BOULDER – With spring break in the rearview mirror and the countdown underway to the annual spring game, the Colorado Buffaloes returned to work on Monday morning to begin their final eight practices.
Coach Mike MacIntyre said all but one player who finished the first seven practices returned and were “fresh-legged . . . we had a good, lengthy practice in gorgeous weather.”
MacIntyre said he met with Kirk Poston, a senior-to-be at defensive end, the day before spring break began (March 21) and was told by Poston that he plans to finish one course in June, graduate and enroll in graduate school.
A 6-1, 255-pounder from Houston (St. Pius X), Poston played in nine games last fall and made 11 tackles (eight solo, three for losses). Poston played in 11 games – including three starts – in his sophomore season (2012) and made 20 tackles (16 solo, six for losses that included four QB sacks, and five third-down stops).
At Poston’s position, MacIntyre singled out two players who showed well during the first half of spring work. He said freshman Derek McCartney, a 2013 grayshirt who is now a freshman, and junior-to-be Tyler Henington have “had the best springs of the defensive ends.”
MacIntyre said he “was hoping” the 6-3, 245-pound McCartney would begin to assert himself. “He’s gotten quicker and stronger. He’s a 19- going on 20-year-old freshman, which is a good deal.”
Henington, a 6-2, 245-pounder, played in 12 games last season and recorded eight tackles (six solo, with one third-down stop and three QB pressures).
CU also has signed a defensive end – Leo Jackson from Foothill College in Los Altos, Calif. – who is expected to be available for the 2014 season. Jackson (6-3, 275) will have four years to complete three seasons of eligibility.
MacIntyre characterized him as “real athletic and bright . . . you look for those guys; we know so many JC coaches that we’re able to find qualifiers that are bright and their bodies have grown since they’ve been in college for a year.”
He added that Jackson, who played at North High School in Atlanta, had been “out a year before that, so he’s going to be a 20-year-old sophomore” when he arrives at CU this summer.
A general upgrade at defensive end and rushing the passer are two of the Buffaloes’ defensive spring goals, MacIntyre said. Also, he wants his defense to improve on third down and in the red zone – a pair of pre-spring goals that haven’t changed.
Offensively, he said the search continues for a cadre of receivers “that are going to do the bulk of the playing for us.” Replacing Paul Richardson, MacIntyre reiterated, “will take a couple of the guys . . . we just have to find out when we put them in different situations during the second half of spring and see who makes plays on the ball.
He mentioned redshirt freshmen Bryce Bobo and Elijah Dunston, sophomore-to-be Devin Ross and freshman newcomer Lee Walker as having had eye-catching springs thus far.
The plan is to have the top receivers identified when spring ball ends. “I hope so,” MacIntyre said, adding that the candidates will be given looks in “enough situations . . . we’ll have certain plays called at certain times and throw certain guys in so we can see who makes the plays.”
CU’s spring game is set for Saturday, April 12 (noon, Pac-12 Network) at Folsom Field with Healthy Kids Day scheduled to begin at about 1:30 p.m.
NOTEWORTHY: Former CU offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus (2003-07) addressed the Buffs in their first team meeting following spring break. Polumbus, who has played with three NFL teams (Broncos, Seahawks, Redskins), was a second-team All-Big 12 coaches selection as a CU senior. The Cherry Creek High School product earned a $190,601 bonus for his play last season with Washington . . . . T.C. McCartney, who spent last season as a graduate assistant (offense), has been hired by the Cleveland Browns in their quality control department. “He wanted to get into pro ball, so it’s a good opportunity for him,” MacIntyre said . . . . Running backs Christian Powell and Michael Adkins returned to practice Monday, but were still “a little limited” by previous injuries, according to MacIntyre. “They made some full-speed runs (and) Christian looked good to me, to the naked eye; we’ll find out on film. The tell-tale sign will be (Tuesday) morning when they wake up, what kind of (knee) swelling they have – hopefully none.” . . . . Sporting “U” jerseys Monday were offensive lineman Daniel Munyer and linebackers Woodson Greer and Addison Gillam, who earned the “uncommon” designation for plays made in the final scrimmage before spring break.