Kenneth Olugbode goes to practice every day knowing that at some point, running back Phillip Lindsay is going to look to deliver a big hit to the Colorado defense.

"It's awesome," said Olugbode, a senior linebacker. "He tries to lower his shoulder, but I tell him every day, 'You're not getting one on us today, Phil.'"

Olugbode won't admit to Lindsay ever getting the best of the CU defense, but there's no question that Lindsay's hard-nosed running style has served him well to this point in his career.

"I'm going to try to avoid (contact) as much as I can, but it's football; it's a contact sport, and I'm going to run hard," said Lindsay, who has 1,044 rushing yards in his career. "When you run hard, that's what happens sometimes, but when I get to the open field, I plan on taking off."

Now a junior, the 5-foot-8, 190-pound Lindsay, who once starred at Denver South High School, is aiming to become the featured back in the Buffaloes' rushing attack.

Last year, Lindsay led the Buffs in rushing, with 653 yards and six touchdowns on 140 carries, but shared the load with Christian Powell, Donovan Lee, Patrick Carr and Michael Adkins II.

Powell has since graduated and Carr has transferred, but Lee and Adkins are back, along with redshirt freshman Dino Gordon and true freshman Beau Bisharat.

"I'll be ready to be the horse, but we're going to need everybody," Lindsay said. "It's a long season and we need each other. It's a great backfield."

Less than a week into fall camp, Lindsay is off to a great start in his pursuit to be the lead back.


"I think Phil is tough enough to handle that," co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said. "We want a guy to step into that spot so he can get a rhythm and he can see the different reads. I think he has the potential to do that. We just have to see how he handles it here through the next couple of weeks and see if that's something that we feel like is best for us."

Lindgren said he prefers to play with a featured back, but said "it's a fine line" between having a featured back and utilizing the Buffs' stable of talented backs to keep players fresh.

"We're trying to figure that out as an offensive staff," he said.

Lee converted from receiver last year and has grown comfortable as a full-time running back. More of a slasher, Lee is off to a good start, as well.

When healthy, Adkins has been CU's best running back the past two years, but his health has been a concern. He injured his hamstring on his first carry of the third game last season and sat the rest of the year. He was in and out of practice throughout the spring and has yet to practice this week because of an injury.

Gordon, meanwhile, just returned to practice this week after serving a suspension for an off-the-field incident. Bisharat is a true freshman who has great potential, but needs time to learn the offense.

"For him, it's how well does he pick up the protection stuff, how comfortable do we feel putting him out there?" Lindgren said. "I can see him being a factor for sure."

Walk-on Kyle Evans could be a factor, too.

"I've been pretty excited about him," Lindgren said. "He had a great spring and he's doing a nice job."

Meanwhile, Lindsay continues to go to work and he spent the offseason trying to get better.

"Just got bigger, strong and continued to build up on my speed," he said. "I've been doing a lot of agility and a lot of speed work."

He and the Buffs are hoping it pays off, and Olugbode has no doubt it will.

"He's such a competitor," Olugbode said. "He goes out there every day and goes really, really hard."

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