Darian Hagan likes a lot of the talent he has to work with as Colorado's new running backs coach.
There's one particular player he's especially excited about working with, though.
"When I got this job, I said to myself and I said to other people who would listen that he's going to be my project," Hagan said of redshirt freshman Dino Gordon. "I'm going to make sure this guy will be the football player he can be and should be."
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Gordon has to battle with several veteran backs, but he's steadily making progress and proving he belongs in the mix.
"I feel like I can get in the rotation," he said. "I'm starting to run with the twos a little bit, ones a little bit. I feel like I can hang with the older guys."
CU returns juniors Michael Adkins II, Donovan Lee and Phillip Lindsay as well as sophomore Patrick Carr. That foursome combined for 1,423 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, led by Lindsay's 653 yards and six touchdowns.
Because Gordon has yet to play in a college game, Hagan admits he's behind the others, but the gap is closing and Hagan said Gordon is "100 times better" than he was in the fall.
"He's starting to pick it all up, he's starting to get it," Hagan said. "I like where he is. I really believe he can be something."
Gordon was about the same size in high school, Hagan said, but was not in good shape. Gordon has since lost the bad weight and regained it with muscle.
"He's a guy that with his size, when we do a lot of different things with our backs, he should be in there," Hagan said. "I'm gaining more and more confidence with him on a daily basis."
Gordon is gaining that confidence, too, and said he's now taking what he learned as a redshirt this past year and applying it this spring.
"It's real different (from the fall), just knowing I have something good ahead of me to work for and push for," he said. "Spring is going really well, trying to get things off of my redshirt year and trying to dominate this year."
Hagan has no doubt Gordon can dominate at some point, but there's no telling when his time will come.
Adkins is healthy again and playing well in the spring. Lindsay is his usual self, working hard and doing everything asked of him. Lee has surprised Hagan with how well he sees the field and how crafty he can be with the ball. Then, there's Carr, who Hagan said, "is having the best camp out of all of them."
Throw in incoming freshman Beau Bisharat, a four-star recruit with the size and talent to play right away, and Hagan could have six running backs ready to play this fall.
"It's a good problem to have," he said.
In the stadium
The Buffs will wrap up the first half of spring practices on Wednesday with a scrimmage scheduled to take place in Folsom Field. It is closed to the public, but it'll be the Buffs' first session in the stadium.
"I'm looking to see how some of the young linemen come along," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I'm looking to see how some of our young D-linemen (perform) and a little bit of execution."
MacIntyre said coaches will be up in the press box for the scrimmage.
MacIntyre said freshman Tim Lynott is doing well at center, despite that being a new position. Senior Alex Kelley is the incumbent starter at center. ... Kabion Ento, a receiver who arrived this semester from East Central (Miss.) Community College, continues to progress. "Every practice the light bulb goes a little brighter, a little brighter, a little brighter," MacIntyre said.