When Colorado went through spring football practices a year ago, Tyler Lytle was fresh out of high school, with his head spinning a bit as he adjusted to the college game.
When the Buffaloes opened spring practices on Friday, the redshirt freshman quarterback had a more enjoyable experience.
"It's awesome. I had a great time today," he said. "I was having fun. I'm a lot more confident in my abilities and knowing what I'm supposed to do. I know where I want to be with the ball when I get (a particular look on defense). It's fun."
While incumbent starter Steven Montez, now a junior, is once again atop the depth chart, the Buffs are looking for Lytle and fellow backup Sam Noyer, a sophomore, to push Montez and be just as ready to play.
"They're one play away from being in the game," MacIntyre said this week.
Lytle is doing all he can to be ready when his number is called.
Last year, Lytle, a former star at Servite (Calif.) High School, was the most highly-recruited quarterback to sign with CU since Fairview's Craig Ochs in 2000.
A year into his career at CU, he's pleased with his progress.
"I feel great," he said. "I'm stronger and I've gotten faster, especially with coach Drew (Wilson). I'm really working on my speed."
The 6-foot-5 Lytle played last season at around 200 pounds, but he's up to 210 and said he wants to be at 215 by April.
"We'll go from there and see how I'm moving with 215," he said. "(The offseason has been) good. I've been putting on weight and I'm going to continue to do so. I've made strides in the weight room, been in the film room and learning a lot from (quarterbacks coach Kurt) Roper."
Lytle said he enjoyed working with former quarterbacks coach/co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, now at Oregon State, but is also eager to learn from Roper, who was hired in January.
"I'm really excited going forward," he said. "I'm trying to soak up as much as possible from him. It's been awesome."
Lytle is also trying to apply the lessons he learned throughout his redshirt season.
Like just about all true freshmen, Lytle had hoped to earn playing time last season, but ultimately got a great deal of value out of spending the season watching from the sidelines.
"I went through the same thing my sophomore year in high school," he said. "Scout team was the best thing for me. Going against the (starting defense) every day, sometimes you get the crap beat out of you, but that's just part of it and it makes you better. I got a fast look against the No. 1 defense every day. That just made me a better player."
That improvement has been evident to Lytle as the Buffs have started spring practices. His head is no longer spinning and he's feels - and looks - more like a college quarterback.
"Last spring was huge," he said. "I came in (this week) and I know the offense already. I'm comfortable, I'm moving, I'm telling guys where to go. Really, I feel like I'm able to play the quarterback position and take command of the offense, whereas I wasn't really able to do that last spring because I was still learning the offense myself.
"I'm having a great time."