Throughout his football career, Javier Edwards has always been able to muscle his way past the opposition.
Now in his first spring at Colorado, the junior defensive tackle is finding it's not that easy anymore, but as the Buffaloes approach the end of spring drills, he's pleased with his progress.
"I'm getting better every day," said Edwards, who transferred from Blinn College and arrived at CU in January.
A 6-foot-3, 363-pound nose tackle, Edwards is hoping he can become the rock in the middle of the defensive line, as the now departed Josh Tupou was a season ago.
There has been no shortage of hard work to get there.
Edwards, who also considered Florida and Arkansas, signed with CU in part because he liked the strength and conditioning program, and knew he'd get in shape here.
Strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson was impressed with Edwards' work in the early going and that has continued.
"I didn't do anything over the winter break and I came in at 385, and now I'm at 363," Edwards said. "I have to get down to 345 and I'll be good."
With his size, Edwards didn't have to do much to win one-on-one battles on the field in the past.
"Even in JUCO, I was always bigger, stronger and faster than everyone," he said. "Now at this level, people are more technical.
"I see now that I really have to work my technique to beat people."
CU offensive lineman Jeromy Irwin, who is a big guy in his own right at 6-5, 300 pounds, said he's been impressed with Edwards this spring.
"Javier, he doesn't know all the technique yet, but that man is strong," Irwin said. "He's a big dude. You see what I have to block."
With only two practices left this spring — including Saturday's spring game at Folsom Field — Edwards feels stronger and is moving quicker than before and believes he'll be ready by the fall with his technique.
"I need to get better and better at that every day," he said. "I've come a long way, but I'm still not where I need to be."
Lytle making strides
True freshman quarterback Tyler Lytle is taking full advantage of his first spring at CU after enrolling a semester early.
"I've been very pleased with Tyler's jump from the first couple of days to now," MacIntyre said. "He's really starting to grasp it."
Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Lindgren said the staff has "been really thrilled with Tyler," especially considering Lytle should still be in high school.
"To come out here and compete at this speed, we've been really impressed," Lindgren said. "I've been really impressed with his arm talent. He's been really throwing it well."
Lindgren said Lytle's mind is spinning a bit as he learns the offense, but likes the potential once Lytle improves his foot speed and strength.
On Wednesday night, the Buffs announced that they have signed kicker James Stefanou to a national letter of intent, and head coach Mike MacIntyre said it's a move that's been in the works for a while.
"We would have signed him on signing day (on Feb. 1), but we had to jump through a few other hoops," MacIntyre said. "He had been committed to us for a while."
Stefanou, 29, is a former professional soccer player from Melbourne, Australia. He's the latest in a long time of punters/kickers to come through the ProKick Australia academy.
"We've been just looking for kickers, trying to find the best one we could find in the whole country, the whole world," MacIntyre said. "We worked through (the ProKick academy) and were able to find what we felt like was the best guy that was out there."
While ProKick has produced the last four Ray Guy Award winners - given to the best punter in the country - MacIntyre said there are no plans for Stefanou to punt for the Buffs.
"We're looking at him to be able to kick off and kick field goals for us," MacIntyre said.
Junior NJ Falo had experimented with inside linebacker early in spring, but is now working exclusively at outside backer. "(Inside) just didn't work out like we thought," MacIntyre said. "He's a lot more comfortable on the outside." ... CU's spring game will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Folsom Field and it is open to the public.