When he got over the initial devastation of tearing his Achilles' tendon, Colorado's Tim Lynott focused on the positives.
Every little victory in rehabilitation gave him the extra jolt he needed to get through.
"Once I could actually start doing stuff and actually doing rehab and feeling like I could come back, it gives you a little bit of that feeling like, 'Oh yeah, I can do this,'" he said.
Motivated by his progress, Lynott has had a great offseason and is set to join the Buffaloes' offensive line on the field when fall camp begins Aug. 1.
Lynott, who had started 24 consecutive games (20 at right guard, four at center), tore his right Achilles' tendon during the Buffs' 41-30 loss at Arizona State on Nov. 4.
"When I heard it was a long recovery — nine months to be fully feeling like yourself again — it was pretty devastating," he said. "If you work hard at it, it comes back a lot quicker than you think and it's feeling pretty much normal since the fifth month post-op."
A 6-foot-3, 295-pound junior, Lynott has been running since May and he said he's "full go" with weight lifting. He's also been doing individual drills during the Buffs' player-run practices this summer.
"Every day it's just getting better and better in terms of what they want me to do," he said.
Luckily for Lynott, his tendon tore just below the calf area, as opposed to a lower tear near the ankle.
"That was probably one of the best cases for it," he said. "That's where the best blood flow comes; if it's really low, it's hard to get those back because it's right on the bone and not much blood flow goes through it for it to recover.
"It healed up pretty quick and then the strength was the hardest part to get back."
With six more weeks to prepare for fall, Lynott and the Buffs are confident he'll be ready to go.
"He has that, 'I need to get back' look on his face all the time when he's in here," strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson said. "He's been working hard."
Knowing he is the most experienced linemen on the team has been part of his drive. While the Buffs have young, talented linemen loaded with potential, there's nothing like the experience that Lynott brings.
"The whole entire time, it was the mindset of I need to get back as quick as possible," he said.
Sitting out during spring drills was tough on Lynott, but he did his best to use his experience to help his teammates.
"When you have game experience, you can pick up some of that stuff that they've never seen before," he said.
While the line is young - senior Josh Kaiser, Lynott and fellow junior Aaron Haigler are the only players with significant experience - it's a group that Lynott believes can succeed.
"It's exciting every year to see what type of line we have," he said. "I'm excited to see what these guys can do. When I was able to watch practices, I was watching the line and they were doing a great job, especially as young players, which is really encouraging to see."
Where Lynott fits remains to be seen, although it's likely he'll land in a familiar spot at right guard. While he's played center, the Buffs believe redshirt freshman Colby Pursell can be a four-year starter there; and Lynott has never played on the left side.
"It would help, for sure, being on the right, with (the left) foot being the strongest right now," he said. "Definitely right is more comfortable for me, in terms of how to play there."
Lynott said it was difficult jumping between center and guard last year. While he feels better prepared to handle that type of change this year, he hopes he doesn't have to do that.
"You have to make sure you're ready, but it's going to be nice having Colby there, knowing that he can play center and possibly having that chance of being a four-year starter," Lynott said.
Regardless of where he plays, Lynott said he hopes he can help provide some consistency to a line that desperately needs it.
"That was definitely one of the issues last year," he said. "When you can't pass block or run block to where you can be effective, it's a big issue. The trenches is the biggest part of the game. That's what gets the game going.
"I feel like if we have that this year, we're going to be obviously in a bowl game. If you're good in the trenches, you're going to go far."