In 2016 Colorado emerged as the Pac-12’s biggest surprise team as they captured the South division. Are the Buffaloes showing signs that they could have repeated success this year? CUSportsNation.com staff writers provide their takeaways from Colorado’s spring practice.
Coming out of spring practice what were your impressions of the team’s offense?
- I will preface by saying this: Every single spring practice, other than the spring game, which was half practice/half scrimmage, was completely closed to the media. So, a lot of these impressions are based on reports coming out of practice and what we were able to see during the spring game.
The offense looked pretty impressive. The Buffs are replacing Sefo Liufau with Steven Montez, and he has control of the offense and is in rhythm with his receivers. I would stack the Colorado receivers against any in the Pac-12. They were very good in 2016 and return all of them. We didn't see returning starting running back Phillip Lindsay in the spring game because of precautionary reasons, but he should have another great season.
All in all, this offense has a ton of firepower and depth. They are going to be very hard to defend.
Coming out of spring practice what were your impressions of the team’s defense?
- Defensively, there are question marks. There are three new defensive coaches, including a new coordinator, DJ Eliot, who is running a 3-4 scheme like Jim Leavitt did in Boulder the previous seasons. The secondary will take a hit with Chidobe Awuzie and Tedric Thompson moving on to the NFL, but guys like Isaiah Oliver, Dante Wigley and Anthony Julmisse should play well in their place. The Buffs might be in a lot of high scoring games with their potent offense and a defense that, right now, doesn't look to be one of the stronger units in the Pac-12.
Who are the players on each side of the ball that were the biggest surprises of spring practice?
- I really like Montez as a mobile quarterback that is very accurate throwing the ball downfield, but his backup, Sam Noyer, was very impressive during the spring game. He's more of a traditional pocket passer, but he is darn impressive.
I'm not sure if there were any surprises on the defensive side of the ball. One guy that comes to mind is junior college transfer cornerback Dante Wigley, who came to Boulder in January. I thought he struggled, but then again, he's going up against the very best of the best.
Did this year's spring practice ultimately change expectations for the 2017 season?
- I don't think so, mainly because there wasn't a whole lot to report on - other than the one hour long spring game scrimmage. It was a good sign for CU fans to see how well the offense clicked this early on in the year.