We’re kicking off our look at the spring-football camps of the Pac-12, most of which are completed. Today, Colorado.
Starters returning – 17 (8 offense, 9 defense), plus P Darragh O’Neill and PK Will Oliver.
Refresher on 2012 – Buffs lurched to their worst season (1-11) in school history, allowing CU records of 488.5 yards and 46 points per game, beating only Washington State. In a surprise move, they fired alumnus Jon Embree and replaced him with San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre.
Coaching changes – MacIntyre brought with him from San Jose the former Washington defensive coordinator, Kent Baer (who coached under Tyrone Willingham), and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, who set records as a quarterback at DeSales High in Walla Walla and later at Idaho.
Major spring concerns – Sorting out a muddled QB picture . . . adjusting to a new offense that will include a lot of pistol . . . multiple defensive issues, including shoring up a Pac-12-worst run defense, and improving on last year’s hard-to-fathom three interceptions.
Developments – Quarterback derby took some strange twists, as incumbent Jordan Webb suffered a non-contact ACL tear, probably ending his college career, and Nick Hirschman, who was listed as a co-starter coming out of camp, announced he was transferring. That leaves Connor Wood (one career start) as the likely starter, with rising RS freshman Shane Dillon (inconsistent in spring) in the wings. Buffs also will take a hard look in the fall at Bellarmine High product Sefo Liufau (6-4, 215) . . . standout WR Paul Richardson, who tore up a knee in the spring of 2012, returned late in this session and should be ready . . . two projected OL starters, Alex Lewis (shoulder) and Daniel Munyer (leg) sat out of drills recuperating from injuries, while likely starting tackles Stephane Nembot (former Washington and WSU commit) and Jack Harris showed well . . . DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe, a primo pass-rusher, will be one of the defense’s leaders, while Addison Gillam (6-3, 220) could become the second true-freshman starting LB at Colorado, following Jordan Dizon, who also wore No. 44 a decade ago. Gillam originally signed at San Jose State, grayshirted and had shoulder surgery before switching to CU . . . LB Kyle Washington gave up football because of concussion problems and some personal issues . . . Woodson Greer was a surprise at OLB . . . MacIntyre wants several players on the D-line to lose weight in the summer, including 330-pound DT Josh Tupou.
Spring game – MacIntyre promised winners of the Black-Gold game steak dinners while the losers would get hot dogs, but he changed the script. Hirschman led a 90-yard drive and then MacIntyre gave Hirschman’s Black team the ball at the 50, where it mounted a drive for a field goal and a 17-16 field goal in front of 10,244. But everybody got steak nonetheless.
2013 schedule – Buffs don’t leave the state until Sept. 28, when they go to Oregon State in a Pac-12 opener. The first game, Sept. 1 in Denver against Colorado State, could help set the tone. CU misses Washington State and Stanford on the Pac-12 schedule.