased with how he worked and how he moved.”

Nose tackle Justin Solis to fill a bigger role in the absence of Josh Tupou and Tyler Henington

From cubuffs.com …Nose tackle Justin Solis is finding himself the center of attention on the defensive line.

The Buff senior played in all 12 games last year, but did not start in any of them. He figured to play a bigger role this year, but with last year’s starter, Josh Tupou, not on the team this fall, Solis’ role has increased significantly.

“Being it’s his senior year, it’s big,” MacIntyre said. “He’s had some good moments in his career here. Definitely without Josh here, it gives him a bigger role.”

The 6-2, 325-pound Solis played 355 snaps last year, recording 33 tackles (15 unassisted) and one quarterback sack.

“He’s going to play a little bit more,” MacIntyre said. “He’s excited about it and he’s getting ready for it. Conditioning is a big thing for Justin, it always is for those big 300-pound guys. He’s working at it and staying after it.”

 

August 6, 2015

 

Buffs bigger, stronger, faster

From cubuffs.com … Bigger, stronger, faster — and a sense of urgency.

If you’re looking for a quick way to describe the opening session of the Colorado Buffaloes’ fall camp, that might be the most apt, as the Buffs hit the practice field Wednesday morning for their first of 29 workouts before the Sept. 3 season opener at Hawai’i.

The bigger, more powerful aspect shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Buffs have are coming off a long offseason conditioning program, and players are expected to gain at least a little strength and bulk in that period.

“We have guys that lost 10 pounds of fat and gained eight or nine pounds of muscle,” said head coach Mike MacIntyre. “That’s pretty amazing. Our strength shows, our stamina shows — now we’ve just got to start working to polish it up.”

But the thing that impressed MacIntyre the most was an almost palpable sense of urgency. It’s something the Buffs have been building up since the day last season ended with a heartbreaking loss to Utah, something that comes with an experienced team determined to move forward.

“With our team being more mature than last year, I sense that,” MacIntyre said. “I see guys getting on guys, I see guys talking about it, concerned about it. It’s a maturity factor. Our leadership needs to take control and keep that moving.”

Continue reading story here

Bell update: Safety Jered Bell, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after a knee injury forced him to miss the 2014 season, was back on the field Wednesday. MacIntyre said Bell “looks fine,” and that they’ll monitor his progress before deciding whether he’ll take part in all of the team’s two-a-day workouts. The Buffs have five days with two full workouts scheduled, with the first set for Tuesday.

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Junior College defensive lineman transfer Jordan Carrell finding his way

From Neill Woelk at cubuffs.com … Wednesday morning, the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Jordan Carrell found himself lining up with many of the Buffs’ No. 1 defenders in a variety of drills, including some against the No. 1 offense.

“It’s a good feeling,” Carrell said. “Obviously, it’s just the first day of practice, but it’s kind of like officially coming to the Pac-12. I was lining up against our crew, guys like Stephane (Nembot) and Jeromy (Irwin). That’s a great way to start getting ready for the season.”

Buff head coach Mike MacIntyre was quick to note that the pencil depth chart is still just that. With 28 practices still to go before the opener at Hawai’i, plenty can change.

“Things can change in a day or two days or three,” MacIntyre said. “It’s truly a pencil depth chart.”

Still, it’s clear that Carrell has made strides since joining the team from American River College in California last spring.

“I’m a lot more comfortable than I was in the spring,” Carrell said. “Coach (Jim) Leavitt is really pushing us. He’s got a lot of passion, a lot of energy and makes sure we’re all putting in the effort.”

Continue reading here

 

Running back Phillip Lindsay a fan favorite

From BSNDenver … So what makes him a fan favorite?

“My passion, my fire, my toughness, being mean on the field,” he explained. “All while not being the biggest dude on the field, being probably one of the smallest backs in the Pac-12, but running hard. I think it’s all just my personality.”

Really what it boils down to with Lindsay, is that passion he talked about. The 5-foot-8 running back, often referred to as “The Tasmanian Devil” by his head coach, always looks hungry on the field, like he has something to prove on each and every play.

He defines that passion pretty simply.

“I love football, there is no better sport than football,” he claimed. “To play at the collegiate level is probably one of the best feelings in the world. That’s just how I feel, I love football.”

Continue reading story here

 

Buffs extolling confidence as Fall Camp opens

From the Daily Camera … The Buffs believe they’re on the verge of becoming a winning team once again.

“You can just feel it,” linebacker Kenneth Olugbode said. “You can feel that everybody is ready to go out there and work and get Ws this year and get over that hump that we struggled with.”

The natural follow-up question is whether in the past everyone in the program wasn’t on the same page pushing toward the same goals.

“I think it was the case, but maybe the drive and passion wasn’t as much as it is now,” Olugbode said.

… “When you’re a freshman, you’re kind of just happy to be there and be on the team,” MacIntyre said. “As a sophomore, you kind of start playing, but you’re glad you’re playing a lot. You’re glad you’re starting.

“Now it’s kind of like, ‘I’m tired of just playing. I want to win. I want to be successful.’ I’ve seen that in them. I’ve seen their attitude and work ethic change. I’ve seen the overall maturity of our football team.”

Continue reading story here

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August 5, 2015

Mike MacIntyre addresses the media after first day of practice

YouTube posting courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Here is a link to a video of Nelson Spruce talking with the media after the first practice.

ESPN: Nelson Spruce the No. 13 player in the Pac-12

From ESPN’s countdown of the best 25 players in the Pac-12 this season:

13. Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado

Spruce led the Pac-12 in 2014 with 106 receptions (tied with Washington State’s Vince Mayle) and there’s only one other receiver in the country coming back in 2015 who recorded more catches in 2014. He’s the Buff’s best receiving threat and he’ll be catching passes from a much-improved Sefo Liufau, who has made major strides this offseason according to Mike MacIntyre (“I think after this year’s over, everybody will say he’s one of the best junior quarterbacks in America,” MacIntyre said). Expect the Spruce to be loose this season.

Tyler Henington out for the season

Colorado has a large stockpile of defensive linemen, which is a good thing.

Because the Buffs keep losing starters.

First, defensive tackle Josh Tupou was suspended for the season. Now, another significant contributor from previous seasons, Tyler Henington, has been lost. In the Fall Camp roster, released Wednesday, there are three players who are listed as injured and “out for the 2015 season”:

Travis Talianko, LB (knee)

Joey Tuggle, RB (knee)

Tyler Henington, DL (ankle)

Tuggle was not expected to compete for playing time, and Talianko, a transfer from last season, was still working his way through the already depleted roster of linebackers, but neither Tuggle nor Talianko would be considered significant losses to the roster heading into the season.

Henington sat out the 2014 season with torn knee ligaments suffered during fall practices, but this injury was non-football related, as Henington just stepped into a hole coming back from getting some sushi, and broke his ankle and his fibula.

Coach MacIntyre relayed the story to the media on Wednesday: “It was a terrible situation. He was actually walking home from eating sushi with John Tuso and it was the craziest thing ever; 6 o’clock, they were talking on the sidewalk and you know sometimes when you talk to someone and you just stumble to the side, well, he stumbles and there is a hole there. He fell in the hole and broke his ankle and fibula.

“His mom called me and I went to see him in the hospital. As soon as I walked in, he just started bawling. I’ve never had that happen where a young man comes back from a season-ending injury, works all the way back, we’re four days away before we start and he gets hurt off the field. Now, I’ve had guys get hurt on the field after that but not like that. Tyler is a great young man and he’ll recover from this and be back next year. But this is tough for him.”

In 2013, as a sophomore, Henington played in all 12 games, and was in for 251 snaps. Henington was listed in the depth chart as a backup to starter Derek McCartney, but was expected to see considerable playing time this fall.

 

ESPN: Fall Camp Questions – Colorado

Dave Lombardi from ESPN has posted three questions (and his answers) concerning CU Fall Camp.

The questions:

Is defensive cohesion better?

How does team strength compare to last season?

Has Sefo Liufau‘s arsenal grown?

The answers to those questions, in Lombardi’s view, can be found here.

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August 4, 2015

Buffs report to Fall Camp

Press release from cubuffs.com … While practice begins Wednesday for the Colorado Buffaloes, the never-ending educational process for players ramped back up full speed on Tuesday.

Players reported for a team meeting at 7:30 a.m. that included visits from university officials, representatives of the campus and Boulder police departments and District Attorney Stan Garnett; plus an hour-long media training session. Evening meetings included updates on equipment policies, sports medicine, academic updates, a session on team policies and the team behavior contract, and even some basic financial training.

The day was long but the message was simple: Colorado football players are public figures and will be held to a high standard as representatives of their university.

“We truly believe we should always be building the person, not just the player,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “We want to teach them life skills, not just football. That’s what coaching really is.”

Tuesday’s training covered topics ranging from public behavior to social media.

“We want them to realize they are public figures,” MacIntyre said. “We want them to know what’s expected of them and what they represent.”

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Nelson Spruce featured in Mile High Sports magazine article

From Mile High Sports … Yet despite a history of producing excellent pass catchers like Clifford Branch, Charles Johnson, and Michael Westbrook, only Rae Carruth in 1996 was even a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.

Nelson Spruce aims to change all that. A semi-finalist last season, the CU senior enters the year a consensus choice for pre-season All-Pac-12 honors and an early nominee for the Biletnikoff Award. Spruce burst onto the national scene last September with a huge performance in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, which was just a precursor of things to come. After snaring seven passes (several of the acrobatic variety) for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Colorado State, the native of Westlake Village, Calif. completed the season with a spectacular 106 receptions for 1,198 yards and 12 touchdowns. Not just a “possession” receiver, Spruce has had TD catches of 71, 70, 66 and 62 yards during his career.

“I don’t think the term ‘possession receiver’ is necessarily a bad thing,” Spruce acknowledged prior to the start of fall camp. “It’s something I’m actually kind of proud of, my ability to make the tough catch and move the chains when I have to. But what I’ve been working on this offseason is my down the field speed and explosion and being able to make bigger plays.

“I’m not really worried about topping last season statistically,” he added. “Obviously I’m going to get more attention from defenses. Last season I came in more under the radar. So it’s just about making the plays when my number is called. What I’ve been working on is being more of a leader, bringing some of the younger guys along to help us win.”

Continue reading story here

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“Buffalo Stance: The Case for Colorado”

From Grantland … When is it impossible to cheer for a football team that plays in a great college town, in a stadium with stellar views, in games featuring a live buffalo mascot? When it’s recent-vintage Colorado, a team that occasionally has seemed to be working actively to discourage any remaining adherents. The Buffaloes have lately suffered the dual misfortunes of being bad and unlucky, all while eating fumes as they cling to the back of the rocket sled of the ascendant Pac-12. To say third-year head coach Mike MacIntyre inherited bare cupboards in 2013 would be to mistakenly imply that he had cupboards.

But when is a bet on a team that finished the 2014 season at 2-10 a good bet? When it’s the 2015 Colorado Buffaloes, and when you look very, very closely. A team picked to place last in its division in 2015, in a not-particularly-close vote? A program that hasn’t been to a bowl since the 2007 season, hasn’t finished a campaign with a winning record since 2005, hasn’t won a postseason game since the 2004 Houston Bowl? They’re not as far away from respectability as they might appear, and “respectable” is a lofty goal in today’s Pac-12.

Continue reading story here

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Other articles …

– Neill Woelk recaps the Pac-12 Media Days … “Six Pac-12 Takeaways and What They Mean to the Buffs

– Athlon allowing Pac-12 coaches to speak anonymously about each other’s teams … Colorado:

“I know ‘almost’ doesn’t mean much in this business, but they lost three or four conference games almost on the final play. They were a little better than their record.”

“I don’t think there’s a tougher rebuilding job in the country when you think about how far down they were coming into the Pac-12 and all the sudden everyone else in the division has it rolling a little bit.”

“They’re doing the right things to get on a level playing field from a facility standpoint, and they’re getting better. It’s just hard to get the momentum going until you start winning games.”

“You’re just not going to win very much giving up as many yards as they did in the running game (204.8 ypg) and not creating turnovers or sacks.”

“I think it’s pretty simple. If they don’t get better up front with the schedule they play, they might struggle to win a game in the league.”

“They’re maturing on offense. Sefo (Liufau) has a lot of snaps under his belt, and if he can be a little more consistent in his decision-making he can be really effective before it’s all said and done.”

“(Nelson) Spruce is just a fantastic route-runner. I was a little surprised he didn’t put his name in the draft after blowing up last year, but I’m not sure if the NFL guys are sold on him because of his (lack of) speed.”

“With what they’ve got coming back in the running game, I think their offense is going to be a net-plus.”

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12 Replies to “Fall Camp Notes”

  1. I was just wondering if you have any insight, knowledge, info, or just a good guess as to which uni”s the mighty Buffs will be taking the field with this Thursday? This is going to be a huge season.

    Thanks

  2. Stuart,

    Thanks for your continued dedication to our Buffs. I always enjoy reading your analysis and find that I agree with you more than not.

    For anyone who has not watched Coach McIntyre’s speech from the luncheon, you need to. I really like this guy as a coach and mentor for our Buffs. My greatest fear is him being let go because of a lack of wins. Playing in the toughest division in NCAA FBS Football makes rebuilding a team and getting wins that much harder. I think we could all see improvement last year and I am looking forward to even more this year. Getting rid of him would be a disaster and set us back another couple of years. He is building a program from the ground up and it will take time. Let’s all be patient and give him the time.

    NavyBuff

  3. Spruce is somewhat like the receiver who played for the Baltimore Colts who only had average speed, but ran routes and patterns like a scientist, had one leg shorter than the other and had to wear special shoes to compensate. He allegedly had 88 moves to running pass patterns and getting open. He was also an all-Pro and NFL Hall of Famer.

    Of course, I’m talking about Raymond Berry. So, Nelson, start researching anything (video or otherwise) of Raymond Berry and follow a Football-Great into the NFL. I’m rooting for ‘ya and I know Stuart is too….. and, he probably remembers Raymond Berry.

    1. Yes … I’m that old. I do remember Raymond Berry!
      Nice analysis. I hope Nelson lives up to that standard, and I believe he can.

  4. I’m sort of a conspiracy guy to start with (the Truth is out there!), but after watching both the Spring Game and the scrimmage yesterday, I’m convinced that McIntyre is convinced that being spied on last year was a really big deal. There were a lot of starters that didn’t participate and the rest of the starters played very little. At this point in camp, I can’t imagine that coaches are concerned with third team guys – there is just no time for that now. The kicking part of the scrimmage was hard to understand (we didn’t even see the kickers warm up) and they showed no returns.

    On defense they could be running a 3-4 or a 4-3. Or a 5-2 or a 3-3 or a 4-2 or a 4-1 or a 3-2. And according to Leavitt, the safeties might call the plays. What? Aside from some obvious multi-year starters, personnel and alignment is a mystery.

    So what did I learn from watching these two practices? Probably the same thing that the Rammies (or Sun Devils or whoever) did and that is that the O- and D-lines are bigger and deeper than they were last year and not much more.

  5. RE: the CB’s, Im not sure how the coaching affected the lack of INTs, but there were way too many pass interference calls last year. Aggressive is fine, but adjust to the ball, dont go through the man to get there.

    Should change anyhow with a better pass rush and Leavitt’s ability to disguise a defense. 10 INTs this year is realistic with more QB pressure.

    RE: the OL, yes, it needs to improve. Get a nasty streak. Dont let a guy like Nembot try to be a ballerina; coach him to bury people. Huckins and Kough appear (in limited action) to be nastier then Crabb and Munyer, so that’s an upgrade despite losing experience.

    Regardless, both positions FINALLY have some quality depth.

    1. Yes to this, and your comment about Huckins and Kough leave me optimistic. I really hope that Nembot’s new leadership skills and increased desire to be good are going to translate onto the field in the form of a nastier attitude, as well. I don’t want him to injure teammates, but he has to develop the attitude on the field that those guys he is facing are trying to steal from him. Go get those guys, Nembot!

  6. I never understood the constant optimism with Nembot. Go back and watch virtually any game, he gets beat on the edge all the time! During the spring game I watched him get blown up on the Oklahoma drill by a linebacker. He is placed where he is because he is a physical speciman and has a good story. When was the last time you saw him being nasty or even violent, ahla Andre Geroude? I feel the offensive line is by far the biggest concern for this team.

  7. This is funny!

    Monday practice report – Buffs conduct scrimmage in Folsom; Barnett/Graham visit

    Read the cubuffs.com article and never once does it refer to Daniel Graham, just, ‘Graham’. If you were not a true Buff fan you would have no idea who Graham is. I’m surprised they let Gary have a first name after they ran him out of town.

  8. I’m glad you brought up that “no excuses….” line. l have been a frequent critic of Kyle Ringo as have other fans who feel he is aloof, somewhat disinterested and at times downright abusive as a Buff beat writer. As you read the rest of the article it seems to me he is somewhat forcing an apparent effort to become a cheerleader. That opening line, however, seems pretty transparent.
    I have always thought that I would be happy the day he finds greener pastures but my paranoia makes me think any replacement approved by the powers at the DC’s parent paper would probably be cut from the same cloth.
    Brian Howell seems to be a lot more energetic but his main beat is hoops.

    1. Yo ep,
      I disagree with your criticism of Kyle Ringo. As a guy who has been following Colorado football almost as long as Stuart, I feel that Ringo has been as positive as a real journalist should be. Let’s be honest, the Buffs have been riding a wave of mediocrity for almost a decade.

      Although I used to work at the Daily Camera, I have never met Kyle Ringo. And the world of newspapers is much different than when I was at the paper. Neill Woelk was at the Camera back then, still working for Dan Creedon. I liked Neill then and I like him now and am glad he is back following the Buffs, but that does not lessen my respect for Ringo.

      None of my experience with the Buffs since 1984 has led me to believe that Ringo is doing anything other than a good job. His job is not to be a cheerleader but a journalist covering the Buffs. Back when the DC was considered one of the best small newspapers in the United States, part of the reason was that we were journalists first and not just HOMERS for the local team.

      Your belief that Ringo was making an effort to be a cheerleader only demonstrates that Kyle probably believes that the Buffs are better looking this year than they have been in quite a while. That is a good sign. If the Buffs are to go bowling this year, they will have to be much better than they have been. See the 1985 Buffs for comparison.

      Mark
      Boulderdevil

      1. I agree, and I have met Kyle, and he strikes me as someone who DOES want to see the Buffs succeed, but he has to call it like he sees it. I appreciate that.

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