Andy Cross / The Denver Post
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
There is still more than five months before the Colorado football team opens its season against Colorado State, on Aug. 31 in Denver.
Perhaps nobody is more thankful for that time than Klayton Adams, the Buffaloes’ co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
While the Buffs like the potential of a lot of players on their offensive line, and Adams is enjoying mixing and matching players in different spots, he said, “I promise you I’m more excited about doing it in the spring than I am in the fall.”
Right now, the Buffs are spending their time giving young, inexperienced linemen valuable practice reps, while some veterans are growing into leaders. But, there’s still a lot of work to be done to figure out the group that’s going to give the Buffs the best chance to win next season.
CU lost three starters — left tackle Jeromy Irwin, left guard Gerrad Kough and center Jonathan Huckins — to graduation. They have also lost Isaac Miller, a part-time starter at right tackle, to a knee injury, as he won’t play in 2018. This spring, they are also without guard/center Tim Lynott, a full-time starter for two years who is still recovering from an Achilles injury and is expected back this fall.
Senior right tackle Josh Kaiser and junior left tackle Aaron Haigler are the only active players this spring with significant playing experience, although Haigler is working at left tackle for the first time.
A plus is that Kaiser and Haigler are using their experience to not only improve as individuals, but to teach their younger teammates.
“I feel like some of the older guys really relish the opportunity to be in a leadership role,” Adams said. “Particularly Aaron Haigler and Josh Kaiser, I don’t think really felt comfortable being leaders in the past and those guys love that (now). They really do a job of helping the young guys.”
One of the young guys is redshirt freshman Colby Pursell, who, in his second spring at CU, continues to project as a potential starter at center.
“Colby Pursell showed up here last spring and had never played center in his life and on his very first day of practice, he was repping center with the twos,” Adams said. “I could tell on that day he was going to be a pretty good player, because he went out there and didn’t blink.
“I’m excited about where he’s headed.”
Junior guards Dillon Middlemiss and Brett Tonz continue to step up this spring, as well, while redshirt freshmen, such as Jake Moretti and William Sherman have been praised routinely by players and coaches.
Moretti, however, is still limited to individual drills and hasn’t been involved with team drills as he continues to recovery from injury. The Buffs are also without talented guard Kanan Ray (knee) this spring.
Despite some injuries, Adams has been pleased with his linemen.
“I’m really excited about the way that they play and the way they attack practice,” he said. “The attitude has been unbelievable and they’re very eager to learn.”
Of course, the real test is yet to come.
“You have to get them into a game to figure out what you really have,” he said.
The Buffs will practice Friday and then hold their annual spring showcase on Saturday at Folsom Field. That will take place from 1-3 p.m., and it will include about an hour of position drills and a 50-minute scrimmage. It will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks, but will also be open to fans. Attendance and parking is free.