About a week ago, Colorado co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren saw the Buffaloes' offense start to click.
"We really started to see some gains just last week, right after we got back from spring break," Lindgren said. "The end of the week last week we did some good things and kind of made some strides and it felt like the guys were grasping some of the things we were trying to get across to them."
In their first spring together, Lindgren and co-coordinator Darrin Chiaverini have spent countless hours trying to develop an efficient offense that'll fit the Buffs. Throughout the spring, the players — and coaches — have been learning the new aspects of the offense, which will mesh concepts Lindgren has used at CU the past three years with ideas Chiaverini brought with him from Texas Tech.
With three practices left this spring, Lindgren is pleased with what the Buffs have accomplished.
"Any time you're looking at adding some new wrinkles or a different way of doing things, it takes guys repetitions and a comfort level of getting used to doing some of it," Lindgren said. "The guys have got a good understanding of what the expectation is now and what we're trying to do. We've had a lot of repetitions at it this spring and I think they've bought into what we're trying to get across. I'm excited for fall camp."
Whether the Buffs run or throw the ball, the main goal is to play fast. They've been a fast-paced team in recent years but plan to take it to a new level this season.
"We were always trying to play pretty fast in the past," Lindgren said. "Some new ways of calling things and some new ways of organizing some things allow us to even be a little bit simpler and get some of that stuff called quicker.
"I'm very comfortable with it. I like it a lot."
CU was one of just 22 teams in the country to run at least 1,000 plays last season, but the Buffs were, by far, the least efficient of those teams. CU ranked 101st nationally in yards per play (5.12) and 97th in points per game (24.6). Every other team that topped 1,000 plays averaged at least 31 points per game.
Lindgren believes the Buffs now have the tools to be a high-scoring offense.
"There's so many missing pieces right now it's hard to say that for sure, but I do feel like there's been guys that have stepped up," he said. "I do feel like we'll have the ability to be a little bit more explosive than we were last year."
CU is eager for several players to arrive in the summer, including quarterback Davis Webb and receiver Juwann Winfree. The Buffs are also hoping that senior quarterback Sefo Liufau returns from a foot injury by the fall.
Even without those weapons this spring, Lindgren has been pleased with the progress of several players who are in camp. Most notably, freshman quarterback Steven Montez has stepped up.
"I think people are going to really like Steven Montez," said Lindgren, who coaches the quarterbacks. "He's had a great spring and we think he's going to be a really good player. He's taken hundreds of reps, which has been awesome for his development."
Receivers Devin Ross, Kabion Ento and Shay Fields have turned heads, and running backs Patrick Carr and Donovan Lee have been explosive playmakers. Despite shuffling players in different spots, Lindgren has also seen glimpses of growth on the offensive line, too.
With a bevy of playmakers, a new attitude brought to the field by the energetic Chiaverini, and some exciting wrinkles to the playbook, Lindgren enters the final stretch of spring eager to see what this offense can do.
"We've had some success at times and there's been a lot of learning this spring," he said. "I've seen some success and the guys are having some confidence, and that's a good thing.
"We're nowhere close to where we need to be, but at times in practice, I think those guys have seen what we can be — the potential of what we can be."
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.