This spring hasn't exactly gone as planned for Colorado's Derek McCartney.

Still, the junior outside linebacker will exit the spring feeling like it was productive for himself and the rest of the Buffaloes' defense.

"Honestly, I feel really good about what's happened," McCartney said. "We got a lot better, a lot of guys have gotten a lot of reps, which is really good. I'm excited for the season. That's what you're really working for."

McCartney's spring began with him missing the first few practices after donating peripheral blood stem cells. After returning, he was full-go for a few practices before coming down with mononucleosis, which his prematurely ended his spring.

"For me, it was kind of unfortunate," he said of his shortened spring. "I didn't get as much time as I had hoped on the field, but I definitely got a lot of film time and understanding of the defense. I definitely got something out of spring. There's not really enough ever, but I definitely got something out of spring."

Head coach Mike MacIntyre agrees, saying McCartney has been at every meeting and been very focused mentally.

The silver lining to McCartney's short spring is that sophomore NJ Falo has taken more reps as he works full-time at outside linebacker. McCartney said Falo has been one very impressive this spring, and MacIntyre said Falo has taken full advantage of the extra reps in practice.

Kough solidifying LG

While the CU offensive line is still a work in progress, Gerrad Kough might be the player most locked into a starting job.


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The junior has played this spring exclusively at left guard, where he made 10 starts last year, and he's been one of the rocks of the line.

"I've just been trying to improve," he said. "Every day, just working hard and taking the new stuff that coach (Klayton) Adams is teaching us and trying to apply it during team period. I've been trying to work and get better."

Last season, Kough gave up 6.5 sacks (second-most on the team) and tied for the lead among offensive linemen with five penalties.

"He's played a lot of games at left guard," Adams said. "He's done some good things this spring. He's got to be more consistent, but he's been one of the more solid guys so far."

Standing out

On Friday, MacIntyre named several players for fans to keep an eye on during Saturday's spring game. Here's a few he mentioned:

  • RB Patrick Carr: "Patrick Carr has had a good spring and exploded on some plays. I think he's really starting to understand what to do."
  • OLB Jimmie Gilbert: "He has been really rushing the passer well, and hopefully he'll show some of that. He's gotten better and better in that area. He's always been good at; he's just, to me, gone to a different level."
  • S Ryan Moeller: "(He) is back at full strength and had a good spring, which is great to see. He'll be running around making plays."
  • K Diego Gonzalez/P Alex Kinney: "Our kickers have done well. Diego has had a good spring and Alex Kinney has gone to another level, I think."

Making progress

Former NFL lineman Glenn Parker, now with the Pac-12 Network, will be a part of Saturday's broadcast. He said CU is getting better because it's improving its talent.

"Bad teams just sometimes don't have an identity and that's why they're bad," he said. "This team was bad because they lacked talent. Now that they are gathering more talent, they have an identity. The things they're doing, what they're trying to do, all have a purpose. You see what that identity is during a game and during the course of the year.

"I see them getting better and better, and the new facilities will really help recruiting."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.