• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    CU's co-offensive coordinator Klayton Adams looks on during the Buffs' spring football festivities in March.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    CU's Kabion Ento catches a pass during the Buffs' spring football festivities in March.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    CU's Laviska Shenault Jr., scores a touchdown during the Buffs' spring football festivities in March.



After a year in which they finished near the bottom of the Pac-12 in scoring — again — the Colorado football team believes it is getting the pieces in place for a more prolific attack.

Last year, the Buffs (5-7, 2-7 Pac-12) ranked 11th in the conference in scoring, at 26.4 points per game. It was the sixth time in seven years since joining the conference that CU was 10th or worse in scoring.

Co-coordinators Darrin Chiaverini and Klayton Adams are hoping that a good spring set the foundation, and both came into the summer feeling optimistic about the Buffs’ potential.

“Spring was very productive and we’re trying to form our identity a little bit and I like where we’re headed with what we’re doing offensively,” Chiaverini said. “I think it’s going to be fun to watch this fall and I’m excited to get started this summer again.”

Chiaverini enters his first season as the play caller, after co-coordinator Brian Lindgren left CU for a similar position at Oregon State. Since the change, Chiaverini has often expressed his desire to increase the tempo on offense.

CU ranked 16th nationally with 75.75 offensive plays per game last year, but that was actually the team’s lowest number in the last four years.

Of course, it’s also important to do something with those plays. The Buffs were 48th nationally in yards per game (417.6), 79th in yards per play (5.51) and 81st in scoring last season.

The offense also needs a little help defensively if it wants to pick up the pace.

A prime example came last October, when the Buffs found themselves down 14-7 early in the second quarter against Arizona at Folsom Field. CU head coach Mike MacIntyre could tell it was going to be a long night for his defense, which had already given up two touchdowns to Arizona’s Khalil Tate, who had a record-setting night.

The last thing MacIntyre wanted was a quick drive that would give the ball back to Tate.

“I literally said (to Lindgren and Chiaverini), ‘Don’t throw it,’ and we ran the ball 18 times and scored,” MacIntyre said.

An impressive, 19-play drive, which including just one pass — a 9-yarder on third-and-8 — tied the game and took 9 minutes, 41 seconds off the clock.

CU didn’t win the game, but the adjustment to slow the pace kept them in it all night before falling 45-42 in Tate’s breakout game. CU had season highs in rushing attempts (58), rushing yards (300) and time of possession (35 minutes, 54 seconds).

“In that game, it would not have been very smart for us to keep going wide open,” MacIntyre said. “Now, do we want to do that some? Yes. And have we had success with that? Yes.

“I believe we will have success in it and we’ve got things in our system to do that and we’ve done good at that quite a few times. Sometimes the game dictates that a little bit.”

On paper, it appears the Buffs might struggle to improve its offensive efficiency, given the fact that running back Phillip Lindsay and receivers Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross are now gone.

Chiaverini, Adams and MacIntyre are confident in the crew coming back, however, led by junior quarterback Steven Montez.

They’re also confident in the coaching staff. Both praised the work of the entire offensive staff, which also includes Gary Bernardi (tight ends), Darian Hagan (running backs) and Kurt Roper (quarterbacks).

“I think we’ve had a lot of really good discussion,” Adams said.

Roper is the only newcomer to the staff, and he’s been a welcomed addition with his wealth of knowledge. While he will only be working with quarterbacks, Roper has been an offensive coordinator for nine of the past 10 years.

“Kurt has done a really good job of just saying, ‘Ok guys, when we do that, this is how it makes it hard on the quarterback or this is how it makes it a little bit easier on the quarterback,'” Adams said. “It’s been unique to get that perspective from him. Those are really important discussions to have, because if (the quarterback) plays good, everybody is in a good mood.”

A cohesive coaching staff helps, but senior receiver Jay MacIntyre said the offense is also loaded with motivated players.

“There’s a lot of new energy, not because of new coaches, but more because there’s a lot of guys that haven’t played a lot of ball and they want to prove themselves,” he said. “Even the guys that have played ball have a little chip on their shoulder and want to prove even more. That energy is contagious with the competitive nature of it all.”

That competitiveness among the players may be the real key to the offense scoring more points and going at the pace that Chiaverini desires.

“We have to go execute the plays,” Jay MacIntyre said. “It’s as simple as that.”

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