In looking back at what was accomplished during spring drills, Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre was especially pleased with how the Buffaloes' offensive line came together.
"I thought both sides of the lines made a lot of progress from the beginning to the end," MacIntyre said. "If we come back healthy on our offensive line ... I think we'll have the best eight guys on the offensive line that we've had. We kind of move up the food chain, I believe, on the offensive line in the Pac-12."
The Buffs played the entire spring without left guard Gerrad Kough, while sophomore tackle Isaac Miller was limited because of injuries. If both are healthy, it will create some interesting competition in the fall.
Sixth-year senior Jeromy Irwin has started at left tackle in each of the last 26 games he's played, while Kough, also a senior, has been a mainstay at left guard.
With Kough sitting out the spring, however, Irwin played at left guard and it's unclear where Irwin would line up in the fall. A healthy Miller, who will be a redshirt sophomore, could take over at left tackle.
"It just depends on how Isaac Miller keeps coming on," MacIntyre said. "I think he has a chance to be special."
MacIntyre said Irwin would play some at left tackle, but added, "I would like to see Jeromy play some guard, too, as the year goes along."
Junior Josh Kaiser makes that group even more interesting. Named CU's most improved lineman in the spring, he played quite a bit with the first team at left tackle.
Given the talent and progression of Irwin, Kaiser, Kough and Miller, there's a decent chance all of them will be on the field this season.
"It gives you more flexibility so you might be able to do some things to get more guys on the field," MacIntyre said. "You might even be able to rotate a couple guys, which you don't (normally) do on the offensive line much. If we can do that this year, we can keep them fresh and fast. As many plays as we play, that'll give us an advantage."
A solid and experience offensive line will go a long way towards helping the Buffs take another step offensively.
A year ago, MacIntyre expressed belief that the defense would be one of the best in the Pac-12 — and they were. He now has that same belief in the offense.
"I think our offense should be one of the top echelon offenses in the Pac-12 this year, and I think we will," he said. "I think we should be one of the top three offenses in our league."
To be one of the best offenses in the Pac-12, the Buffs will look to senior running back Phillip Lindsay quite a bit. Lindsay has been one of the most versatile running backs in the country over the past two years, with 1,905 rushing yards and 79 catches for 704 yards.
Among returning players, Lindsay ranks fourth in the country in receptions by a running back over the past two seasons. Southern Mississippi's Ito Smith is first, with 92, followed by Florida International's Alex Gardner (90) and Washington State's Jamal Morrow (81).
Of the four, only Smith has more rushing yards than Lindsay in that time, with 2,587.