Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Throughout his career at Colorado, running back Phillip Lindsay has always been known as a player that will maximize his ability.
It would be difficult to find a player on the team that works harder than Lindsay, a 5-foot-8, 190-pound senior who is one of the most versatile running backs in college football.
In preparing for his final season at CU, however, Lindsay is motivated not only by taking another step personally, but by doing all he can to maximize the ability of his teammates.
“I’m definitely getting to my goals,” he said after a recent workout in the CU weight room. “The key is for everybody around me to get to theirs, because it’s a team thing. If your team isn’t doing what they’re supposed to and every person isn’t hitting their max or hitting what they’re supposed to, we’re not going to do well as a team.”
Entering his third season as a team captain, Lindsay knows exactly what can happen when the team does come together.
Led by a strong group of seniors and juniors last season, the Buffs (10-4, 8-1 Pac-12) won the Pac-12 South division to end a string of 10 consecutive losing seasons and snap a nine-year bowl drought.
Lindsay has every intention of keeping the momentum going.
“We’ve built a foundation here now and it needs to stay like that,” Lindsay said. “If we stick to what we know and if we stick to our morals and the foundation that we built, we should be fine.”
A lot of that responsibility falls on Lindsay and other veterans, and he certainly embraces that role.
“I’m going to push my teammates to the max because I know I can get a lot out of them,” Lindsay said. “This is it for me. I want to be able to go out with a bang and I know a lot of my other teammates want to go out with a bang.
“You have players that have been through the f ire that know what it takes to win. We’ve all been here, so we know what to expect.”
Having gone through some difficult seasons at the beginning of his career, Lindsay said last year’s resurgence has given the Buffs “new life” this offseason.
The Buffs now know they can win, yet also have a sour taste in their mouth after back-to-back blowout losses, to Washington and Oklahoma State, to end the season.
“We’re on the good end of it now,” Lindsay said. “But, you also know that the last two games of the season didn’t go as planned. You never want to end your season losing like you did. For me that was embarrassing and it sticks in my head. That first game (on Sept. 1 vs. Colorado State), we have to go out there angry, mean and we have to go out there with a better tempo.”
CU put together a very good spring and Lindsay said it’s now important for the team to have a great summer. As always, the Buffs will conduct two or three player-led practices each week during the summer.
“That’s when you really find out who is ready to play and who is going to have your back,” he said. “That’s going to be key.
“It’s time for the players to bond with each other, get a feel for each other and help each other out.”
On a personal level, Lindsay is hardly satisfied, despite a stellar 2016 season in which he rushed for 1,252 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 53 passes for 493 yards. He was one of just two players in the country with at least 1,000 yards rushing and 50 catches.
“I’m always pushing myself to do better,” he said. “There’s a lot of good running backs out in college football right now that I want to compete with and that are doing big things. For me. I’m not going to be satisfied until I’m up there competing with them.”
During every workout, Lindsay said he’s not working for himself.
“I’m thinking, ‘What’s the LSU running back doing? What’s the Penn State running back doing?,'” Lindsay said. “I want to be great and I know they want to also, so they’re pushing me.”
Lindsay and the Buffs will resume summer workouts in June and report to fall camp on July 28.