Highly touted offense remains on right track
Throughout the offseason, Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre has expressed numerous times his belief that the Buffaloes’ offense can be one of the most explosive in the country.
If that adds any pressure to the coaches, co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren isn’t showing it.
Asked about pressure, Lindgren chuckled a bit and said: “I think our offensive staff, we’re really excited about the group we’ve got. We have the opportunity to do some really good things.”
Lindgren quickly added that the Buffs are by no means a well-oiled machine at this point.
“I don’t think we’re there yet,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we have to take advantage of every opportunity. That’s what we talked to our group about. We talk about going out each and every day and trying to get better. Keep progressing.”
There is plenty of reason for optimism going into this season.
Nine starters are back from a group that averaged 32.8 points per game a year ago — the fifth-best scoring average in program history.
The receiving corps, led by seniors Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross, is one of the best and most experienced in the country.
The starting five on the offensive line are arguably the best CU has had in a decade.
Running back Phillip Lindsay returns after compiling 1,745 yards and 17 touchdowns in total rushing and receiving. One of the most versatile backs in the country last year, he rushed for 1,252 yards and caught 53 passes.
On top of all that, the Buffs have sophomore quarterback Steven Montez, who isn’t a returning starter but showed great promise in going 2-1 last year in relief of Sefo Liufau.
“I think we’ve got a good handle on what we’re trying to accomplish,” Lindgren said. “It’s nice having a lot of veteran guys that have been around and played a lot of football. They just have a good feel for the different concepts that we’re doing. It’s been fun to see the progress.”
Senior safety Ryan Moeller has been practicing against CU’s offense for five years and said he has noticed a difference this year with the experi- ence and confidence on that side of the ball. The offense routinely gives the defense looks they aren’t used to seeing, especially early in preseason camp.
“They’re doing stuff where you go, ‘Oh, think quick; what do I have to do?’ ” Moeller said. “They keep you on your toes.”
Montez, in his third fall camp at CU, said, “We’re a lot further along right now than we were at this time last fall camp.”
While this year’s offense will feature many of the same players, it’s sure to look different. That is, in large part, because Montez has a different set of skills from what Liufau did.
A four-year starter, Liufau left CU with nearly 100 records, including just about every major passing mark. Last year, however, the Buffs took advantage of his size and running ability. Liufau rushed 152 times for 496 yards and seven touchdowns, and the Buffs relied much more on his legs in the second half of the season.
Montez has the ability to run (he gained 231 yards on 51 carries), but his arm is likely to be a bigger weapon.
“Steven is a really good athlete, and we can do some of that run stuff that we did with Sefo,” Lindgren said, “but I think he just brings a little bit different skill set as far as some of the passing is concerned. So, I think we’re going to be able to do some things in the pass game that we hadn’t done for the past couple of years with Sefo, which brings a new dynamic.”