Once again, the Colorado football team will run a vanilla scrimmage during its annual spring showcase on Saturday at Folsom Field.
That term — vanilla — has a negative connotation, especially for those who want to see a full preview of the Buffaloes' offensive and defensive schemes.
While the Buffs won't show much of their playbook (not many teams do at this point), being vanilla doesn't mean there's not much to see. The Buffs will be on the Folsom Field turf from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, with an hour of position drills and about 50 minutes of scrimmaging, and there is plenty to keep an eye on.
What to watch for during the spring showcase
1. How is the offensive line shaping up?
Throughout the spring, players and coaches have praised several individuals, including senior right tackle Josh Kaiser, junior left tackle Aaron Haigler, junior guards Dillon Middlemiss and Brett Tonz and freshman center Colby Pursell. We've heard hype around the OL before, however. While this group isn't complete because of injuries, it will still be intriguing to see how the line looks as a unit.
2. Will the quarterbacks be sharp?
Although the play calls might be basic, it'll still be important for the quarterbacks to have command of the offense, be on target with their throws and show some chemistry with receivers.
3. Does the defensive line look better?
CU wants its offensive line to look good, but it's also important to see some good work out of the defensive line, which struggled last season. The Buffs return two starters (Javier Edwards and Chris Mulumba) and one of the stars of the spring has been newcomer Mustafa Johnson. It appears to be an improved group going into Saturday.
4. Can the corners stick with CU's talented receivers?
We know all about the talent the Buffs have at receiver, but they have some question marks at cornerback. Dante Wigley and Trey Udoffia are back after starting most of last season, but there is almost no experience behind them. By all accounts junior college transfer Delrick Abrams and redshirt freshman Chris Miller have had a good spring. This will be an opportunity for all four to prove themselves.
5. Is there a running back that stands out?
Phillip Lindsay is gone, leaving the running back position wide open. This is an opportunity for seniors Kyle Evans and Donovan Lee to shine. It's also an opportunity for junior Beau Bisharat to show he's more than just a short-yardage power back, and for freshman Alex Fontenot to make some noise.
Players to watch
1. Quarterbacks: It always starts with the QB and all three — Steven Montez, Sam Noyer and Tyler Lytle — are under some pressure to look good. Montez has never had a great spring game, but entering his second year as the starter, it would be nice to see him change that this time. Noyer and/or Lytle need to show they can be capable backups.
2. WR Tony Brown: In a deep, talented group of receivers, the Texas Tech transfer is the one that CU fans have yet to see. He's got the talent to make an impact.
3. OLB Nu'umotu Falo: The junior is back after being dismissed from the team last summer. He's more focused than before and his ability to put pressure on the quarterback will be key for the Buffs.
4. RB Alex Fontenot: There's more upside to Fontenot than any other back on the roster right now, and he could be fun to watch if he gets a decent amount of opportunities in the spring game.
5. LT Aaron Haigler: He's playing left tackle for the first time in his career at CU and has to show he's capable of that important role.
6. DL Mustafa Johnson: The junior college transfer has turned heads throughout the spring and made his mark in closed practices.
7. TE Darrion Jones: At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, he has size and athleticism the Buffs haven't had at tight end in a while. He's worth paying attention to on Saturday to see how comfortable he's getting in the offense.
8. CB Chris Miller: The Buffs held an open practice last week and he looked like a legitimate candidate to earn a starting role.
9. OL Jake Moretti: Coming off a couple years of injuries, he hasn't been involved much in team drills this spring, but several teammates and coaches have said he looks good in individual drills. If he's participating Saturday, he will be one to watch during the position drills.
10. Buff back Davion Taylor: One of the most intriguing newcomers, Taylor, a junior college transfer, has exceptional speed and could make a huge impact this season. He takes over the spot Ryan Moeller manned for the past two years.