Muscle up front
A look at the players the Colorado Buffaloes project to have on the offensive line this season:
Shane Callahan: 6-6, 310
* Jeromy Irwin: 6-5, 300
Alex Kelley: 6-2, 315
Sully Wiefels: 6-3, 315
Jonathan Huckins: 6-4, 310
Gerrad Kough: 6-4, 290
Sam Kronshage: 6-6, 280
Colin Sutton: 6-5, 285
Josh Kaiser: 6-5, 290
# Sean Larson: 6-6, 255
John Lisella II: 6-4, 295
Aaron Haigler: 6-7, 270
Tim Lynott: 6-2, 300
Dillon Middlemiss: 6-5, 290
Isaac Miller: 6-7, 270
Chance Lytle: 6-7, 290
Colby Pursell: 6-4, 290
$ Terriek Roberts: 6-6, 255
Hunter Vaughn: 6-7, 275
* - Out this spring recovering from knee injury; # - Walk-on; $ - Could play either offense or defense
Throughout the 2015 football season, the Colorado football team had so many moving parts on the offensive line it was tough to keep track of who was in the lineup.
The one spot that never changed was center, where Alex Kelley started all 13 games.
Kelley is back, but as the Buffs go through spring practices, his spot is far from secure, because redshirt freshman Tim Lynott is turning heads.
"I've been impressed with the young center, Tim Lynott," co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said. "I really love his demeanor. He's really calm. He's got that center mentality where he doesn't get too high or too low. He's really athletic for his size and he's got good feet and he's able to redirect pretty well on the line."
If nothing else, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Lynott is giving CU a legitimate second option in the middle of its offensive line, and to this point, the Regis Jesuit High School graduate is enjoying his new spot.
"I feel it's going pretty well," he said. "This is my first time at center and I'm adjusting."
At Regis, Lynott was a three-year starter at right guard and spent last season almost exclusively playing guard for the Buffs' scout team.
So far this spring, Lynott has primarily played center and is rapidly improving.
"I feel pretty comfortable making the calls, but there's a couple things I need to fix up," he said. "They are minor things that need to be fixed."
Chiaverini said Lynott is still "hit or miss" on his snaps and needs to find consistency, but added, "He's going to be a good one when it's all said and done. He's definitely competing for that starting spot at center."
Lynott is one of several players competing for spots along the offensive line this spring. In his first season as the offensive line coach, Klayton Adams made it an open competition for everybody up front.
Along with Kelley, a senior who has started the last 25 games at center, the Buffs have several other veterans in the mix. Fellow seniors Shane Callahan and Sully Wiefels both played significant time last season, as did juniors Jonathan Huckins, Gerrad Kough and Sam Kronshage. Sophomore John Lisella II was a starter at right tackle during the second half of the season and got better as the year went along.
Aside from Lynott, Kough is the other offensive lineman who has impressed Chiaverini.
That older group got the bulk of the playing time last year, but because it was a group that struggled, the door is wide open for the younger Buffs, such as Lynott.
Lynott's fellow redshirt freshmen, Aaron Haigler, Dillon Middlemiss and Isaac Miller are all hoping to earn playing time after getting stronger in the offseason.
"They're pretty excited," Lynott said of his classmates. "I can't explain how excited they are. These guys, they're playing their tails off. They're working hard every day in the weight room, the classroom and as well on the field in scrimmages. They're excited to possibly get that starting spot and take over."
The veterans seem to be feeling a sense of urgency, too, because, for the most part, the Buffs have had a good spring up front.
"I've really loved the way they've been practicing and the effort they've been giving," Chiaverini said.
Lynott said the linemen are still adjusting to Adams, who was shifted from running backs coach to replace Gary Bernardi, who was shifted to tight ends. Lynott said it's a change that the players like.
With the second half of spring drills starting Monday, the Buffs are hoping to continue the progression up front.
"We're getting the camaraderie together and we're coming together as a unit and we're working our tails off to get the defense tired and get those touchdowns," Lynott said.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.