The Colorado Buffaloes opened up the 2016 season with the annual spring game at Folsom Field and just like last season it's all about progress. Coach Mike MacIntyre led the team along with his staff in Oklahoma drills before the game kicked off with a much different format from the past.
A more practice style competition with game type situations featured the silver and black jerseys for the Buffs. It was the first time fans would see Steven Montez in action on the field. He threw for 75 yards without having a touchdown pass. The backup quarterback had some successful drives in the game including a couple crisp passes to receiver Devin Ross, who led all receivers in the game with 57 yards receiving. It was upperclassmen Jordan Gehrke that engineered drives to the tune of 10-12, 126 yards and two touchdown on the day.
Starting quarterback Sefo Liufau continues to rehab his broken lisfranc and it's expected that he will start full preperation in August to return to the field. Seeing him throwing before the game was a great sign toward his progression. If Liufau can't return on schedule, it's likely Texas Tech graduate transfer Davis Webb will be competing with Gehrke and Montez for the starting job in camp. As for the rumors that Webb could be heading elsewhere, receiver Juwann Winfree said, "Davis told me and to the best of my knowledge he's 100% a Buff." That could be the best news of the day considering Webb is currently visiting Cal and surveying his options.
The running back by committee style looked in true form with Michael Adkins shining the most. Along with Phillip Lindsay, the duo looked comfortable running the ball behind a good effort by the offensive line. Adkins will likely be the "featured" back out the bunch, but don't count out Patrick Carr to have a great rest of the spring going into camp. Carr's speed will be used to open games up along with the power of Adkins and Lindsay.
The entire game plan for co-offensive coordinators Darrin Chiaverini and Brian Lindgren will depend on the offensive line and how productive they can be holding up opposing defenses. It's clear the offense is a hybrid-type that has been adopted from a Texas Tech style "pass happy" system. The offense line will have to preform flawlessly due to throwing 50-60 times a game. The system could present a challenge with the youth and inexperience of the offensive front and learning "on the fly" could be a standard occurrence.
The defense had two turnovers in the game and came out hitting. Jim Leavitt's group will be something to watch going into this season, especially having a complete year with the defensive coordinator at the helm. Linebacker Kenneth Olugbode has came into his own and is showing growth from last season. Fellow linebacker Addison Gillam is expected to be back and health for the start of camp, even though he was held out of the spring game. Defensive back Tedric Thompson stood out by making some terrific plays in the secondary and all but shutdown the receivers he was covering. The defensive core with Ryan Moeller, Jimmie Glibert, Afolabi Laguda and Nick Fisher played outstanding in the game. The need to swarm the ball was effective with four quarterback hurries and a safety.
The Buffs are showing signs of true development under Mac and the additions of Chiaverini. It's going to take time for that effort to wins.