Within the last couple of weeks, the Colorado football team has lost one running back to a dislocated hip and another to a broken ankle.
Those injuries and others will contribute to Saturday's annual spring game looking more like a practice than an actual game.
The Buffaloes will wrap up their spring on Saturday at Folsom Field, beginning at 1 p.m. The Buffs will practice for the first hour and then hold a situational scrimmage for about an hour.
Even the scrimmage portion could be scaled back, as head coach Mike MacIntyre said the Buffs "will get after it," but that they will mainly thud tackle, which means they won't tackle to the ground.
"We've lost two running backs this spring and I'm not going to lose another one," head coach Mike MacIntyre said on Friday.
Earlier this spring, junior running back Kyle Evans dislocated his hip, and on Wednesday, senior Donovan Lee broke his ankle. Both players are hopeful of returning in time for preseason camp in August, but the Buffs will go into Saturday with only three healthy, scholarship running backs — seniors Michael Adkins II and Phillip Lindsay and sophomore Beau Bisharat.
Depth on the offensive line has been a concern this spring, as well, and the Buffs aren't very deep at inside linebacker.
Despite some of the depth issues, fans can expect to see a lot of the younger Buffs perform.
"You're putting the guys on the stage out there a little bit," MacIntyre said. "There's some fans there, there's some television there, you're in the stadium, so it's a little different feel. They'll have a little bit more butterflies."
CU's veterans, such as quarterback Steven Montez, safeties Afolabi Laguda and Ryan Moeller and Lindsay, could play in the scrimmage, but the final practice of the spring — and the only one of the 15 open to the public and the media — is sure to feature players that many have yet to see.
"We're looking at some of the guys that we've put in other positions to see how they perform in that type of environment," MacIntyre said. "The guys that have played a lot, we know what they're going to do on game day, so it's basically the guys we've plugged in, some guys that haven't played a whole lot."
While the spring game may not answer a lot of the offseason questions about the Buffs, it'll still be an opportunity for fans to catch a glimpse of several key players and position battles.
Five players to watch on Saturday:
1. QB Steven Montez, So.: As the odds-on favorite to win the starting job, eyes will be on him. By all accounts, he's has had a strong spring as the top quarterback and he will hopefully show that in front of fans.
2. NT Javier Edwards, Jr.: He's in line to take over for Josh Tupou in the middle of the defensive line. At 6-foot-3, 363 pounds, Edwards has the size and athleticism to be a force up front.
3. WR Kabion Ento, Sr.: Much of the attention at receiver is given to Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross, and with good reason. But, Ento has been sensational this spring and continues to make play after play in practice. If he keeps it up, he could be a lot of fun to watch in the spring game.
4. CB Trey Udoffia, Fr.: Several players and coaches have raved about him this spring. Coming off a redshirt year, Udoffia will battle for a starting job at corner and a good performance Saturday could help him earn that job.
5. LB Drew Lewis, Jr.: With Kenneth Olugbode gone and Addison Gillam's status for next season unclear, Lewis could become a very important part of the CU defense at inside linebacker. As spring comes to a close, he projects as a starter next to fellow junior Rick Gamboa.
Positions to keep an eye on:
1. Quarterback: Saturday should give fans a good look at redshirt freshman Sam Noyer and true freshman Tyler Lytle. Both have done well this spring, and one of them will eventually get the nod as the top backup.
2. Kicker: Earlier this week, the Buffs announced the signing of 29-year-old James Stefanou, who plans to arrive in the summer. For now, the Buffs need to see senior Chris Graham or sophomore Davis Price step up. Both struggled last year, and both are likely to be put in some pressure situations on Saturday.
3. Cornerback: Udoffia, redshirt freshman Ronnie Blackmon, sophomore Anthony Julmisse and JUCO transfer Dante Wigley are all battling. CU is looking to replace two NFL-bound corners, and while junior Isaiah Oliver has the makings of a star, it would be nice to see a couple of the others step up and play well Saturday.
4. Defensive line: CU lost all three starters up front, which is why Edwards will be intriguing. But, also keep an eye on veterans Timothy Coleman, Jake Franke, George Frazier and Leo Jackson III and sophomore Frank Umu. CU needs several players up front to step up.
5. Running back: With Evans and Lee out, the Buffs would love to see Adkins regain his old form, or Bisharat to prove he has made the necessary strides to be a reliable contributor.