A play from the most recent NFC Championship game is paused and projected onto the white board, while Matt McChesney breaks down the formation with a dry erase marker.

McChesney rattles off the terminology and then turns to Phillip Lindsay, whose eyes haven't left the board.

"What are your reads on this play?" McChesney asks.

For an hour, McChesney and Lindsay — two of the most passionate players in Colorado Buffaloes history — studied a handful of plays from that game, breaking down every aspect of each one.

"I get a lot out of it," Lindsay said. "It's good to get on the board and hear the terminology that's going to be said in the NFL. I've been picking a lot of people's brains, from players to coaches. Anything that can put an extra step on my game, I'm going to do."

For Lindsay, this is preparation for his next step. One of the greatest running backs in CU history, Lindsay is training — physically and mentally — for the NFL draft, which is now less than a month away, April 26-28.

"Everything is going pretty good," Lindsay said. "I'm working out at Landow Performance (in Denver) and I'm coming here to do my board work with coach McChesney and do pass blocking skills with him, as well."

For McChesney, this is a labor of love. Since his playing days ended nearly eight years ago, McChesney, who starred at Niwot High School and CU before playing in the NFL, has trained numerous players in preparation for college and the NFL.

Working with Lindsay is an opportunity McChesney relishes.


"He matches me on passion," McChesney said. "I truly believe that Phil Lindsay loves the University of Colorado like I do. It's part of his fabric and a part of his soul. He bleeds black and gold truly. We feed off of each other because we both love ball.

"He's a hard-working kid that keeps his nose clean and respects the opportunity he has in front of him. I personally think he's going to be an unbelievably good pro and you saw today how smart the kid is. That stuff is not easy. He does a great job picking it up and he studies and cares and that's what I like."

On this day, McChesney spends the hour quizzing Lindsay the way he expects NFL teams to quiz him when they go through interviews in the coming weeks.

As Lindsay continues giving correct answers, McChesney yells, "Yes, Phil! You're killing it today!"

McChesney can't stress enough the importance of film work for Lindsay, or any draft hopeful. Former Arizona State guard Sam Jones, a McChesney protégé who went to ThunderRidge High School, is also prepping for the draft. He called McChesney after a "workout" with the Arizona Cardinals this week.

"All they did was talk football and board work and film and scheme," McChesney said. "He didn't put cleats on. They know he can play; now they want to see if he's smart."

Those tests are coming for Lindsay, too, and McChesney wants him to be ready.

"I want my guys playing chess, not checkers," he said. "I think (film and board work) is by far, hands down, the most under-utilized aspect of the entire evaluation process. I don't think guys do it enough."

At 5-foot-7, 185 pounds, Lindsay can't take a chance on not being prepared. He had a sensational career at CU and last season was 11th in the country in rushing — fifth among draft-eligible running backs — but he's fighting against the perception that he's too small for the NFL.

Of course Darren Sproles, Dexter McCluster, Jacquizz Rodgers and other small backs didn't fit the mold either, and they have made a living in the NFL. Lindsay sees himself following their path.

"The other day I was watching Dexter McCluster's film and I feel like me and him are real similar and he makes big plays," Lindsay said. "He was (5-8, 180), but he's made plays on punt return, kick return, slot and that's what I plan on doing is coming there and making big plays."

Although he was a workhorse running back at CU, Lindsay said every team he's talked to wants to see him play as a slot receiver, and he embraces the opportunity to be an all-purpose player. The Houston Texas, Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans have shown the most interest in Lindsay, but there are other teams eyeing him, as well.

"I just want to be able to get in where I fit in and I just want to win football games and make an impact," he said. "If I can do my part and help my team win, that's all that matters."

Going in mentally prepared will help him to do just that, and McChesney has no doubt Lindsay will impress NFL teams with his knowledge.

"The thing I love about Phil Lindsay is ego will never, ever, ever get in the way of progression," McChesney said. "I don't think he'll ever be in a position where the moment is too big or he gets cut or something bad happens because he's not prepared. That's never going to happen to Phil."

Whether it's as a draft choice or an undrafted free agent, Lindsay is sure to get a shot from somebody, and opportunity will knock in about four weeks.

"I'm just ready to see where I'm going to end up," he said. "I want to see where I'm going to be playing ball again."

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