During Mike MacIntyre's first three seasons at Colorado, he left one man in charge of the Buffaloes' special teams.

This year, it'll be a group effort.

"We're going to divide that up amongst the staff," MacIntyre said. "I think that'll give more of an intensity to the whole staff doing it, and everybody is held accountable. Of course, the offensive and defensive coordinators won't be as involved as much, but everybody else will be."

Toby Neinas had the sole responsibility of coordinating the Buffaloes' special teams the past three years, but after mixed results, he resigned in December. Ultimately, Neinas was replaced last week when MacIntyre promoted former CU quarterback Darian Hagan to running backs coach.

MacIntyre didn't give details as to how special teams duties would be divided, but said certain coaches will be in charge of each phase of special teams. MacIntyre will be working with the kickers, but may not be the only one on staff doing that, he said.

In addition to hiring Hagan last week, MacIntyre shifted Klayton Adams from coaching running backs and tight ends to now coaching the offensive line, and he changed the duties of Gary Bernardi from offensive line to tight ends and fullbacks.

"I felt that we needed to improve on our whole team and I felt like that was a good change for us to make improvement on our offensive line and with our running game and everything we're doing," MacIntyre said.

Competition at kicker


MacIntyre believes there is always competition at every position, and that's no different at kicker, despite the Buffs returning last year's starter, Diego Gonzalez.

Gonzalez struggled in his first season, making just 18 of 29 field goals (62.1 percent), but connecting on all 35 extra points.

Gonzalez will be a senior next season and will compete with junior Chris Graham, who was last year's kickoff specialist, and sophomore punter Alex Kinney.

Awini's role

Thrown into an emergency quarterback role late last season, Jaleel Awini did enough in practice to earn a shot at staying on offense. The former outside linebacker doesn't have a particular spot, however.

"He's going to play receiver, quarterback, special teams," MacIntyre said. "He's a utility guy right now. I like his athletic ability; I like the things that he does. I feel like he's going to be able to help us in a lot of different ways."

Awini played 139 snaps on defense last year, just 10 of those in the last five weeks. He played just one series on offense, late in the finale at Utah, but ran four times for 20 yards and helped the Buffs to a touchdown.

"He played a little bit of defense, but not a ton last year," MacIntyre said, "so I feel if we can get him at receiver, quarterback and then still play on our special teams cover units, he can add more to the game for us."


MacIntyre said there no other position switches to announce at this time, adding, "We'll still do some experimenting during spring practice, but we haven't decided on anything yet." ... Hagan has been CU's director of player development for the past three years. MacIntyre said for now Hagan's duties will be spread out to people throughout the program. MacIntyre is still in the process of deciding what to do with that position and may or may not hire someone to fill Hagan's spot. ... CU opens spring practices on March 2. The spring game is slated for April 9 at noon.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.