Buffs’ special teams to get “re­or­ga­nized”

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - Cliff Grass­mick Daily Cam­era By Brian How­ell

BOUL­DER» Colorado has strug­gled on special teams in the past few years, but early in pre­sea­son camp, the Buffs are work­ing to fix that.

“We did more special teams in our first three days than we did in the last cou­ple of years,” coach Mike MacIn­tyre said. “I’ve re­or­ga­nized it to put more of an em­pha­sis. It’s looked re­ally good the first few days.”

New as­sis­tant coach Ross Els, who works with in­side lineback­ers, is also co­or­di­nat­ing special teams.

“I’ve done special teams al­most my whole life, so I love be­ing in­volved in that stuff,” Els said. “It needs to be (top notch) at this level, no mat­ter how you do it. I didn’t watch what they did in the past; I just know that that needs to be a big part of what we do.”

So far, so good, as MacIn­tyre said the kick­ers — se­nior Chris Graham, sopho­more Davis Price and true fresh­man James Ste­fanou from Aus­tralia — have dis­played ex­cep­tional power in their legs.

MacIn­tyre said the kick­ers look bet­ter than at any point since 2014, when punter Dar­ragh O’Neill and kicker Will Oliver were se­niors.

Els said it’s too early to re­ally know how good the kick­ers can be, how­ever.

“I need to see them with pads on with a live rush to say who is go­ing to be able to do it,” he said.

Op­tions for Ento. Se­nior Kabion Ento has been one of the most im­pres­sive receivers on the team this off­sea­son. Yet, with the top four receivers from last year all back, and tal­ented ju­nior Juwann Win­free re­turn­ing from a torn ACL, Ento’s op­por­tu­ni­ties could be lim­ited.

While Ento has cer­tainly proved he has the abil­ity to ex­cel at this level, he also has a red­shirt year to use. The Buffs could de­cide to red­shirt the 6foot-3 Ento and have him as one of the top receivers next year.

“I ex­pect him to play,” MacIn­tyre said. “He plays in so many spots for us, but we’ll see how that comes out af­ter camp’s over, how healthy we are af­ter the first few games. He’s the only one that re­ally has the op­por­tu­nity to red­shirt, ex­cept the young fresh­men. We’ll think about that.”

Foot­notes. MacIn­tyre said ju­nior punter Alex Kin­ney, com­ing into his third year as the starter “has re­ally had the best three days I’ve ever seen him have since he’s been here.” ... Mon­day’s prac­tice, the third of camp, was CU’s first in shoul­der pads. The Buffs aren’t hit­ting at full speed but did “thud” tack­ling . ... The Buffs will hold their fourth prac­tice Tues­day morn­ing and then have a day off Wed­nes­day. Thurs­day is the first prac­tice in full pads.

Wide receivers Kabion Ento, left, and Shay Fields talk it over Satur­day dur­ing the first day of CU foot­ball prac­tice. Ento may red­shirt this sea­son be­cause of CU’s depth.

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