Like those in the Folsom Field stands, Phillip Lindsay spent the majority of Colorado's spring game last month as a spectator.

Lindsay didn't run the ball that day and didn't need to.

One of the stars of CU's run to the Pac-12 South title last season, Lindsay came out of the spring healthy — which was a top priority — but also encouraged by what he has seen from his teammates this offseason.

"We definitely accomplished a lot," said the senior, who is the third player in program history to be named a captain for the third time.

Lindsay was pleased with how CU's offensive line — even with a couple players out with injuries or playing different positions — made strides, and how so many newcomers got a chance to step up on defense.

Lindsay was also impressed by the performance of sophomore quarterback Steven Montez, the presumed starter after Sefo Liufau, who started the past four years, graduated.

"He's going to be a great leader," Lindsay said, adding that while it's obvious Montez learned a lot from Liufau, "Montez is still a different player."

While he enjoyed watching the progress of his teammates, Lindsay has also been working hard to improve himself.

As a junior last season, Lindsay was one of the most versatile running backs in the nation.

Including the Valero Alamo Bowl, which CU does not include in its season totals, Lindsay rushed for 1,252 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 53 passes for 493 yards.


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I'Tavius Mathers of Middle Tennessee State was the only running back in the country with more receptions (66 for 633). Mathers and Lindsay were the only players in the country to have over 1,000 rushing yards and 50 catches.

In an effort to get even better, Lindsay said he is "just being patient, getting my knees up so I can continue to break tackles. I want to continue to increase my speed."

The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Lindsay said he would like to add a few more pounds of muscle this offseason, and feels confident in his preparation.

"Just go out there and play my game and be in control of my body and let my body take over," he said of his goal.

During the spring, CU lost two running backs to serious injuries, as Kyle Evans — Lindsay's top backup last year — dislocated his hip and Donovan Lee fractured his fibula. Those injuries are a big reason why Lindsay saw just a couple of plays in the spring game and didn't touch the ball. His health is vital to CU's success.

"That's one thing that I always talk to my father about," he said of staying healthy. "It's the little things, like stretching every night. Stretching and putting the right foods in your body and relaxing and mentally relaxing.

"I'm happy I was able to get out of spring healthy, but now I have to take it to another level, get stronger and go from there."

That's a goal not only for Lindsay, but for the rest of the Buffs, and with the Sept. 1 season opener against Colorado State less than five months away, he's confident they are on the right track.

"It's exciting to go out there and see what we got done in spring," Lindsay said. "Now we have to buckle down and have a hard workout in the summer time and that's where you'll see a lot of growth, you'll see a lot of maturity and bodies changes.

"That's where you'll see what we're about."

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.