After leading the Colorado football team in receptions last season, Devin Ross is aiming to pick up where he left off and take his game to the next level.
The senior got a delayed start to spring drills, however.
Ross made his spring debut on Friday after missing the first five practices to take care of his academics.
“I’m back now, so it’s all good,” he said. “I’m just glad to be back with my teammates and I see how they’ve progressed over the spring and what we’re looking like for next year.”
Ross caught 66 passes for 765 yards and five touchdowns last season, but realizes he can’t rest on his laurels because of the talent the Buffs have accumulated at receiver.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “I’m just wondering what the coaches are going to do with all this talent we have at receiver. It’s going to be good to get better together every day and just push each other. It’s going to be scary to see what we do in the fall.”
To exceed — or even match — his production, Ross said, “I feel like I have to do what I did last year times 10, basically.”
In order to improve, Ross wants to become a better blocker and work on his hands.
“I could have had more catches last year and I dropped some,” he said.
Now that he’s back on the field, he can continue working on his development.
“I have to get back to my groove and get back in the lineup and start getting back with the routes and the timing and everything,” he said. “I’m ready.”
Competition at tight end
CU doesn’t have much depth at tight end, but head coach Mike MacIntyre has been pleased with how the group has done as the Buffs try to replace last year’s starter, Sean Irwin.
“Dylan (Keeney) and Chris (Bounds) are both doing super,” MacIntyre said. “We have different combinations we work with both of them, but I’d say they’ve both done really well so far this spring and it looks like they’ll be ready to keep stepping in.”
The 6-foot-6 Keeney has added about 15 pounds since last year and is up to 235 pounds, which should help him to be more productive as a blocker.
Senior George Frazier is also still at tight end after playing the past two years there, but he is now splitting his time between offense and defense. The Buffs believe Frazier can provide depth to the defensive line, while giving them a strong leader on that side of the ball.
On Saturday, the Buffs will hold a closed scrimmage at Folsom Field.
Priority No. 1, MacIntyre said, is to come out of the scrimmage without injuries, but the Buffs also hope to get some experience for their younger players.
“Coaches get on the sidelines and we’re going to see what the players know and let them compete,” he said. “We’ll have a few (veteran) guys just go a few plays and then pull them out … and then have the younger guys and the guys we just brought in in January get a lot of the playing time, so we can see where they are and what level they’re at right now.”
The scrimmage is especially important for the Buffs’ young quarterbacks.
Sophomore Steven Montez has only three starts under his belt, but the coaches are mainly eager to watch redshirt freshman Sam Noyer, true freshman Tyler Lytle and redshirt freshman walk-on Casey Marksberry.
“These scrimmages will be big for Sam, Tyler and Casey; and of course they’re big for Steven, but Steven has played in quite a few games now,” MacIntyre said. “These scrimmages will be a little bit more real for those (younger) guys. It’ll be good to see them in live situations.”
CU hosted a coaches clinic on Friday for area high school coaches. “We have a ton of coaches here and it’s a lot of fun,” MacIntyre. “They came in this morning and sat in on all of our meetings and then we’ll have chalk talk and some of the different high school coaches are speaking today.”