Colorado has yet to figure out exactly which five players will start on the offensive line when it opens the season on Sept. 2 against Colorado State, but there's more clarity than there was a few weeks ago.
"I think we've really put the last seven or eight days into really trying to jell as a group," offensive line coach Klayton Adams said. "There's no such thing as feeling comfortable, especially with the offensive line in general, but I feel like things are headed in the direction to where we're jelling and guys communicate well."
Adams emphasized that competition is ongoing, but it's likely that junior Jeromy Irwin is penciled in at left tackle, junior Gerrad Kough at right guard, senior Alex Kelley at center and redshirt freshman Tim Lynott at right guard.
At right tackle, senior Shane Callahan, junior Sam Kronshage and redshirt freshman Aaron Haigler continue to battle.
"That's a good problem to have, when you've got a couple of different guys and they all kind of do some things well," Adams said. "It's the guy that does the most things well all the time and plays the hardest that's going to play the most."
Senior Sully Wiefels and junior Jonathan Huckins are the top backups at guard and center.
While Adams and the rest of the team has a "pretty good idea" about who will start, Adams said he continues to stress to his linemen that anything can change between now and Sept. 2.
"I just think the competition and the pressure of knowing that there's someone else that's working hard fundamentally and schematically to get your job, I think that makes you better, so that's the approach I take with them," he said.
That approach has served the Buffs well this offseason, because coaches continue to praise all the linemen for the strides they've made in gaining strength and improving technique.
Quarterback Sefo Liufau said he is confident in the guys blocking for him, and head coach Mike MacIntyre said he's impressed with the improvement made up front.
"That area in there, you've got to have some savvy and you've got to be able to understand what's going on and be able to think under pressure," he said. "I feel very good about what those guys have done."
CU also believes it has a much better defensive line, and that's helped the offensive linemen improve.
"Our D-line is better than it was last year and our pass rushers are all better than they were last year ... but our offensive line is blocking them better," MacIntyre said. "You can see a difference (on both sides of the line) and they keep competing against each other. They've helped each other get better."
Last season, Sefo Liufau became a big weapon in CU's short-yardage run game. He had more than twice as many third/fourth-down runs (37) as any running back, and converted 11 of 12 opportunities on third/fourth-and-1 situations.
Liufau also finished second on the team with five rushing touchdowns, after not having any during his first two seasons.
This season, the Buffs would like to use him less in those running situations, in part to reduce contact on Liufau's body and in part because they are more confident in their line and running backs.
"We'll back off of that some," MacIntyre said of Liufau's role as a short-yardage weapon. "We feel like we have some running backs (who can handle those situations) and we feel like our line's a little bit better."
Over the summer, the CU seniors and captains chose the uniform combinations for each game, but that hasn't been revealed yet.
"That's top secret," MacIntyre joked.
On Thursday, however, the school did tweet a teaser graphic that let everybody know how many times they'd be wearing each color of shirts, pants and helmets.
CU will wear black shirts seven times, white shirts four times and gray once. With seven home games (counting the game against CSU), it's likely that CU will wear a black shirt for each of those games and either white or gray on the road.
The Buffs will be in gold helmets six times, gray three times, white twice and black once. Their most common pants color will be gold (five), followed by gray (three) and black and white (two each).
Asked if he has a favorite combination, MacIntyre said, "I like the traditional uniform (gold helmet and pants with a black shirt) a lot, but there's some other combinations we've put together this year. One of them I really like and we'll wait and see what everybody thinks."
CU plans to reveal uniform combinations each week, starting Monday when it's announced what the Buffs will wear against CSU.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.