BOULDER – As the Buffs start to transition back into a normal practice routine, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre and his staff have begun to look for silver linings to the unfortunate circumstances the team has dealt with in the last week.
During the majority of the last five days the team has willingly shifted its focus towards community outreach efforts rather than football as a result of the devastating flooding that has overwhelmed the area.
The team went three days without a conducting a practice for the first time since early in the summer, and with the postponement of last Saturday’s Fresno State game is in the middle of a three-week stretch between any game action. Instead of viewing the extended break as a hindrance to any chance of building upon their early success, MacIntyre thinks the Buffs may in fact benefit from it.
“I think (the time off) can be a blessing in disguise that we can use to get better,” said MacIntyre. “We’ll also get to have some more guys heal up a little bit then we have a 10 game stretch. So we’ll have to temper practice a little bit different with 10 straight games without a break. So they understand this is kind our last chance to fix a few things. We’ll spend a little more time on kickoff coverage and drills and things we need to fix in other areas.”
By the time CU returns to the field on September 28th in Corvallis, Ore., to open Pac-12 Conference play, it will have been exactly three weeks since playing a game. Typically, when facing lengthy layoffs, most coaches fear their team will be beset by a certain amount of lethargy and lifelessness. But after two days of practices this week, MacIntyre has yet to see any sign that his team might face a similar fate a week from Saturday.
“(The first two days back) they have all been fighting and getting after it,” said MacIntyre. “The good thing was they were competing and the speed of the game was there. I definitely think we’ve had two good days of practice and they have worked extremely hard.”
MacIntyre also believes the recent tragedy has helped the team grow up a little bit more as young men. Many players and coaches were extremely active in assisting victims of the flooding while they were also trying to return to a state of normalcy in their own lives. Many members of the team were among the displaced and had to relocate until the flood waters subsided.
“I think with the whole situation . . . the kids have learned a little bit more the reality of life,” said MacIntyre. “I think that’s a blessing for the future for them.”