Throughout the offseason, Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre has repeatedly touted the Buffaloes' offense, expressing belief that it can one of the best in the Pac-12.
Going against that offense every day in practice should also help CU's defense, which is replacing eight starters and features plenty of inexperience. That's the hope, anyway.
"Our offense is supposed to be one of the best offenses in the country with all the guys we have returning," inside linebacker Rick Gamboa said. "So as a defense, you love that challenge every single day and it helps us get better as a defense. It gets fun."
The competition could especially help CU's secondary, which lost three players to the NFL Draft this spring.
A year ago it was those NFL-caliber defensive backs challenging CU's receivers every day. Now, the Buffs' receivers are viewed as some of the best in the country and they're challenging the young defensive backs.
"There's great competition out there between our DBs and our receivers," MacIntyre said. "That's why it makes our DBs better, and it's why it makes our receivers better. There's good athletes going against good athletes. That makes a big difference."
Up front, the Buffs are replacing all three starters on the defensive line, as well as last year's sack leader, Jimmie Gilbert. Going against CU's veteran offensive line is paying off.
"Our tackles are dropping better, they're setting better and they understand it," MacIntyre said. "They've kept improving and I've seen a difference in that. That will start making our guys (on defense) all better."
The daily competition with the offense fuels the defense, and Gamboa believes that will show up on game days.
"We have that mentality of if they're supposed to be one of the best offenses in the country, we're practicing against them each and every day and we have to get better," he said. "The more we get better (in practice), the better we're going to be on Saturday once the season starts."
After practicing in shoulder pads for the first time on Monday, the Buffs had an even better practice Tuesday, MacIntyre said.
"I wanted to see how we would rebound after our first pad day yesterday, because they are a little bit sore today," he said. "We practiced better today than we did yesterday, which I thought was very encouraging."
Players policing players was a big part of CU's resurgence last year. MacIntyre said that hasn't changed this year.
"I see them being vocal leaders, which is important," he said. "I've seen that multiple times on the practice field here. Of course I see it around in other situations. I've seen it more this year than I did last year at this time.
"It's been a good response by the younger guys on that."
Coleman making progress
Senior left tackle Jeromy Irwin said senior defensive end Timothy Coleman "has been really impressive" in practice. The Buffs are hoping Coleman can be a pass rush specialist and he's showing the ability to do that.
"He worked a couple moves on me today that he hasn't worked on in the past," Irwin said. "Whenever I go against guys in the Pac-12 that are top of the line, like 10-15 sacks a year, those are the moves they're doing. He's really gotten better with his technique and he's going to be doing real well this year."
Irwin said junior Josh Kaiser and sophomore Dillon Middlemiss have "improved so much." Irwin said he's also been impressed with true freshmen linemen Heston Paige, Grant Polley and William Sherman. ... Tuesday was CU's fourth practice of camp. The Buffs are scheduled to take Wednesday off, and then be in full pads for the first time on Thursday.