With the tragic death of a Maryland football player this summer following a workout, and the university accepting responsibility for its mistakes in handling the situation, player safety is surely on the minds of teams around the country as they go through August camp.
Jordan McNair, a 19-year-old offensive lineman, died June 13 from heatstroke suffered during a team workout on May 29. On Tuesday, Maryland president Wallace D. Loh said the school "accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes" by its training staff.
According to reports, Maryland staff did not take proper steps in dealing with McNair, who suffered a seizure and had a temperature of 106 degrees when he was finally taken to the hospital.
Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre has often said he likes his team practicing in hot weather, because it tests the players, but said Wednesday that CU staff has always been very careful with its players.
"We review everything," he said. "We have multiple water breaks. We have trainers all over the place with water all the time. The kids, we've told them if they're overheating, they can step out. We're watching that all the time. We're very cognizant of that.
"You're always concerned about that. When we do any workouts or do anything, we always have our trainers there, our strength coaches. We collaborate all the time talking about different things. That's something we're really on top of."
MacIntyre said he has always - as a player and coach - been on teams that took player safety seriously when practicing in the heat.
"I've never had it where I thought it was over the top or anything like that," he said. "That's something you have to be aware of all the time and understand completely."
Praying for Bobo
Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo is out indefinitely as he undergoes testing for numbness in his foot. Bobo had knee replacement surgery in the spring and has recently been concerned about the numbness he has been experiencing.
CSU announced Monday that Bobo will not coach as he figures out the problem.
MacIntyre opened his media session Wednesday by talking about Bobo, whose team will meet the Buffs on Aug. 31 at Broncos Field at Mile High.
"We've texted back and forth real early in the mornings, just checking on him," MacIntyre said. "He's a great man, a great coach. We have a lot in common. He's a coaches' son, like me, and I just think the world of him. I hope everything recovers well and they figure out exactly what's going on with him. My prayers go out to him, there's no doubt, and I have been praying for him."
Senior linebacker Drew Lewis had a great year in 2017, with a team-high 119 tackles, eight quarterback pressures and a pair of sacks. He did, however, lean quite a bit on classmate Rick Gamboa, who played alongside him all year.
Going through camp this month, Lewis said he's more comfortable knowing the defense on his own.
"Last year, we would get into the game and if I wouldn't know what I'm doing, I'd always have Rick to rely on and I'm trying to cut that out now," he said. "I want to be more independent and be able to go out there on my own and be able to make all the checks by myself without him as a help.
"Last year there were certain times where I'd hesitate and it would cost us a sack or they'd catch a ball down field."
In addition to playing inside, Lewis is working at outside linebacker this camp, as well. That will allow the Buffs to better utilize the talents of sophomore Nate Landman to play with Lewis and Gamboa.
MacIntyre said he's noticed Lewis making strides in his ability to play without leaning on Gamboa.
"I think he's doing real well. He understands the defense," MacIntyre said. "He is communicating a little better."
MacIntyre said Wednesday "might have been one of our best practices. The energy was there. Both sides did really well. I think we made a big step today with some things I was looking for them to do." ... Senior defensive lineman Jase Franke has been doing well at end, but as usual is expected to be versatile enough to play all over the line. "His ability to move around is a good thing for him and a good thing for us," MacIntyre said. ... The Buffs will have a closed scrimmage on Friday night.