Phil McGeoghan has coached so long in the NFL that working with a small group of receivers isn’t too big of a deal.
The injury bug has left the Colorado Buffaloes with a shortage of weapons as they go through spring practices, however.
On Tuesday, the fourth of CU’s 15 spring practices, McGeoghan, CU’s first-year receivers coach said the Buffs were down to “4.5 receivers,” meaning four fully healthy and one in a non-contact jersey.
Senior Daniel Arias missed practice because of an academic conflict, but sophomores Chase Penry and Ty Robinson are among the wounded. McGeoghan said “we’re hopeful” about Penry and Robinson returning this spring.
“You have to learn how to rehab and you have to learn how to be mentally tough when you have setbacks, so that’s kind of where we are with those two players,” he said. “It’s just kind of them learning the offense and them managing the disappointment of not being out there with their brothers playing.”
CU has 10 receivers on the roster this spring, but McGeoghan, who coached eight of his previous nine seasons in the NFL, said the Buffs will carry on with what they’ve got.
“The reality is we’ve got practice to get through and if you want to play in the National Football League, we only have five guys in the roster anyway, so it’s a good introduction if they want to play in the National Football League,” he said.
“Honestly, we’re gonna rep who we’ve got and there’s gonna be more reps to go around for guys that are reserve players. It’s just an opportunity to get better and we try to do a good job of limiting the reps.”
Despite the limited numbers, McGeoghan said he’s been impressed with the receivers this spring, including Penry and Robinson.
“When they were available this spring, I was very pleased with both their development,” McGeoghan said. “(Robinson) was making some unbelievable strides and making contested catches and doing things like that in practice.”
McGeoghan has also been impressed with senior RJ Sneed, a transfer from Baylor who arrived at CU in January.
“I’m very pleased with RJ,” McGeoghan said. “He’s an outstanding leader, very good football player as everybody knows. He’s had great production and he’s very intelligent. He’s a good leader by example. He’ll also pull guys to the side and teach them the proper learning habits and steps to retain an offense and to go on and perform. … He’s been successful at Baylor, so for him to be here, he’s been good for us from a scheme and personnel standpoint as far as upgrading the position, but also from a leadership role and what he brings to the table as a human being.”
At running back, coach Darian Hagan is letting Alex Fontenot and Deion Smith figure out who gets the first reps with the starting offense each day.
“When we go first team, those guys are doing rock, paper, scissors to see who gets the first rep,” Hagan said. “I’m not even saying who’s getting the reps. I let them decide, keeping the competitive fire amongst the group and it’s been good thus far.”
Both players have looked good this spring, Hagan said.
A senior, Fontenot is quiet, but brings his fire to the field.
“When he puts the helmet on, the tiger comes out,” Hagan said. “That dude, he’s a baller. You don’t have to say a lot. He retains the information and on the days that we’re in pads, I don’t have to worry about him going to work.”
Smith is two years removed from a knee injury and is no longer wearing a brace, Hagan said.
“He’s full go and he’s doing everything that he desires,” said Hagan, who added Smith is working become better fundamentally in pass protection.
Hagan also said that the other three backs — Jayle Stacks and walk-ons Charlie Offerdahl and Noah Wagner — are doing well.
“Those guys are coming along fast,” Hagan said. “I’m happy with their progress so far. We’ve just got to keep going, hone in on those little details and we’ll be fine. I like the group. I love coming to work and coaching that group. It’s awesome.”
CU returned to practice Tuesday after talking Sunday and Monday off. The Buffs will practice Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to finish the week. … Alabama transfer Tommy Brown has played at guard through the first four practices, but line coach Kyle DeVan said Brown will get some work at tackle this spring.