CU Buffs football notes: Offense focusing on details in camp

BOULDER, CO – August 3, 2019: OC, Jay Johnson, during Colorado Football practice and Fall sports media day. (photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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Coming into preseason camp, Colorado offensive coordinator Jay Johnson’s hope was that the Buffaloes would take their strong spring and pick up where they left off.

They did that, but now, with the Aug. 30 season opener against Colorado State just 17 days away, Johnson’s challenge to the Buffs is to polish up the details.

“I’m my opinion, I think we’re still lacking,” Johnson said Tuesday after the Buffs wrapped up their 11th practice of preseason camp. “I think they’re working hard, they’re busting their tails, but we have to be more detailed in what we’re doing. Hopefully now as camp goes on – and most everything is in – that we can really improve upon that.”

Every position group has some details to work on over the next couple of weeks, including at the skill positions.

Johnson said he challenges senior quarterback Steven Montez mentally while also working with him on the nuances of throwing the ball.

“He has unbelievable arm talent,” Johnson said, “but I’m more interested in the rest of his body, particularly in the throw game. Can we get that where it’s a little quieter, and then he can be a little more balanced and his consistency and accuracy can even raise to a new level.”

For the running backs, Johnson stresses ball security, as well as being productive as blockers and route runners.

“We have some very talented guys and they’re showing some really good big-play potential, but what do they do when they don’t have the ball?,” Johnson said.

A similar detail is being stressed for the receivers. Johnson wants that group to continue stepping up as blockers in the run game.

“It’s amazing when a receiver goes in and blocks or gets that apex player, the corner or the safety, the running backs see that and I think it does so much for our team,” Johnson said. “I’m looking at that. I’m looking at details of alignments, splits, assignments.”

Keep working on the details and the Buffs could be explosive on offense. There’s plenty of work to do, but Johnson is confident the Buffs have a stable of playmakers to be productive.

“Hopefully it challenges the defense in a different parameter that they can’t focus in on one or two guys,” he said. “I feel very confident. Particularly the wide receiver room is very skilled and obviously they’ve demonstrated that so far.”

Bisharat developing at TE

Throughout high school and during his first three years with the Buffs, Beau Bisharat was a running back. Switching to tight end in the spring was a big adjustment for the senior, but he’s improving.

“He’s gotten a lot better from spring to now,” tight ends coach Al Pupunu said. “He’s got an idea of what steps to take on his zone and footwork. What we have to get better at now is his hands; hands and head placement. We get that down with a little bit lower pad level and he’ll be fine.”

At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Bisharat is still a bit undersized for the position, but Pupunu doesn’t believe that weight will be an issue and that it could allow Bisharat to be a matchup problem for the defense.

“We’d like him to put on some more weight, but I don’t think his body allows him to put on that weight,” Pupunu said. “I had a kid who was 215 pounds (at Idaho) and he actually did really well for me and actually blocked guys who were 300 pounds.”

Notable

Sophomore inside linebacker Jonathan Van Diest said this has “been my best camp” at CU. He added, “It’s still a process, so I still have to put a lot of work in to get better.” … Montez and Shenault have both been named to the watch list for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, which honors the top offensive player in Division I football who is from the state of Texas.