On Monday, the Colorado football team officially ended spring practices, and it won't be on the field together until early August.
The Buffaloes are hoping that player-led practices between now and then will help them get better before the start of the season. During the offseason, coaches are allowed just two hours per week with the players, which puts the onus on the players to get better on their own.
"I think it's more important now (than in years past) because we know how great we can be and we can't afford to take a step back," senior safety Tedric Thompson said. "When the coach is not out there we have to practice even harder."
Coaches are not allowed to make the workouts mandatory, but they used Monday's 15th and final spring practice to show players how to practice on their own.
"We just teach them how to do it and hopefully they do it when they're out there this summer," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "With our older team, it should be a lot more productive."
MacIntyre said the players "came back OK" last year after the summer, but because the Buffs feature so many older players, MacIntyre said, "I'm expecting bigger and better this year."
The player-run practices are most individually-based and designed to help the players stay in football shape through position-specific workouts.
"I think that's where you get better individually," Thompson said.
It's also where the Buffs hope to get better as a team as they work out together.
"The upperclassmen are going to have a big role in how we treat the practices," Thompson said. "Sometimes in the past it didn't go as well. I think it's going to bring us together."
Miller to get MRI
Offensive lineman Isaac Miller left Saturday's spring game with a right knee injury. CU said at the time that it's a sprained MCL. MacIntyre said Miller was to get an MRI on Monday and "we'll find out after that."
"It's serious, but not like a season-ending type of thing," MacIntyre said. "A few weeks is what we're hoping."
MacIntyre reiterated his disappointed in the NCAA banning satellite camps. Division I conferences voted to ban them, and MacIntyre was disappointed that the Pac-12 voted against them. "I think it's a bad rule," he said. "I don't even know why our conference voted the way it did, because I voted for sure having a satellite camp and I know some others did." ... Senior Jaleel Awini, who has played linebacker, quarterback and receiver during his time at CU, appears to have settled into a spot. "He's going to play mainly receiver and play on all the special teams," MacIntyre said.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.