Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre watches the first day of practice on Saturday.
Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre watches the first day of practice on Saturday. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Colorado has struggled on special teams in the past few years, but early in preseason camp, the Buffs are working to fix that.

"We did more special teams in our first three days than we did in the last couple of years," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I've reorganized it to put more of an emphasis. It's looked really good the first few days."

New assistant coach Ross Els, who works with inside linebackers, is also coordinating special teams.

"I've done special teams almost my whole life, so I love being involved in that stuff," Els said. "It needs to be (top notch) at this level, no matter how you do it. I didn't watch what they did in the past; I just know that that needs to be a big part of what we do."

So far, so good, as MacIntyre said the kickers — senior Chris Graham, sophomore Davis Price and true freshman James Stefanou — have displayed exceptional power in their legs.

MacIntyre said the kickers look better than at any point since 2014, when punter Darragh O'Neill and kicker Will Oliver were seniors.

Els said it's too early to really know how good the kickers can be, however.

"I need to see them with pads on with a live rush to say who is going to be able to do it," he said.

Options for Ento

Senior Kabion Ento has been one of the most impressive receivers on the team this offseason. Yet, with the top four receivers from last year all back, and talented junior Juwann Winfree returning from a torn ACL, Ento's opportunities could be limited.


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While Ento has certainly proven he has the ability to excel at this level, he's also got a redshirt year to use. The Buffs could decide to redshirt the 6-foot-3 Ento and have as one of the top receivers next year.

"I expect him to play," MacIntyre said. "He plays in so many spots for us, but we'll see how that comes out after camp's over, how healthy we are after the first few games. He's the only one that really has the opportunity to redshirt, except the young freshmen. We'll think about that."

Notable

MacIntyre said junior punter Alex Kinney, coming into his third year as the starter "has really had the best three days I've ever seen him have since he's been here." ... Monday's practice, the third of camp, was CU's first in shoulder pads. The Buffs aren't hitting at full speed, but did "thud" tackling. ... The Buffs will hold their fourth practice on Tuesday morning and then have a day off Wednesday. Thursday is the first practice in full pads.

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