Notes: Oliver ready for increased role

When the Buffaloes are in their nickel package, which is a majority of the time, cornerback Isaiah Oliver is the only member of the first-team defense with less than eight college starts under his belt.

But after playing 216 defensive snaps as a true freshman, then starring in Colorado's spring game in April, Oliver feels he is ready for the challenge that awaits him. He will be on the field a lot this fall.

I feel like fall camp went really well,” he said.

Oliver credits his improved confidence for his ability to be more consistent during practices this preseason.

I feel like most freshmen come in and the first time they step out on the field, they don't know they can play with the guy across from them,” he said. “So after you get your feet wet and you know that you're either as good or better than that guy that is across from you, that helps your game tremendously.”

Oliver also gained confidence this spring when he competed in track and field. Despite limited practice time, in just his second meet, he earned All-Pac-12 honors by finishing seventh in the decathlon at the Pac-12 Championships.

I always feel like track helps when I come back out for football,” he said. “And being able to compete at the college level in the Pac-12 definitely helped my confidence in terms of how athletic I feel I am.”

Oliver certainly has the athletic qualities needed to be a top-level cornerback in the Pac-12, but he is trying to refine his technique.

Staying low in my backpeddle and staying low out of my breaks is something we work on every day,” he said. “Being taller corners that is something Ahkello [Witherspoon] and I struggle with.”

Behind Oliver, Witherspoon and Chidobe Awuzie, the Buffaloes do not have established depth at cornerback. Three true freshmen – Anthony Julmisse, Ronnie Blackmon and Trey Udoffia – have been running with the second-team defense.

I would say Julmisse has impressed me the most just because of the amount of time he has spent with us and how quickly he has been able to catch on despite doing both defensive back and receiver,” Oliver said. “And then Ronnie Blackmon has also done a lot of great things. He has quick feet and he is very fast so that helps.”

Additional notes -

*** The Buffaloes conducted their first practice on their new outdoor field on Saturday morning.

The grass is awesome and it is a good location. We come right up from the indoor [practice facility] so it worked out well,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “The guys don't have to walk up and down the hill so we got five minutes less to walk, which is nice.”

MacIntyre confirmed they will utilize the outdoor and indoor fields simultaneously during practice often.

*** Junior offensive tackle Sam Kronshage fielded a punt at practice on Friday night so a reporter jokingly asked MacIntyre if he is in line to return punts this season.

Yeah, we're going to put Sam back there to return punts,” MacIntyre said with a smile. “No, we had a contest last night. He kept bragging he could catch one so he did. It was good.”

*** The Buffaloes' Sports Information Department released an updated depth chart on Saturday. Jay MacIntyre is listed as the top punt returner, Phillip Lindsay and Tony Julmisse are listed as the top kick returners, and Kronshage is listed as the top right tackle. To see the full depth chart, CLICK HERE.

*** With Sunday being the team's day off, the Buffs now have just four more practices before the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

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