As he’s done since he got to Colorado as a true freshman back in 2014, Kyle Evans is showing up to football practice every day with the drive to give everything he’s got.
That’s what led to him going from a walk-on to earning a scholarship in 2016. It’s what vaulted him to No. 2 on the depth chart two years ago. And, it’s what he hopes will land him a prominent role in the backfield this year.
Now a senior, Evans is one of several backs vying for carries and the starting role with the Buffaloes this fall.
“I’m just trying to do whatever I can to make us win,” Evans said.
As the Buffs aim to replace Phillip Lindsay in their backfield, they are looking at Evans, senior graduate transfer Travon McMillan, senior Donovan Lee, junior Beau Bisharat, redshirt freshman Alex Fontenot and true freshmen Deion Smith and Jarek Broussard.
“We all bring something different to the table,” Evans said. “(Running backs coach Darian) Hagan always talks about how the rotation might be different every day, so all we can really do is just make the most out of the reps that we get.”
Evans was Lindsay’s primary backup in 2016, finishing with 346 yards and three touchdowns on 84 carries.
In the spring of 2017, he dislocated his hip and missed the bulk of the offseason. He had just two carries for two yards last season, as the coaches were cautious with him.
“I thought I was 100 percent (healthy), but the coaches wanted to make sure I was OK, and they were thinking for the future,” Evans said. “We still had Phil at the time and he was carrying the load and he did it well. I just kind of fit into my role and it was OK.
“Now I’m really trying to take the next step and play a lot more this season.”
At 5-foot-7, 180 pounds, Evans is the smallest back on the team, but one of the strongest and he came into camp, which started Thursday, in top-notch shape.
“I told my mom a couple days ago I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life,” he said. “Faster, stronger, smarter – all of the above. Just better at what I do, in general.”
Like everybody else, junior quarterback Steven Montez isn’t sure who will start, but gives Evans a great shot to win the job.
“He’s a senior and he’s considered one of the leaders on the team and I think a lot of the guys respect him and follow him,” Montez said. “He works his tail off every day. If it’s him (starting), he’s going to be good.
“I think he looks just as good as he was back (in 2016), and probably a little bit better.”
While he would love to have the starting job, Evans sees great potential in a lot of his fellow backs and believes the versatility of a committee approach could benefit CU.
“I think we can mix up a lot of defenses with it,” he said of using multiple backs. “Everybody is a great candidate to be a starter.
“For myself I just have to do whatever I can to make sure if I’m going with the ones, I make those plays, the best plays I can possibly make so that by the time CSU comes, I’m ready to go. Hopefully they’re going to call my name. That’s all I can hope for.”
CU opens its season against Colorado State on Aug. 31.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre addressed the new redshirt rule again on Friday. For the first time, players around the country will be allowed to play up to four games and maintain their redshirt.
MacIntyre reiterated previous comments about trying to be smart with using those games, and maintained his belief that injuries to veterans will dictate some of those decisions.
He also said that he believes the new rule could keep true freshmen more engaged during the season “because they know they get a chance to play four games somewhere along the way.”
MacIntyre said CU worked on two-point conversions during Friday’s practice. CU has attempted just five conversions (going 3-for-5) in the last four years combined. … The Buffs also worked with the new NCAA rule, in which teams will have 40 seconds to execute an extra point or two-point conversion after a touchdown. That new rule is intended to expedite the game a bit. … CU’s practice on Saturday, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., is open to the public and will be held on the practice fields near Boulder Creek. It is one of just two open practices in fall camp. An Aug. 11 scrimmage will also be open.