The pro-style offense for the Colorado Buffaloes is one that relies a consistent attack of 40+ passing attempts by Steven Montez during the course of a game. It also means the offensive line must hold up knowing a majority of plays are going downfield. Out of the key players one of the most important returning starters is senior tackle Josh Kaiser.
At 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds, the California native is one of the most improved linemen heading into 2018. Kaiser played the most snaps of any Buffs player last season with a total of 418, and during that time allowed just 4 ½ sacks, two quarterback pressures and was penalized twice—one of the lowest mark for any tackle in the Pac-12. He followed that up a great showing in spring drills by earning the Eddie Crowder Award for leadership as chosen by CU’s coaching staff.
Coach Mike MacIntyre sees Kaiser as one of the “experienced leaders” on the offensive line, due to the extra work he has put in to this point. Kaiser has worked with the younger guys through the spring to teach better technique along with improving his craft in the process. The Buffs can hope those extra hours spent on the field will translate into wins this season.
Kaiser’s role of going head-to-head against pass rushers will increase this season. One of the best matchups to watch Colorado’s offensive line at work will be Oct. 13 against USC’s Christian Rector and Cameron Smith. The Trojans will look to match last year’s production of 46 sacks, tied Clemson for the most in the nation. Another game worth noting is the Nov. 2 matchup against Arizona’s trio of Kylan Wilborn, Tony Fields II & Colin Schooler. The Buffs have traditionally played the Wildcats close in conference play, and the late-season game could come down the most-experienced team. Kaiser, who hasn’t missed a game in his Colorado career, would be vital.
As for the rest of the schedule, CU’s offensive line has a good advantage without seeing Oregon or Stanford this season. UCLA is still in a rebuild phase from last year’s dismantling. Arizona State is drawing even with new coach Herm Edwards in the fold. The best defense from two seasons ago, the Washington Huskies, has lost a tremendous amount of talent to the NFL and look for their next unit to emerge. Oregon State, Washington State, Utah and Cal are all very winnable games for the Buffs with three of those four at Folsom. These should be winnable; a great place CU could ensure that would be sustained success on the offensive line.
Kaiser’s versatility along the line with be crucial for Colorado’s success with the ability to anchor at either tackle position. Kaiser isn’t guaranateed a starting spot, but whether or not he does, he will be joined by Tim Lynott, Aaron Haigler, Jake Moretti and Colby Pursell as projected starters. Lynott is probably the best of the bunch, Haigler is a team captain, and Moretti has the most potential, but it’s difficult to see the Buffs’ passing offense taking off without Kaiser stepping up and having a career season.