During the past few years, the Colorado football team got a good look — probably too good of a look — at Oregon State running back Ryan Nall.
A 6-foot-2, 235-pound power back, Nall ran for 329 yards and four touchdowns in three career games against the Buffaloes and 2,216 yards in his career before declaring early for this year’s NFL draft.
CU won’t have to face Nall ever again, but the Buffs believe they might have a Nall-type of player on their own roster.
Beau Bisharat is one of four players competing in a wide-open competition at running back this spring, and the Buffs believe the 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior can be a punishing runner.
“I keep telling him I want him to be just like (Nall),” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He’s got a little bit more weight to put on to be near that, but he’s showing that and running good out there.”
Bisharat has a leaner frame than Nall, and may not be able to get to Nall’s size, but at 220 pounds, he’s already bigger than he was last season, when he rushed 21 times for 61 yards in a backup role.
“I feel good,” Bisharat said of adding weight. “I feel like I can still run well at that weight. I like (Nall’s) style. He was a good back. I think I can be similar to that. I like the idea of being a power back.”
More than anything, Bisharat likes the idea of playing more with standout Phillip Lindsay — the second-leading rusher in program history — having graduated.
“We’re all trying to start,” Bisharat said. “We’re all competing and working hard to be able to get that opportunity. Phil was great and we were really good friends, but at some point, you’re like, ‘OK, when’s my time going to come?’ Now that he’s gone, the job is wide open.
“That’s my overall goal is to start playing more on offense. I love contributing on special teams, but offense is mainly what I want to do.”
Good start for Haigler
Through two spring practices, the Buffs haven’t been in pads yet, but MacIntyre said junior tackle Aaron Haigler looks good so far.
“He is really moving around well,” MacIntyre said. “He’s throwing the (shot put) good too right now (for the track and field team). That shows you he can bend and move his weight and feels good. He’s looked really good out there at tackle for us.”
Haigler made six starts at right tackle in 2016, but after bulking up last offseason he struggled at tackle and played much of the 2017 season at right guard. He made three early starts at tackle and six starts at right guard.
Now listed at 6-7, 295, Haigler appears to be more comfortable with his body, and the Buffs could use him at tackle, where they lack depth and experience. With Isaac Miller out this spring – and perhaps longer – with knee trouble, the Buffs are a bit shorthanded at tackle.
MacIntyre said, however, that he likes the group of Haigler, Josh Kaiser, Hunter Vaughn and Jake Moretti at tackle, while others can play guard and tackle.
“We are mixing and matching and moving them around,” he said.
MacIntyre said Saturday’s practice was better than Friday. … CU has added a lot of junior college players in recent years, and MacIntyre said one benefit is that the learning curve “is not quite as steep” as it is for high school players. … MacIntyre said the Buffs’ quarterbacks “are more accurate this spring than they were last spring,” which makes life easier for the receivers, while also challenging the defensive backs more. … The Buffs will have Sunday off and then return to practice on Monday.