COLORADO SPRINGS — The last thing Mike MacIntyre wants is for the Colorado football team to lose talented players.
The Buffaloes' head coach said Wednesday, however, that his team should be just fine after losing tailback Patrick Carr, who announced last week that he would be leaving the Buffs to transfer to a school closer to his home in Texas.
"We have a bunch of good running backs," MacIntyre said at the annual College Football Kickoff Luncheon at the Double Tree Hotel. "(Carr) is a good player and he would have helped us, but I don't feel like that's a big hurt for us. Had it been (quarterback Sefo Liufau) transferring, that would be a big hurt. I wish (Carr) was still here, but we have players there."
Carr had 272 yards on 66 carries as a true freshman last season and would have been in the mix for the starting job this season.
The Buffs, however, do have several talented juniors. Phillip Lindsay led the team in rushing last season and has 1,044 yards during his career; Michael Adkins II has rushed for 1,145 yards in his career; and Donovan Lee had 286 yards on 49 carries last season.
Lindsay is currently listed as the starter, followed by Lee and then Adkins. Freshman Beau Bisharat could compete for carries, too.
As for Carr, MacIntyre said he was disappointed, but understands Carr's decision.
"We would have definitely liked him to stay," MacIntyre said. "He was doing good in football, good in track, and really good in school. When you have a family situation and he needs to go back near home, that's something you have to understand."
Senior quarterback Sefo Liufau is back atop the depth chart and doing well in his recovery from a Lisfranc injury to his left foot that ended his 2015 season prematurely.
"He's way ahead of schedule," MacIntyre said. "He's doing really, really well. He's basically taken this time to reshape his body some more and worked on his arm. I'm excited about where Sefo is. I'm excited to watch what he does."
Liufau, who was injured on Nov. 13 against USC, missed all of spring ball as he continued his recovery, but is expected to be on the field when the Buffs open fall camp in August.
Liufau enters the season with 7,397 career passing yards, needing just 13yards to break CU's all-time passing record.
On the way back
Linebacker NJ Falo, running back Dino Gordon and defensive lineman Samson Kafovalu are all still suspended after being involved in off-the-field incidents during the spring, but MacIntyre said they all have the opportunity to lift their suspensions.
"They're doing what they're supposed to at this time, and they have to keep showing that," MacIntyre said. "We'll see when we get ready to crank it up and before the first game, and figure it all out."
Asked if any of the players could face game suspensions, MacIntyre said, "It could be different for all three."
During the spring, MacIntyre had considered the idea of using both a leadership council (as the Buffs did last season) and naming captains (as they did in 2014).
On Tuesday, the Buffs announced five captains for the upcoming season (Liufau, Irwin, Lindsay, linebacker Kenneth Olugbode and tight end/fullback George Frazier), and MacIntyre said there will not be a leadership council, as well. He said because several other players have been captains (or on the leadership council) in the past and because he tries to train his players as leaders, he believes there is enough leadership infiltrated throughout the roster.
Stepping up on D
During the luncheon, MacIntyre told the crowd that he has high hopes for CU's defense.
"I expect us to be in the top echelon of our conference on defense," he said. "We've built it that way and defense is extremely important for you to be successful."
He also said that senior defensive back Chidobe Awuzie "is probably the best secondary player in the Pac-12."
In addition to MacIntyre, head coaches from Air Force (Troy Calhoun), Northern Colorado (Earnest Collins Jr.) and CSU-Pueblo (John Wristen), along with Colorado State offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Will Friend were in attendance. CSU head coach Mike Bobo was on vacation and unable to attend. ... Offensive linemen Chance Lytle and Colby Pursell, who signed letters of intent in February, will both gray shirt and enroll in January. ... With Carr's departure and the two gray shirts, CU currently has 83 players on scholarship, leaving two open spots. Those spots will be filled at some point, either by late signees or by rewarding walk-ons with scholarships. ... Freshman Terriek Roberts, from Denver South, was recruited as a defensive end/offensive tackle, but will begin his career on defense.
Brian Howell: email@example.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.