Whether it's the speed of Shay Fields or the strength of Bryce Bobo, Colorado cornerback Trey Udoffia gets tested every day in practice.

While CU's talented receivers have gotten the best of him at times - as they will against cornerbacks throughout the season - Udoffia has been one of the standouts in the Buffaloes' preseason camp thus far.

"Trey Udoffia looks real good," said quarterback Steven Montez, who tries to beat the young corner every day in practice.

Trying to find a No. 2 corner to complement star junior Isaiah Oliver is one of the top priorities for the Buffs, and Udoffia is doing his best to win that job.

"Like everyone, I'm trying to improve every day," the redshirt freshman said. "I've gotten a lot better with the playbook and getting the plays down, which is helping. Sometimes I'll be taking a step back every couple of days and I can't be doing that. My focus is to get those minuses out of the way."

He appears to be doing that. In the spring, he was named the Buffs' most improved defensive back. He's become even better in this camp.

"To me, he's gotten a little bit faster, a little bit stronger, and he's playing the ball better," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "Each day he's out there, he's starting to play the ball and feel more comfortable, running with the speed of our receivers. When you have speed and quickness attack a DB, it makes you kind of panic. He's starting to really calm down. That's why it's always good to go against our really good receivers."


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Colorado's receivers, including Fields, Bobo, Devin Ross and Juwann Winfree, are among the best in the country, but Udoffia is gaining more confidence as he faces them.

"I'd rather be getting work by them than going up against guys that aren't going to be getting me better and me just making plays all the time," he said. "(Since the spring) I feel like my coverage has been a lot together, my footwork has gotten a lot better. Looking back on film, I can just see how much worse I was and how I am now."

Oliver has shown the ability to become one of the best corners in the Pac-12, which could put a lot of pressure on whomever lines up on the other side. Whether that's Udoffia, junior college transfer Dante Wigley or someone else, Udoffia expects quarterbacks will test the unproven corner.

"Oh yeah, a whole lot," he said. "That's why I know I have to be a lot more focused, 100 percent; can't take any plays off, because I know I'm going to be the guy they're targeting. I'm going to be ready."

Practice habits

In 14 practices of preseason camp, the Buffs have had their less-than-stellar moments. Those moments are less frequent than they were a few years ago, however.

"There's always days that are better than others, but I haven't seen a day where they just tanked it," MacIntyre said Monday. "I haven't seen that in a couple of years. Hopefully that doesn't happen."

A year ago, the Buffs were loaded with experienced seniors who practiced hard nearly every day and that resulted in a 10-4 record and Pac-12 South title.

"Last year's team practiced really well all the time," MacIntyre said. "This team has gotten close to it. Not quite there yet, because you don't have as many seniors in some spots, but I'm starting to see other younger guys step up in different things and seeing it in bits and pieces."

Players such as Oliver and junior linebacker Rick Gamboa have been much more vocal on the field, pushing their teammates to be better.

"I'm starting to see those guys, which is good. That's what you want," MacIntyre said. "There's other guys that are on the verge. I see them doing it a little bit. That has to come from within; that's not anything I can make happen."

Notable

MacIntyre said senior outside linebacker Derek McCartney, who is coming off a torn ACL that ended his 2016 season early, has taken a few days off when he's sore, but has practiced well this camp. ... Monday was the Buffs' first practice of camp without any school obligations. Because of that, the Buffs are practicing a bit later in the morning so the players have a chance to sleep in more...Running back Kyle Evans practiced for the first time Monday since dislocating his hip on March 4.

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