With Colorado’s season opener around the corner, Ryan Moeller is feeling healthy, getting antsy and eager to see how much better he is as a junior.
“I’m feeling great,” Moeller said after practice on Tuesday. “I had a real good practice today and I’m feeling pretty good about getting back and doing everything we have to do.”
Projected to start at free safety, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Moeller hasn’t played since Oct. 17 against Arizona. Shortly after that game, he and a friend were involved in a moped accident that left Moeller with several injuries. One of the Buffs’ leading tacklers at the time, he missed the rest of the season.
“Seeing as how I missed a good portion of the season last year, I’m definitely ready to be back out there full swing of things,” he said. “I’m definitely itching to be out there and I’m real excited and real amped about it.”
Aside from an ankle injury that limited him in practice last week, Moeller has been mostly healthy and has spent his offseason trying to improve his craft
“Going through the spring, you try to get better there and I definitely took some points from that, evaluated myself to get better here in fall camp and I definitely think I’ve done that,” he said. “You can always get better, so identifying some of your weaknesses will help you out overall as an individual and as a unit on defense.”
Safeties coach Joe Tumpkin though Moeller had a good spring as he bounced back from his injury-shortened season, and head coach Mike MacIntyre said Moeller has continued to progress this fall.
“Ryan is doing good and he’ll be ready to go (for the Sept. 2 opener against Colorado State),” MacIntyre said. “Hopefully everything keeps going smooth.”
So far, so good, and Moeller is eager to put what he’s learned into play.
“I’m more responsible out there,” he said. “I definitely know what I’m doing. I’m better well-rounded and I can help out if we need to in an off situation. I feel like that came with repetition and coming to understand better the whole concept of the defense and being more comfortable with it, honestly.”
On Monday, Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo said he has no plans to reveal his starting quarterback until game time. Incumbent starter Nick Stevens and senior transfer Faton Bauta have been battling for the job.
MacIntyre believes he has a pretty good idea of which player will be lining up against the Buffs, though.
“I’m pretty sure they’re going to start their second-team all-Mountain West quarterback,” MacIntyre said, referring to Stevens. “That’s what we plan on seeing. If they start the other guy, I’m pretty sure the offense will be very similar to what it was because he ran the same thing at Georgia.”
Stevens started all 13 games for the Rams last year, throwing for 2,679 yards and a Mountain West-leading 21 touchdowns. He was 25-for-39 for 282 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Buffs a year ago.
Bauta transferred to CSU in December after spending four years at Georgia. Bobo was Georgia’s quarterbacks coach from 2001-14 (and offensive coordinator from 2007-14) and worked with Bauta for three years.
Adkins back in action
Running back Michael Adkins, who missed several practices with a hamstring injury, has been practicing for the past several days.
“He’ll be ready to go,” MacIntyre said. “He’s looking OK out there. We’ll keep him coming along. Hopefully Michael can put together a string of 10, 11 or 12 (healthy) games instead of two or three.”
Last year, the Buffs struggled to produce touchbacks on kickoffs, with Chris Graham handling those duties. Graham and place-kicker Diego Gonzalez are battling for kickoff duties. “We’ve been better; now we just have to be better in the game,” MacIntyre said. “We kicked it pretty well in practice last year.” … Redshirt freshman walk-on J.T. Bale will most likely be the Buffs’ long snapper this season, MacIntyre said, with tight end Chris Hill as the backup. … MacIntyre said he’s been impressed with CSU punter Hayden Hunt, a finalist for the Ray Guy Award last season. “He’s a weapon,” MacIntyre said.
Brian Howell: email@example.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.