Today’s installment of our spring camp assessments is on Colorado.
Starters returning: 18 (9 offense, 9 defense), plus PK Will Oliver and P Darragh O’Neill.
Refresher on 2013: In a 4-8 season punctuated by a single league victory against Cal, the Buffs went with freshman QB Sefo Liufau of Bellarmine Prep, but they started far behind the curve in the conference. They finished 2013 last in the league in total offense (369.9 ypg), run defense (208.5), kickoff coverage, sacks (17), first downs and red-zone TDs allowed (43, by a wide margin).
Coaching changes: None.
Spring concerns: Overall advancement in Mike MacIntyre’s second-year regime, replacement of top-flight WR Paul Richardson.
Developments: QB Jordan Gehrke (6-1, 190), who signed in 2013 and then redshirted out of Scottsdale CC, provided some competition for Liufau with superior athleticism . . . MacIntyre, asked by the Denver Post to name standouts in the spring session, volunteered RB Phillip Lindsay, OT Daniel Munyer, WR Bryce Bobo, OL Alex Kelley, OL Kenneth Olugbode, DT Josh Tupou, DE Derek McCartney and DB Ryan Moeller. Lindsay, Bobo, McCartney and Moeller are RS freshmen . . .MacIntyre praised the work of LB Brady Daigh, slimmed down about 15 pounds to 235 . . . two of CU’s bigger backs, 240-pound RS frosh fullback George Frazier and Christian Powell, sat out the first half of the session (bisected by spring break) rehabbing injuries. In the second part, the Buffs worked on more heavy packages with Frazier and Powell . . . MacIntyre gives out a “U” practice jersey for “uncommon” performance, and DB Chidobe Awuzie got it twice, allowing him to keep it for the entire session . . . Devin Ross and Elijah Dunston also improved the WR prospects . . . key figures to replace were DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe, S Parker Orms and OL Jack Harris and Gus Handler . . . JC DE Leo Jackson should help the pass rush, while Derek McCartney and Tyler Henington turned in the best springs at DE . . . Diego Gonzalez of Monterrey, Mexico is bidding for the kickoff job, one shortfall that contributed in ’13 to CU’s poor coverage numbers . . . Ahkello Witherspoon, a 6-3 JC product, looks like a solid candidate to start at corner . . . MacIntyre said coaches showed players tapes of 30 good plays and 30 bad plays to reinforce what needs to happen at their positions . . . senior DB Josh Moten suffered his third achilles tear in just nine months . . . captains named for ’14 are Munyer, Liufau, LB Addison Gillam (like Liufau, a sophomore), S Terrel Smith, WR Nelson Spruce and DE Juda Parker . . . at half of spring game, plans were announced for May 12 ground-breaking of $143-million facilities improvements, including an indoor practice facility, work on the Dal Ward Athletic Center (including locker and training rooms, academic-support advancements and on the outside, loge boxes and club seats), plus a high-performance sports center.
Spring game: Liufau went 19 of 31 for 238 yards and two TDs with one interception, and the Black team rallied to defeat the Gold, 21-17, with the winners eating steak for dinner and the losers getting hot dogs.
Quotable: MacIntyre, on the QB position – “Sefo’s our starter, Jordan’s our backup. Both are good athletes. I would say Jordan can probably scramble around a little better.”
2014 schedule: Buffs’ traditional opener with Colorado State in Denver has been moved to Friday night, Aug. 29, followed by a game at Massachusetts. They miss Washington State and Stanford.