By now, it's clear that under head coach Mike MacIntyre, the Colorado football team has a rather high standard at cornerback.
Four corners in the last three years have gone from Boulder to the NFL. In striving to maintain that standard, the Buffs are aiming for consistency from day to day.
Redshirt freshman Chris Miller is still trying to get there.
"Chris has shown flashes of good and brilliant and flashes of bad," MacIntyre said Tuesday. "He's got 20 more days to get there."
One of the most intriguing position battles of fall camp is taking place at cornerback, where Miller is looking to make his mark among a group that includes returning starters Trey Udoffia and Dante Wigley and junior college transfer Delrick Abrams Jr.
Sophomore Ronnie Blackmon and recent junior college transfer Mehki Blackmon have also been impressive at times in camp.
"It's really competitive," Miller said. "We have fun with it, though, because we're a tight group. We just all want to see each other succeed. Whoever is out there, we know we're going to be good. That's our mindset as a group."
Miller's doing his best to be one of the corners out on the field on game days, and he agrees with his head coach that he's got to get better at showing up every day, every play.
"(Consistency) is one thing I'm working on," Miller said. "I feel like (the bad moments) are because I'm trying to think a little bit too much sometimes.
"It's really just being that really good corner all the time. Sometimes I'll have plays where I'm just playing like a young guy. I need to play like a vet, even though I haven't played (in a game) yet, all the time. That's what I'm trying to get to."
The 6-foot, 190-pound Miller, from Denton, Tex., was named CU's most improved defensive back in spring and believes he's improving during his second fall camp with the Buffs.
"It's going a lot smoother than the first one, because I know most of the playbook and it's really just reacting," he said. "Last year I was rushing and going through the motions pretty much trying to learn as a freshman. Second year, it's been a lot better."
During high school, Miller showed exceptional skills, but said he didn't get the cornerback coaching he needed. That's certainly changed at CU, where MacIntyre is a long-time defensive backs coach, and corners coach Ashley Ambrose played the position for years in the NFL.
"Coach Mac helped me a lot in the fall with technique and getting the playbook right and learning leverages," Miller said. "Coach Ambrose ... he has that pro experience and he's teaching me things that worked for him."
Miller has the size and length that CU loves in its corners, and MacIntyre also praised his strength and leaping ability (42-inch vertical ability).
"He just has to keep learning how to play the game," MacIntyre said.
For the first time in camp, the Buffs practiced in full pads on Tuesday.
"They got after it," MacIntyre said. "Both sides made plays, which is what you want to see. It's exciting to watch that."
Now that the full pads are on, MacIntyre said, "We'll start seeing who can be physical."
Redshirt freshman linebacker Chase Newman showed his physicality. Miller said Newman stood out on Tuesday, and linebackers coach Ross Elsa agreed.
"Newman is a physical player," Els said. "He really played well on the goal line today."
The Buffs went through "a lot of different situations" on Tuesday and had a half practice, half scrimmage, MacIntyre said. The team also worked a lot on kickoff and kickoff return teams. ... MacIntyre said Udoffia, who started seven games last year at corner has "done OK this camp. He's gotten a little bit better. He needs to keep improving and keep going." ... Redshirt freshman receiver Jaylon Jackson, who has missed all but one game in the past three years because of injuries, continues to have a good camp. Most importantly, MacIntyre said, Jackson isn't shying away from getting hit. "That's the key," he said. "He hasn't shied away a bit. It's really nice to see Jaylon make plays."