Easy to Say in May – Offense

The month of May is as close to an “off-season” as there is in college football. Spring practices are concluded, and the summer camps are still a month away. Other than sweating out spring grades for a handful of players, there is little for a football fan to do other than wait for the rush of preseason magazines.

There will be plenty of time for pessimism and concern as the September 1st opener against Colorado State approaches. For now, we’ll take a look at the Buffs through a pair of black-and-gold colored glasses …

— Quarterbacks —

Easy to say in May … the CU quarterback roster is as talented as it has been in recent memory.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News recently posted his post-spring rankings of Pac-12 quarterbacks. Colorado was placed 8th in the conference: “As the Buffs hoped, sophomore Steven Montez was efficient and commanding during spring practice. That said, he has thrown just 131 career passes and lacks a proven backup. Rookie starter and rookie backups make a fragile combination”.

With potential first round NFL draft picks at USC (Sam Darnold), UCLA (Josh Rosen), and Washington State (Luke Falk), it’s easy to overlook a CU quarterback roster which consists of a sophomore in Steven Montez, a red-shirt freshman (Sam Noyer) and a true freshman (Tyler Lytle).

Yet Buff fans know that Steven Montez can be good (witness his starting debut against Oregon last year, leading the team to a road victory with the first 300-yard passing, 100-yard rushing performance in CU history) … and so does his teammates:

“Honestly, Montez has it down already,” senior wide receiver Bryce Bobo said after the end of spring practices. “He’s been taking a leadership role ever since Sefo left. He’s really stepped it up. He’s on top of the quarterbacks already and he overlooks everything to make sure they’re doing what they need to be doing. You can see he’s taking it really seriously.”

Montez will be much better than the national pundits give him credit for, giving CU fans reason for optimism.

And that’s before we note that the backups – red-shirt freshmen Sam Noyer and true freshman Tyler Lytle – are potential stars in the making.

And … CU has a verbal commitment from Blake Stenstrom from the Recruiting Class of 2018, who may prove to be the best of the lot.

A potential golden age of quarterbacks in Boulder.

— Running backs —

Easy to Say in May … Phillip Lindsay will finish his career at Colorado as a legend.

Lindsay already has impressive resume … He is third career all-purpose yards with 4,029 (2,233 rushing, 719 receiving, 1,077 kickoff returns), 13th in rushing yards (2,233), and tied for 22nd in scoring (144 points). Lindsay has been named as a captain for the 2017 season joining Pat Carney (1891-92-93) and former teammate Sefo Liufau (2014-15-16) as the only Buffs to serve three years as captain. In the spring, he was awarded the Eddie Crowder Award for outstanding leadership along with ILB Rick Gamboa.

Lindsay is 5’8″, 190-pounds, and reminds long-time Buff fans of another legend, Eric Bieniemy, who was 5’7″, 195-pounds when he set the CU all-time rushing record with 3,940 yards.

Both players – tough runners; fiery leaders.

With a great deal of senior leadership graduating, Phillip Lindsay will not only carry the load of the CU rushing attack, he will be a leader off the field as well. “The older guys, we sacrificed so that the kids now can come in and continue the legacy,” Lindsay said. “We went through the hard times so they don’t have to. There’s no reason for us to ever go backward. We’re too talented, we’re going to continue to bring in good players — we just have to continue working hard. It’s all about working hard.”

In Phil we trust …

— Wide Receivers —

Easy to Say in May … that CU has one of the best receiver corps in the Pac-12 – if not the nation.

First, the Buffs have everyone back from a wide receiver rotation which helped CU to a 10-4 record and a Pac-12 South title.

Most receptions? Devin Ross – 66

Most receiving yards? Shay Fields – 845 yards

Highest average per reception? Kabion Ento – 21.8 yards per catch

Most one-handed touchdown catches in CU’s big win at Oregon – Bryce Bobo, with one

All four receivers return for the 2017 season, which will be the second for co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini. That arsenal is sufficient, in and of itself, to rank CU as one of the best in the Pac-12

… but wait, there’s more.

It may be hard for the pundits to remember, but last August, the coaches were talking about the best receiver on the team being … junior college transfer Juwann Winfree. Instead of having an immediate impact, Winfree suffered a torn ACL in August, and sat out the entire season. Winfree is back, and still has two seasons to impress.

Then there is Jay MacIntyre … and Lee Walker … and Derrion Rakestraw … and Jaylon Jackson … and, this fall, highly regarded freshmen KD Nixon, Laviska Shenault, and Maurice Bell.


It’s going to be a great (and perhaps record-setting) year for the Colorado receivers.

— Offensive Line —

Easy to Say in May … that the Buff offensive line will be one of the strongest units on the team.

The Colorado offense generated 446.3 yards per game last season, the best average in 20 years. Helping to make that happen was a sturdy offensive line … and four starters return.

The lone loss along the offensive line was Alex Kelley, a three-year starter at center.

A problem?

Apparently not.

Jonathan Huckins has taken over at center, with positive reviews. “He had an excellent spring,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He’s very, very bright. He’s in great shape. I think he’ll be an excellent center.”

Huckins agrees. “I think I made a big jump from how I played as a guard last year to my center play this year,” he said. “I got a lot of the steps and the technique down, which is very important. I think I took to center really well this spring.”

Huckins will join left tackle Jeromy Irwin, who has 26 career starts, left guard Gerrad Kough (23 career starts), right guard Tim Lynott (who started every game last season as a red-shirt freshman) and right tackle Aaron Haigler (seven starts in 2016).

Things are going so well for the line, though, that there may still be some shuffling, as offensive line coach Klayton Adams looks for the top seven or eight players in the unit. Kough sat out much of this spring while nursing an ankle injury, giving Irwin time at left guard, with junior Josh Kaiser spending time at left tackle.

A trio of sophomores – Isaac Miller, Dillon Middlemiss, and Brett Tonz (who moved over from the defensive line, and had a great spring) – are next in line should injuries hit the unit.

The Colorado offensive line right now is a perfect blend of senior leaders (Irwin, Kough, and Huckins) and talented underclassmen (Lynott, Haigler, et al.).

Plenty of reason to believe that the Buffs will again be generating 450+ yards per game in 2017.

We’ll leave the last word of optimism to co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini.

“We’re a lot farther along than we were last year,” said Darrin Chiaverini. “You can see it with the receivers, you can see it with the quarterbacks, you can see it with the offensive line, tight ends and running backs. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m excited about the offseason and where we’re taking this offense to”.

That’s easy to say … in May.


Next week … Easy to Say in May – Defense

7 Replies to “Easy to Say in May – Offense”

  1. Just a note- whether he redshirts or not, Johnny Huntley’s name needs to be in the receivers…I’m sure just an oversight because of the wealth of talent.

  2. Stuart, there is a typo on the write-up about the QBs:

    … And that’s before we note that the backups – red-shirt freshmen Sam Noyer and true freshman Sam Noyer …

    Thanks again for a great site!
    Go Buffs! ’73

    1. You are such a “negative nancy”

      You never stop.

      But…………..I agree with you totally.

      So it is said they be having the “Jimmy and the Joes”………now there can be no excuse…………………Coaching and the “X’s and the O’s”

      5th year…………..


  3. Quality depth at each position on “O”; for the first time in a loooong time!

    “D” will be a work in progress, but the pieces are there. May have lost a bunch of starters, but its “next man up” for the “D”! See Exhibit “A” = Nick Fisher.

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