Following the last of 15 spring practices on Friday morning, Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre listed several players he felt made a big jump over the past month.

MacIntyre listed five offensive linemen — Dillon Middlemiss, Jake Moretti, Colby Pursell, William Sherman and Brett Tonz — along with running back Alex Fontenot, defensive linemen Javier Edwards and Terrance Lang, linebacker Akil Jones, cornerback Chris Miller and safety Kyle Trego.

"I'm probably going to forget somebody," he said.

Even if he forgot a name or two, MacIntyre made his point that spring practices went well for the Buffaloes. Coming off of a disappointing 5-7 season (2-7 Pac-12), CU wrapped up spring feeling it's in good shape going forward.

"I thought they made significant jumps and moves," MacIntyre said of the players he singled out. "But, there wasn't anybody I thought went backwards at all."

Over the next four months, the Buffs will focus on keeping that momentum going.

The next time the team will be on the field together is Aug. 2, the first day of fall camp. Between now and then, there will be offseason workouts, meetings with coaches, and player-led practices.

CU coaches spent part of Friday teaching the players how to conduct their player-led practices this summer. Those sessions have been vital in the past, and will be again.


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"They're only as important as how they're run by those guys," MacIntyre said. "You can go out there and practice bad habits and it becomes permanent, so it's a negative. It's all in how they handle it. They can make good strides or they can make backwards strides. I believe that these guys will make excellent strides in it."

MacIntyre's confidence in the summer program is based in large part on the work he saw during the spring.

Colorado defensive end Terrance Lang was one of the players coach Mike MacIntyre said made a big jump this spring.
Colorado defensive end Terrance Lang was one of the players coach Mike MacIntyre said made a big jump this spring. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

Coming off the disappointing season, he saw players taking more ownership of the team and holding each other accountable. He also saw players putting the team ahead of individual interests.

"I've actually come into the office and seen older guys with younger guys, one-on-one, watching video and telling him how to do it instead of worrying about the guy beating him out," MacIntyre said. "I haven't seen that in a long time. We can't make them do that. They have to do that on their own."

MacIntyre and several players talked this spring about the Buffs being tighter as a team, while feeling more hunger as a group to get back on the winning track.

"I do (see that) and coach Mac has been really pushing them," co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said. "We're going after them. (The practices) are long and tough, but that's what we have to do to develop a hard-nosed football team. I've seen it on both sides of the ball and all three phases that we've gotten better.

"In these next four months, they have to keep getting bigger, stronger and faster and then keep understanding what we need from them as coaches. I'm excited where they're at right now and we'll take the next step when we get to fall camp."

Solid finish

The Buffs had a scrimmage with officials on Friday. MacIntyre said the Buffs covered several different situations, and Chiaverini said both sides of the ball had great moments.

"It's exciting when it goes back and forth," he said. "That's what you want to see in spring scrimmages. There's been a lot of good progression throughout this spring."

Offensively, Chiaverini said the Buffs got some good tempo going in the two-minute drill and hit some big third-down plays to keep the chains moving.

Chiaverini added, "Alex Fontenot made a couple miss and I like that. And, I like the way (quarterback Steven Montez) took care of the football."

Lynott progressing

Offensive lineman Tim Lynott, less than five months removed from a torn Achilles, is ahead of schedule on his recovery and the Buffs expect him to be completely ready for fall camp.

"He's doing great," MacIntyre said. "He should be ready to go completely full speed when we hit June and then be ready to go in August."

A junior, Lynott had started 24 consecutive games (20 at right guard, four at center) before tearing his Achilles on Nov. 4 at Arizona State.

Notable

True freshman defensive lineman Jalen Sami missed the final couple of practices with a knee injury. MacIntyre said the medical staff will re-evaluate, but "we think it's just an MCL." ... Senior safety Evan Worthington, who missed more than half of spring with concussion, returned to practice Friday. ... Regarding Lang, MacIntyre said he "made jumps on some days and not as big of a jump on other days, but he flashed." The 6-foot-7, 275-pound Lang has shown potential to be a dominant force up front.

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