Over the last two seasons, Davis Price has excelled as Colorado's kickoff specialist, but during his career, he has proven to be a valuable emergency replacement, as well.

Thrust into the role as the Buffaloes' punter nearly a month ago, Price is settling in his new — although possibly temporary — job.

"I'm getting more comfortable every day," the junior said. "We're working on it a lot, and putting a lot more emphasis on my punting right now. The more work that we've been putting in is helping me out a ton."

When the No. 21 Buffaloes (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) host Arizona State (3-2,1-1) on Saturday, Price will play his third full game as the punter after senior Alex Kinney broke his collarbone during CU's 33-28 win at Nebraska on Sept. 8.

Price had not punted in a game since 2015, his senior year at Evergreen High School, but has averaged 40.2 yards on 13 punts this season.

During the 2016 season, Price was a true freshman walk-on and third-string kicker, but an injury to starter Diego Gonzalez eventually gave Price a chance to handle kickoffs and field goals briefly.

Last year, he was strictly the kickoff specialist. Now he's handling two jobs.

"He's been very valuable," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "He's done a lot of different things and always stepped up and given his best and has prepared himself the best he can."

Punting for CU is quite a bit different from punting at Evergreen, but Price said he's adjusting to everything around him moving faster. Studying film and learning from Kinney has helped.


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"He's helping me a lot," Price said. "I go over film with him a good amount and he gives me a lot of good insight."

The results are getting better as he goes along. During Friday's 38-16 win against UCLA, Price had a season-long 58-yard punt, and he pinned two of his five punts inside the 20-yard line.

"I'm just able to visualize everything a lot better and be more comfortable with it," he said.

Meanwhile, he put all seven of his kickoffs against UCLA into the end zone for touchbacks.

While Price grows in his role, Kinney is rapidly improving, and on Wednesday was able to catch more snaps and punt more than he has been since the injury.

"He still won't be ready to go for this week, but we might get him back soon," MacIntyre said. "He's making very good progress at this point."

Until then, Price will do his part to fill the role and help the team keep its win streak going.

"It's awesome," he said of filling different roles in his CU career. "Definitely keeps things interesting. I'm never getting bored here, that's for sure."

Eyeing Wilkins

ASU senior Manny Wilkins is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the Pac-12, and he's off to a start to this season. Wilkins has completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 1,224 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception, while rushing for 143 yards and two scores.

"He's truly what you call a dual threat quarterback," MacIntyre said. "He's played a lot of football and he's extremely calm out there. He's an excellent player."

A year ago against the Buffs, Wilkins threw two touchdown passes and ran for 95 yards and a touchdown.

"Any time a quarterback can run you have to take that into account," CU linebacker Drew Lewis said. "He can do some wonders with the ball."

Notable

ASU head coach Herm Edwards will be coaching in his first game against CU and his first game at Folsom Field. He has participated in a game at Folsom, however. On Sept. 9, 1972, Edwards was a freshman at California, making is collegiate debut in CU's season-opening 20-10 win against the Bears. ... Last week vs. UCLA, CU quarterback Steven Montez carried the team's symbolic sledgehammer out onto the field. The sledgehammer goes to the player with the best legal hit from the previous game. It was the first time in MacIntyre's six years at CU that a quarterback got that honor.

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