Keeney was used almost exclusively as a pass catching tight end his first two years on campus, and now going into his redshirt sophomore campaign, he has been practicing some with his hand in the ground.
“He has been making some plays at the in-line Y position and the flexed out Y so he is doing really well there,” Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre said Keeney. “He is also helping on special teams. He just has to keep coming on. He is a good weapon.”
Said Keeney: “I am just trying to get better on every cylinder of my game. I am trying to get a little more involved in the blocking scheme. And as far as passing goes, I have been doing a lot better job of that this fall, and even in the spring. I have taken a big step forward with my routes, with my hands, with my eyes; every part of it.”
At 6-foot-6, 220-pounds, Keeney can certainly create mismatches with his size. Five of his six catches last season resulted in a first down, but his opportunities were limited.
Keeney is confident he can help the offense out on a more consistent basis this fall.
“I came out here in camp and I am making a lot of plays. I am catching a lot of balls and I haven't dropped too many at all,” Keeney said. “I think I have given the coaches enough trust to put me in the game, but we have a ton of playmakers out there, so it is just about making the most of your opportunities.”
Tuesday practice notes:
*** When talking about film review of Saturday's scrimmage, and while talking about the Buffaloes' scrimmage work during Tuesday's practice, Mike MacIntyre used the word physical a total of five times. The head coach's encouragement with the physicality of his 2016 squad is certainly becoming a common theme during his post-practice media scrums.
“We scrimmaged a lot today and I thought it went well. And nobody got hurt at all so it went well,” MacIntyre said of Tuesday's action. “We scrimmaged for a good hour-and-20 minutes. Of course they have camp legs but they didn't act like it, so they pushed through it.”
*** Junior Bryce Bobo, who has settled back into his role at X-receiver after going both ways to begin camp, was one of the stars of Tuesday's scrimmage. Kabion Ento has also been making plays on a consistent basis, indicating the Buffs' should have improved depth at receiver this fall.
“That is good because they can't just key on one receiver. All of the [receivers] have had really good days, so it is exciting to see,” MacIntyre said.
*** While improving in the red zone has been the main emphasis for the offense this preseason, and the defense has been working hard to try to improve its tackling. Just how do you improve tackling when your live reps are limited?
“In our drills we do a lot of wrapping up and angle tackles and tackling dummies and getting off of blocks, simulating game situations without piles,” MacIntyre explained. “You have to do that in today's football where you can't wear pads some days. You have to simulate it at full speed without tackling [to the ground].”
MacIntyre admitted even if they improve their tackling substantially, they won't be able to eliminate missed tackles altogether.
“In our league you have to make open field tackles, and in our league you are going to miss every once in a while so the next guy has to get there. That is just the way it is,” he said. “I hear a lot of people say in major college football it seems like they don't tackle as well as they used to. Well, the game spread out more. It is not in a box anymore. You notice a missed open field tackle more. Percentage wise, we do need to improve our tackling, though.”
*** The Buffaloes have just five more practices during the camp portion of the preseason, including their final two-a-day on Wednesday. Before classes begin at CU on Monday, MacIntyre said he would like to see them shore up their coverage units on special teams.