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  • Colorado offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic is returning to the...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic is returning to the state where he lived when he was around 12.

  • Colorado offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic spent the past seven...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic spent the past seven years at North Carolina.



At different times during his career, including the past three seasons, Chris Kapilovic has had opportunities to coordinate an offense and call plays.

With his new job, as the offensive line coach at Colorado, Kapilovic is eager to pour his energy into his true passion.

“I’m looking forward to it, to be honest,” said Kapilovic, who will coach the Buffs’ line and coordinate the run game. “I’m not one of those guys that has a huge ego and I’ve got to be in charge. My passion has always been coaching the O-line anyway, so I’m thrilled to be doing that.”

Hired earlier this month by first-year CU head coach Mel Tucker, Kapilovic is returning to the state where he lived when he was around 12. It’s a big move professionally for Kapilovic, 50, who has spent the past seven years at North Carolina and has worked most of his career east of the Mississippi River.

Kapilovic will have fewer responsibilities than he did the past three years at North Carolina, when he added associate head coach and offensive coordinator duties. That suits him just fine.

“When I was back at UNC, our quarterback coach was up top and he had a lot of the play calling duties, as well,” he said. “But, the day to day organization and being in charge of everything, that does take a little time off your plate, so now I can dedicate more of that time to the linemen, which is going to be critical.”

Kapilovic is one of the most important hires for Tucker, because the offensive line has been an area of concern the past few years at CU. Just a few weeks on the job, Tucker, who was the defensive coordinator at Georgia before coming to CU, has made the offensive line a priority.

“I just know that we wanted to add size and athleticism to what we already have,” Tucker said. “That’s the first thing I look for; as a defensive coordinator, the first thing I look at (on the opposing team) is the offensive line.”

In his first season with the Buffs, Kapilovic will have an intriguing group with which to work, but it’s a group with much to prove.

Three seniors — Aaron Haigler, Tim Lynott and Brett Tonz — have a combined 102 games and 66 starts under their collective belt but all three were also benched at different points by the previous coaching staff. With all three, however, the potential is there to be the anchors of the line in 2019.

It’s the young group of linemen that has many excited. Rising sophomores Frank Fillip, Jake Moretti, Colby Pursell and William Sherman all got playing time this past season as freshmen. Pursell and Sherman became regular starters.

Redshirt freshmen Kanan Ray and Casey Roddick bring plenty of potential, too.

Junior Kary Kutsch, a junior college transfer last year, got some playing time this past season, as well, and the Buffs are excited about the addition of 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard Va’atofu Sauvao. A junior college transfer who signed with CU a week ago, Sauvao could compete right away for a starting job.

In terms of evaluating the current roster, Kapilovic said he hasn’t had a lot of time, but praised graduate assistant Jack Harris — a former CU player who was on staff this season — for helping him get up to speed.

For Kapilovic, though, finding the best linemen to play for CU in 2019 will have little to do with previous experience. Spring football practices will be crucial.

“I’ll watch a little bit of film, but I really want to get my impressions from them when I’m out there with them (at practice),” he said. “We’ll have a starting point. In a perfect world, that depth chart will change daily with competition.”

Evaluating linemen “starts with their feet,” Kapilovic said, while adding that ability to bend and sink at the hips is important, as well.

“You have to have great feet, you have to be able to move and try to have some kind of athleticism,” he said.

From there, Kapilovic will look at the demeanor of his linemen.

“You find some guys that play with an edge,” he said.

On top of all that, Kapilovic said he will look for linemen who have good character and value their education.

It’s a long list of traits, but Kapilovic is dedicated to building the CU offensive line with as many players as possible who can possesses those traits.

“If you can put all those things together, you have a chance to be successful,” he said.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or

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