Connor Center is still trying to figure things out, but the Colorado tight end is getting more comfortable as time goes on.
"It's just a huge learning experience the first time," he said of his true freshman season in 2013. "I didn't realize how tough it was going in. This year I really prepared myself and got ready for the whole experience."
At 6-foot-7, 260 pounds, Center has the physical tools that most coaches covet in a tight end. That's why several Division I schools, including CU, Miami and Syracuse, offered him a scholarship, despite the fact that Center didn't play a down of football in high school.
Although he has the physical tools, Center doesn't have a foundation of fundamentals to rely upon.
"He's coming to us almost like a newborn baby," CU tight ends coach Klayton Adams said. "He's got to learn how to move his head on his own; he's got to learn how to crawl, then he's got to learn how to walk. He's just got a longer timeline in terms of developing, but I think there's some tools there and I think he wants to do it."
Through the first several days of training camp, Center said he's encouraged by the progress he's making.
"That first year it took me a while and it was hard, but every day I'm learning something new," he said. "I feel better. Every time, I'm like, 'I made an improvement here.' I always feel like I'm moving in a general direction forward."
There are times when the Buffs would like to see him move forward at a higher rate of speed, but they are pleased to see progress being made.
"The mentality is coming to him, the fundamentals are coming to him," Adams said. "It's a process. I'm doing as good as I can to be patient with him, but sometimes that's tough.
"He's still got a long way to go, but he shows up with a good attitude everyday."
As for the top of the depth chart at tight end, senior Kyle Slavin and sophomore Sean Irwin have "separated themselves" from the group, Adams said.
"Those two guys have played in games," Adams said. "Those guys don't have to think a lot when they get to the line of scrimmage."
Redshirt freshman Chris Hill and true freshmen Brian Boatman, Hayden Jones and Dylan Keeney are also at tight end.
Callahan moving around
Sophomore Shane Callahan is trying out a few different spots along the offensive line. The Buffs learned earlier this week that the transfer from Auburn is eligible to play this season. The 6-foot-6, 300-pounder was an all-American tackle coming out of high school.
"Once we knew that he was eligible, we were going to try to plug him in and figure out where he fit the best," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "We have him on some special teams and different things like that. We have a scrimmage Saturday and another scrimmage the next Saturday, so I'll have a little bit better feel for where he sits."
Callahan is still trying to learn the CU offense, and MacIntyre said, "He's picking it up good, which is great."
MacIntyre comments on NCAA vote
The top five conferences in Division I gained some power on Thursday. The NCAA Division I board of directors voted to allow those conferences — the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 — to write many of their own rules.
With more autonomy, the conferences can make decisions on things such as insurance benefits for players, recruiting rules, cost-of-attendance stipends and more.
"I think that's very good for the student-athlete," MacIntyre said. "It's more for the welfare of the student and try to get everything in line."
Ross catching on
The Buffs have stockpiled a lot of talent at receiver, including sophomore Devin Ross. The 5-9, 170-pounder caught six passes for 24 yards a year ago and is off to a good start this camp.
"He has all the ability; last year he just didn't catch it all the time," MacIntyre said. "It seems like he's more consistent in that area. He has good hands; he just has to be consistent with it."
Linebackers Ryan Severson and Hunter Shaw and running back Christian Powell wore "Uncommon" jerseys during practice Thursday. ... Defensive backs Jered Bell and Brandon Brisco, defensive ends Tyler Henington and Markeis Reed, offensive lineman Gerrad Kough and tight end Dylan Keeney sat out of Thursday's practice because of injuries.