There are times when Colorado linemen Tim Lynott and Aaron Haigler jog to the line of scrimmage and don't even need to say anything.
"Between us, we can see it, we know what each other is thinking and OK, let's block it that way," Haigler said. "Of course in the games, we'll say it, but it's kind of understood that we both know what's going on."
The bond between Lynott and Haigler, both redshirt sophomores, has been a key to the overall development of the offensive line, as the Buffaloes prepare to open the season Friday against rival Colorado State at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.
Lynott started every game for the Buffs at right guard last year, while Haigler split starts with graduated senior Sam Kronshage at right tackle. This offseason, they've been next to each other more frequently.
"We've been practicing together all camp," Lynott said. "It's been really nice to get used to each other."
With three seniors on the starting line — left tackle Jeromy Irwin, left guard Gerrad Kough and center Jonathan Huckins — Lynott and Haigler are being counted on to man the right side.
"Last year was more stressful because he and I were redshirt freshmen, so you don't have many games under your belt," Lynott said. "It's a little less stressful than it was last year, but I feel like we still need to hold up our end and we have to be one of the biggest parts of the offense, especially on the right side."
While Haigler and Lynott are increasing their confidence as they gain experience, Haigler said having the three seniors with them in the starting group "is the best thing for us."
"They push us every day," Haigler said. "One thing that is a huge difference between a couple of sophomores and three seniors is the mentality and knowing what it takes to go through a whole season and how to play. Even though we have experience, they've been through a lot more of it than we have."
After this year, Haigler and Lynott will become the experienced veterans, and it's a responsibility they don't lightly as they look ahead.
"We're not there yet, but at one point (the seniors) were like us and there's a lot of young guys on this offensive line that are going to be really good and we're really excited for that," Haigler said. "The main thing for us is building this reputation right now of the mentality, being good players and that kind of stuff."
Building their bond last year and this year will go a long way toward Lynott and Haigler following in the footsteps of their senior teammates.
"We have to be leaders to those younger guys, especially when we have to have younger guys take on a bigger role," Lynott said. "It's going to be one of those things, we're going to have to be main people next year, and we take a big role in that."