Switch to tight end a preseason challenge for CU Buffs’ Beau Bisharat

Former running back competing in crowded field

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Beau Bisharat is making the move from running back to tight end.

It came as little surprise this past spring when new Colorado football coach Mel Tucker announced Beau Bisharat would be moved from running back.

There always has been a gallery of Buffaloes fans that have wondered what Bisharat might be able to do at linebacker, particularly given his combination of size and light feet. Bisharat also has consistently displayed a nose for the ball on special teams, a trait that potentially would translate well on the other side of the ball.

Instead, Bisharat was asked to go into his senior season tasked with filling a position of need for the Buffs at tight end. A player whose commitment to CU once stirred visions of a future workhorse back is spending his final preseason camp in Boulder attempting to master the tricks of his new trade in hopes of contributing at a spot Tucker has vowed to reintroduce to Buffs’ attack this season.

“He’s coming along good,” CU tight ends coach Al Pupunu said. “He’s got his footwork down. One thing he has to get better at his hand placement. Other than that, he’s working hard and he’s trying to get after guys and he’s making some plays. He made a few plays (Friday). It’s good to see.

“We’ll see how it all turns out. We have a couple weeks to fine-tune it and see where everybody ends up.”

Bisharat arrived at CU after a decorated high school career in Sacramento that included first-team all-state honors and 4,130 rushing yards in three seasons. In retrospect, though, Bisharat’s more physical style was perhaps miscast in the single-back attack of former coach Mike MacIntyre, a system that served well for backs like Philip Lindsay and Travon McMillian, who could explode quickly through tight seams off-tackle.

With Tucker encouraged by the young talent on the way at running back, CU’s new leader approached Bisharat this spring about the position change. Bisharat’s tutorial this fall has been expedited after he missed about a week and a half of spring practice due to a knee injury. Asked to name the toughest hurdles so far, Bisharat mentioned how green he is at route-running but ultimately settled on another answer.

“Probably the blocking,” Bisharat said. “I’m a little bit undersized when it comes to that. Just my technique. Shooting my hands, footwork. If I can get that right I think I’ll have a pretty good opportunity. It’s been hard. At running back we didn’t really have to know fronts. Here, it changes everything for me as a blocker up on the line. Who I’m getting or who I’m combo-ing with all depends on the front. I’ve had to learn all the fronts, the schemes of the blocking technique. It’s been difficult but I’m starting to get the hang of it.”

Bisharat is competing in a crowded field for a spot in the tight end rotation, which Tucker insists will actually be a thing his year after the tight end-averse tenure of MacIntyre. That group includes Auburn transfer Jalen Harris, former junior college transfer Darrion Jones, and sophomore Brady Russell, who paces the Buffs’ tight ends in experience in a CU uniform with five receptions for 41 yards.

Bisharat actually recorded 57 receptions for 834 yards and six touchdowns during his running back glory days of high school. And his lone reception so far at CU was a memorable one — a four-yard touchdown catch late in the first quarter that helped spark a season-opening rout of Colorado State last year.

Bisharat hopes a few more similar memories are in store before his time at CU is done.

“I’m excited about the H-back position and getting a couple opportunities to see what I can do,” Bisharat said. “We’ve just got to finish games strong. Big scrimmage (Saturday). I’m just getting my mind right for that and hopefully I’ll have a good day.”