Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Andy Cross / The Denver Post
Colorado doesn’t have a well-known group of cornerbacks, but three games into the season, the Buffaloes are pleased with the performance of that crew.
“I feel pretty good about where we are,” said ShaDon Brown, the Buffaloes’ safeties coach and defensive passing game coordinator. “We’ve gotten a chance to see a lot of things in the first three games in terms of motions and shifts and I feel good about where we are.
“We’re making some plays on the football. Some of the younger guys who hadn’t played a whole lot are getting some quality reps and we’re improving each and every game.”
Colorado (3-0) is on a bye this week before opening Pac-12 play on Sept. 28 against UCLA (0-3).
So far, nobody has made more plays in coverage than junior Delrick Abrams, a junior college transfer in his first season with the Buffs. Abrams has, for the most part, locked down opposing receivers.
“He uses his length, which is an advantage for him that a lot of other guys don’t have,” Brown said. “He’s doing well in press coverage. He’s dropped a couple picks that he wishes he could have had back, but he’s done a good job and he’s been in position to make a lot of plays so far. I’m proud of where he’s at.”
Dante Wigley, Trey Udoffia and nickel back Ronnie Blackmon have had good moments, as well.
“I think they’ve played hard,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said of the corners. “We’ve been rotating guys in and out and for the most part, they’ve played well enough for us to win all three football games. We have to keep stepping it up a notch.”
Getting a healthy Chris Miller back into the rotation will help. A redshirt freshman, Miller was arguably CU’s best corner early in fall camp before being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Miller came off the bench to play in Saturday’s 45-14 win against New Hampshire.
“He stepped up and made some plays last week,” Brown said. “It was just good to see his smiling face get out there and run around and make some plays. He’s as good as anybody that we have when he’s healthy.”
MacIntyre added that Miller has had a good week of practice and can also help the Buffs on special teams.
Jackson on track for return
Redshirt freshman receiver Jaylon Jackson, who has missed the first three games with a foot injury, has returned to practice this week.
“He’s practiced the last two days and has looked good,” MacIntyre said. “I was pleased with Jaylon (on Wednesday) and today.”
Although the Buffs are deep at receiver, Jackson’s return could boost the offense and special teams, MacIntyre said.
“He was having a really good fall camp,” MacIntyre said. “He’s a guy that we definitely think can play in the Pac-12 and make plays. We won’t have a drop off when Jaylon steps on the field.”
Prepping for the Bruins
MacIntyre and the staff have already spent a lot of time scouting UCLA, which also has a bye this week.
“They’re 0-3, but they’re the best 0-3 team I’ve seen,” MacIntyre said. “They’ll be a much better football team than they have been when they play us. They’re definitely the most athletic team we’ve played so far.”
Bye week goals
In trying to make the most of the bye week, the Buffs have different levels of goals to achieve.
“Every player has a specific goal he wants to accomplish that he wrote down,” MacIntyre said. “Every position group has a specific goal they want to accomplish, and then each side of the ball has a specific goal they want to accomplish.”
During the season, the Buffs typically give the non-travel players more reps for a few minutes after practice. MacIntyre is taking advantage of the bye week to do that after each practice. … The Buffs were in full pads Thursday and had some good starters vs. starters competition. … CU will practice Friday before taking the weekend off.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.