About seven months ago, Colorado's Aaron Haigler spoke of being one of the youngsters on the Buffaloes' offensive line and looking up to the senior leaders.

"That's kind of how Tim (Lynott) and I will be eventually," Haigler said in August.

Suddenly, Haigler is in that position now.

On an offensive line that needs leadership and lacks experience, Haigler brings both to the Buffs, and the redshirt junior is enjoying a good spring.

"I think it's gone well," Haigler said Monday, after the Buffs' completed their 13th of 15 spring practices. "Obviously everyday there's something to improve on and that's what we're working on in spring is just improving day in and day out. I think that's gone well."

CU lost three starters to graduation — left tackle Jeromy Irwin, left guard Gerrad Kough and center Jonathan Huckins. This spring, they are also without Lynott, who is a two-year starter but recovering from an Achilles injury. Isaac Miller, who made six starts last year, is also out with a knee injury.

All told, that's 122 career starts that are no longer on the field, leaving Haigler as the most experienced lineman on the team this spring. With 16 starts and over 1,300 snaps played over the past seasons, Haigler is teaming with Josh Kaiser — the lone senior on the line — to lead a young, but talented, group of linemen.


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"You have to develop leadership, but I really feel like some guys really want to do it and those two guys definitely want to do it," co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Klayton Adams said.

Developing that leadership has made Haigler and Kaiser better players, Adams said.

"Any time you have the opportunity as a player to coach other players, it helps you learn better what is expected of you," Adams said.

What's expected of Haigler this year is to not only take his game to another level, but to bring others along with him. Haigler has taken it upon himself to guide players such as Jake Moretti, William Sherman, and many others that don't have the game experience he has gathered.

"That's one of the great things about spring," Haigler said. "You get a lot of opportunities to work in with different guys. It's a challenge for myself to try to make each player around me better when I play. I like playing with Will or Jake or Chance (Lytle) or any young guys that need help; trying to get them comfortable in things."

Through it all, Haigler has focused on his own game, as well.

During the second half of the 2016 season, while he was a redshirt freshman, Haigler became a regular starter at right tackle and played well that season.

Prior to last year, Haigler added 20 pounds to his 6-foot-7 frame, playing at 290 pounds. He didn't adjust well to that weight, however, and struggled at tackle more than he had in 2016. When injuries hit Huckins and Lynott, Haigler wound up moving inside to right guard. He played better after moving inside.

"When you put on 70 pounds in two years, it's going to take a toll on you no matter what," said Haigler, who was a 220-pound tight end in high school before moving to tackle as a senior. "That's the just fact of it. That's playing O-line. When you come in as a tight end and get switched over, you have to answer the call of duty. It took a little while, but I think it's come a long way."

This spring, Haigler, now listed at 295, is more comfortable with his body and has actually spent most of the spring at left tackle.

"It's been really nice for me in my development to go back to (tackle)," he said. "Having played guard and played tackle gives you good experience in both and what's going to happen and how to play things."

Adams has been pleased with Haigler's play throughout the spring at left tackle.

"I think he would probably tell you he feels a little bit more comfortable there," Adams said. "I've tried to keep him there and not move him around as much and try to get him to where he can feel comfortable."

Haigler did play right tackle during Saturday's spring game, however, allowing Moretti to play on the left.

While he's more comfortable on the left, Haigler is now better prepared to play a variety of spots, and as a leader, he's prepared for anything.

"Wherever they need me, that's where I'll go," he said. "It doesn't matter to me."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33