Earning playing time on Colorado's offensive line won't be easy, but Josh Kaiser is doing all he can to get noticed.
A junior who has been a reserve during his career, Kaiser is enjoying his best offseason since coming to Boulder. During CU's recently completed spring drills, Kaiser was given the team's Joe Romig Award, which goes to the most improved offensive lineman on the team.
"It's a huge honor," Kaiser said. "It's been a great spring, and a great opportunity."
Entering his fourth season at CU, Kaiser has steadily progressed. He added weight and muscle early in his career and is now developing his technique.
"I've really worked on my flexibility, worked on my strength, watching more film to see what I can do to improve and just working in the weight room," said the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Kaiser, who has been on the Buffs' field goal/extra point unit for the past two years, while also getting minimal playing time at guard.
While still on the depth chart at left guard, Kaiser took advantage of injuries to others this spring to work at left tackle.
Senior Gerrad Kough, the returning starter at left guard, missed the spring with an ankle injury, which prompted the Buffs to move Jeromy Irwin — the returning starter at left tackle — to guard.
Kaiser was one of several players to get valuable reps at left tackle during the spring. In fact, he concluded spring drills working with the first-team offense at that position.
While Irwin, a sixth-year senior with 26 starts in his career, may return to left tackle for the fall, he saw the value of playing guard over the spring.
"If I'm in at guard, I can help whoever is up at left tackle, because I've been there and played that," he said earlier this month.
Kaiser was one player who benefitted from Irwin's experience.
"Definitely. He's a really experienced player and he's helped me a lot with my technique, my hand placement, everything along those lines," Kaiser said. "He's helped me every step of the way."
Irwin isn't the only one. With eyes on playing a bigger role this season, Kaiser said he's tried to follow the example of all the returning starters, even right guard Tim Lynott, who is younger than Kaiser.
In addition to Irwin, Kough and Lynott, right tackle Aaron Haigler also returns after starting most of last season.
Although four starters are back, there will be competition for every position on the line, and Kaiser hopes his strong spring turns into a chance to play more this year.
"I feel like I definitely have (been put in position to compete)," he said. "I'm coming to work every day trying to leave no doubt and just fighting for that spot."
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.