Throughout his career at Colorado, Josh Kaiser has learned all he can from the veterans he has played with.
Now that he's the oldest member of the Buffaloes' offensive line, he's taking his role as a leader seriously this spring.
"Honestly, I'm just trying to be the best person I can, be the best example I can be for these young guys, so I can pass on the culture I learned from (last year's seniors) Jeromy Irwin and Gerrad Kough," Kaiser said. "Pass on all that knowledge and the culture of hard-working, blue collar guys to these young guys. They'll carry that on and pass it on."
There's no better example of hard work and blue collar mentality than Kaiser.
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound senior from Mission Viejo, Calif., spent his first three seasons in Boulder as a backup that played mainly on special teams. He had logged just 31 offensive snaps in those years, but kept working for his shot to play more.
Last offseason, Kaiser's game took a leap forward as he was named the team's most improved offensive lineman after spring practices. He wound up starting the first two games of the season at left tackle for Irwin, who was suspended, and then made three more starts at right tackle. In all, Kaiser played 418 snaps last season.
So far this spring, Kaiser has been working at right tackle, with junior Aaron Haigler at left tackle.
"I feel really comfortable at right tackle and I'm more confident on that side of the ball right now," Kaiser said.
As the lone senior among the offensive linemen, Kaiser is aiming to be a regular starter and leader up front.
"That's a huge deal for me," he said. "I want to be able to lead the guys next to me and take over games and dominate like we did two years and get back to what we were."
To do that, Kaiser and his fellow linemen will have to bounce back from a tough 2017 season, but he's encouraged by the early results.
"It's been a great (first) four days, especially for the young guys," Kaiser said. "Based on the (first four practices), I'm really excited what we can do this year."
Kaiser said several players have done well so far, but added that junior Dillon Middlemiss has impressed him to this point. Middlemiss has played just 25 career snaps, and none last year, but has been working with the first team at right guard.
"I'm really proud of him and how he's stepped up and taken on that role of a first string right guard," Kaiser said.
For the Buffs to improve as a group up front, they'll need Kaiser, Middlemiss and a host of others to step up. Kaiser recognizes that, and said he and his fellow linemen are focused on doing just that this spring.
"There are always times where we could have done something more or something better," he said. "We're just trying to zone out all the outside noise and get as good as we can through this spring ball and going into fall camp."