“It is always exciting to get going and get it rolling,” Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre said after practice No. 1 on Thursday morning. “The thing I am looking for is day five, day 10, day 12, to keep the same energy going.”
Colorado has suffered some attrition, however.
Caron Baham was a speedy 2016 signee that got homesick while going through the Buffaloes' Summer Bridge Program. He has a five-month old daughter named Cadence back home in the Bayou State.
The first person in his immediate family to earn a high school diploma, Baham missed his senior season at John Ehret due to a torn ACL, but he had made a full recovery and was expected to battle for a back-up role at cornerback in the Buffaloes' secondary.
After playing in 23 games as an underclassman, Tyler Henington suffered multiple injuries the last two years, including torn knee lingaments, a dislocated ankle and a fractured fibula. He was initially expected to compete as an outside linebacker during camp, but the former interior defensive lineman did not fit well into Jim Leavitt's defensive scheme.
Quarterback Sefo Liufau was not limited in his first practice back from the Lisfranc injury, which sidelined him for the final two-and-a-half games of the 2015 season.
“We'll watch film and we'll critique different things, but as far as him moving on his foot. … There wasn't one hiccup whatsoever,” MacIntyre said.
Jaleel Awini's biggest impact with likely be made as a starter on all of the Buffaloes' special teams units. And after splitting time between quarterback and wide receiver in the spring, Awini is working with Darrin Chiaverini's group during camp.
Samson Kafovalu is not expected to be further punished and will likely start opposite Jordan Carrell on the Buffaloes' defensive line when they open the season against Colorado State. N.J. Falo's three-game suspension means he will only play against Pac-12 opponents as a sophomore. He is expected to be an important depth piece at outside linebacker as well as a valuable special teams contributor. Falo and Dino Gordon both took a plea deal in a theft case earlier this summer. They were given two-year deferred sentences. If they can go two years without any new criminal charges, and fulfill the conditions of their deal, the guilty pleas will be withdrawn.
*** MacIntyre said having a more veteran team allows them to attack preseason camp differently than they have in the past.
“While you [still] have [installation] phases, they know it, it goes quicker and you can put more in and you can get to more individual fundamentals and that type of thing,” he explained. “You just crank it up another notch and you are able to to concentrate on the small details, rather than just the basic because they've got most of that.”
*** Former Buff defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe has transitioned from a role in the recruiting office and is now a defensive graduate assistant. Corey Edsall, John Hughes and Peter Tuitupou are CU's other graduate assistants for the 2016 season.
*** Preferred walk-on Chris Helbig is practicing at defensive back after initially being slated to play quarterback. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Helbig turned down multiple basketball and football scholarship offers from lower division programs when he decided to join the Buffaloes. During his prep career at Holy Family in Broomfield, he set the state record for most passing yards in a game.
"If there is a chance to get on the field, wherever it is, I will take that in a heartbeat,” Helbig previously told BuffStampede.com. “I just have a love for the game. If I am just finding time on special teams, no one will ever hear a complaint out of me. I will be out there and be happy to do anything. It is not about the position, it is about the opportunity to be able to run out onto Folsom Field."
*** The Buffaloes will conduct one of three preseason practices that will be open to the public and media on Friday morning. The practice is scheduled to run from 7-9 am on the lower practice fields.