Colorado head football coach Mel Tucker called senior Beau Bisharat into his office this week and pitched an idea.
"He said, 'We need somebody (at tight end) who can run and stress a defense within the passing game,'" Bisharat said. "He thought I was a good candidate for it."
After three years of playing running back for the Buffaloes, the former four-star recruit had a decision to make. Tucker gave him the choice, but Bisharat ultimately decided to make the switch.
"I felt like it would be better for me to make the switch to add value to myself to play special teams in the NFL or something like that," said Bisharat, who has excelled on special teams during his CU career. "I think they liked me at running back; I just think that they saw a bigger need for me somewhere else."
Six practices into spring, the Buffs have played almost exclusively in one or two-tight end sets. Bisharat gives the Buffs much-needed depth at the position, where they had just four scholarship players -— seniors Jalen Harris and Darrion Jones and sophomores Jared Poplawski and Brady Russell.
"We're just seeing who can help us at the position," Tucker said. "We're going to use the tight end in our offense. We'd like to use a couple of them in a game at one time if we can. The more the merrier.
"(Bisharat) is athletic, he can run and he's got soft hands. And, he's a smart player, so he can learn multiple positions."
Bisharat could be used at running back down the road if needed, but as of Tuesday he is focusing on tight end.
"It's weird leaving (running back coach Darian) Hagan's room," Bisharat said. "He's been my coach my whole time here. I'm close with all the running backs and those are all my good friends. And obviously the tight ends are good friends of mine, too, but it's a different dynamic, for sure."
Bisharat is the Buffs' most experienced running back, with 57 carries for 249 yards. He was eager for a bigger role there this season, but now shifts his focus.
"It sucks leaving running back, but I'm still going to get the ball in my hands and get in open space 15 yards down field," he said. "That's pretty nice, too. It's good. I'm just still trying to learn everything and it's just hard because everything is so different at running back compared to H-back."
At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Bisharat is much lighter than the other tight ends on the roster, so the Buffs may not utilize him as a blocker as much as the others. He's faster, though, which could allow him to be more of a receiving threat downfield.
Bisharat said adding weight hasn't been discussed with coaches, but that a few more pounds "wouldn't hurt."
Competition at Star
The Buffs' new defense uses a player in the "Star" position, a linebacker/defensive back hybrid that has some similarities to the "Buff back" position used by the previous staff.
"Some of the things we have in our scheme are a lot different," Tucker said. "There's a learning curve there, but the guys are working hard at it and it's going to take some reps."
Senior Davion Taylor excelled in the "Buff" position last year and has been running with the first team defense at "Star," but Tucker said there are three or four players battling.
"We haven't settled on a starter yet," he said. "We've got a long way to go at that position. It's not the easiest position to learn. It a lot of reps and it's also situational. I should have a much better idea at the end of spring ball of who our best two or three guys are at that spot."
The Buffs got a lot of situational work done Friday. "It was more of a game-like situation with down and distance, substitutions on both side of the ball," Tucker said. "I feel good about what we got done today." ... With Bisharat's move to tight end, the only scholarship running back who has carried the ball in a college game is sophomore Alex Fontenot, who had 11 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown last season. ... Several 2020 recruits are in Boulder this weekend on visits, including tackle Jake Wray (Marietta, Ga.), quarterback Chubba Purdy (Gilbert, Ariz.) and linebacker Devin Grant (San Antonio), according to 247Sports.com. Receiver Latrell Caples (Lancaster, Texas), a top-100 player in Texas, is also in town on an unofficial visit.