Colorado won't truly know how good it can be on offense this season until the games start, but with only days to go until the Sept. 2 opener, senior quarterback Sefo Liufau believes the Buffaloes are in great shape.
"I think for the most part we were trending upwards the whole time (during camp)," Liufau said. "It was real positive to see all of that from the guys, in terms of getting guys on and off the field, substitutes and knowing your assignments. There's definitely room for improvement, but definitely pleased with how we were working."
After setting a bunch of school records on offense in 2014, the Buffs took a step back last year. Injuries and ineffectiveness at times led them to sputter offensively.
The offseason included a revamping of the coaching staff, with Darrin Chiaverini hired as receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator with Brian Lindgren; Darian Hagan being hired as running backs coach; Klayton Adams shifting roles from coaching running backs/tight ends to now coaching the offensive line; and Gary Bernardi going from the line to the tight ends.
Even with all those changes, though, Liufau said this was the best camp CU has had offensively since he arrived in 2013.
"A lot better in my opinion," said Liufau, heading into his fourth year as the starter. "It'll be a lot different when bullets start flying and the real thing happens, but I'm definitely pleased with where we are as an offense. A lot of guys are doing a lot of great things right now on offense, in all positions. We're really consistent right now also, which is real good to see.
"We just need to be able to translate that now into games."
Liufau, like the rest of the team, is hoping to perform better in late-game pressure situations.
The Buffs have been on the wrong side of several closes games the past two years, but head coach Mike MacIntyre believes that can change.
"We've practiced (those situations) a lot, but what I'm banking on and we'll see is the young men have been in those situations a lot," MacIntyre said. "They just have to keep relaxing in those situations. Just do your job in those roles and I believe they'll come out on top."
MacIntyre said the coaches have also looked at how to change their play-calling and how to get the ball to playmakers in those situations. Bottom line, though, it takes being strong mentally and then executing.
"I think it's hand in hand," he said. "When you get under pressure and it's a pressure situation, it does get to be mental and then that affects your execution.
"(To be better), it's us as a staff doing a good job of coaching them and keeping them calm in those situations and those kids understanding, 'Just do my job like I've been coached and everything will work out.'"
Senior kicker Diego Gonzalez had a rocky 2015 season, but MacIntyre has said that Gonzalez has fixed his mechanics and spent the fall kicking well.
On Wednesday, MacIntyre said he now has more confidence in Gonzalez.
"I am a lot more confident," MacIntyre said. "This year, he's been completely healthy ... and I feel really good about what he's done. He's been real consistent, and the ball is just popping off there quicker, too, so that shows his legs is alive and better."
MacIntyre said he believes pass-rushers Jimmie Gilbert and Derek McCartney both have the ability to get 10-plus sacks this season. ... On Thursday and Friday, the Buffs will practice under the lights to get used to playing at night.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.