Notes: Kronshage wins starting gig

Once the Buffaloes began preparation for Colorado State last week, junior Sam Kronshage began taking all of the reps with the first-team offensive line. And his standing as the starting right tackle was further confirmed when CU released its preseason depth chart on Saturday.

It is a shot of confidence,” Kronshage said of winning the starting gig. “That is what you are going out there to do, to compete and get an opportunity to play. So it feels good to do that but we're not where we want to be right now. We still have to keep working; still have to come out here and compete every day.”

Redshirt freshman Aaron Haigler and senior Shane Callahan have also spent time practicing at right tackle in the preseason. Kronshage believes his consistency, as well as his improved strength and technique, is what won him the job.

It was a good competition,” Kronshage said. “Aaron and I are good friends that push each other every day, which is nice. I am glad he was right there competing for it. Aaron is a young guy so he's still got a lot of time to play. I think he is going to be a hell of a player.”

Due to injuries on the offensive line the previous two seasons, Kronshage got an opportunity to play a total of 588 offensive snaps. Although there were five other offensive linemen that played more snaps than him in 2015, he had 37 knockdown blocks, 12 more than any of his offensive line mates.

Kronshage said the game action he saw an underclassman has allowed him to feel more comfortable and confident now. As the saying goes, there is no substitute for experience.

It is surreal when you go out there in a game for the first time with all the fans. It is such a different game experience in college than it is in high school,” he said. “Now that I gained that experience, I won't suffer from those jitters quite as badly.”

The struggles of last season's offensive line have been well documented. With a new position coach in Klayton Adams, and a new season on the horizon, the Buffaloes' hogs are not lacking for motivation.

We definitely want to prove something to a lot of people this year,” Kronshage said. “Last year wasn't our greatest year so we really want to go out there and perform. We're hungry to get back out on the field.”

Monday practice notes -

*** College basketball teams are allowed to scrimmage against other programs in the preseason, but football teams are not. Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre said he wishes they were allowed to scrimmage against an FCS opponent in the preseason in order to work out some kinks before the opener.

And therefore the [FCS] school could get the money and it would help their budget,” he added.

*** Marty English was the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Colorado State under Jim McElwain from 2012-14, and after serving as just the Rams' linebackers coach in their first season under Mike Bobo, he has returned to his role as defensive coordinator.

They did a great job against us [defensively] two years ago,” MacIntyre said when asked about English. “He was the defensive coordinator at Wyoming for a while. He is well known in our industry and does a great job. I know he'll have a great plan ready.”

*** The Rams are only returning one starter in their secondary. When asked if he thinks they will be able to exploit Colorado State's defense through the air on Friday night, MacIntyre was not willing to give the Rams any bulletin board material.

We've watched all the Junior College [defensive backs] they signed on film and they have some really good athletes,” MacIntyre said. “They had some freshmen last year that played. They'll have them ready to go. They signed some good players.”

*** In his third game with the Rams, after transferring in from Purdue, Dalyn Dawkins accounted for 177 yards of offense and one touchdown against the Buffaloes in last year's Rocky Mountain Showdown. Dawkins returns as Colorado State's top running back.

He is a heck of a runner,” MacIntyre said. “He did that in a lot of games I watched him on film. He is a quick, athletic, darter. He'll find it and boom, he pops out there quick. We have to rally to him and hopefully we can get off some blocks better and be able to stop him.

And the key to their running game is that offensive line is really good. They have all started [a lot of games] and they brought in [Paul Thurston], a transfer from Nebraska, to play at one of their guard spots. And then their quarterback [Nick Stevens] does a phenomenal job, he checks all the time, trying to get them in the right runs. He really understands the offense. We've got to be able to be sound in our defensive front and in our run fits, and also be able to tackle [Dawkins] in space.”

*** The Buffaloes will be hosting a press luncheon on Tuesday with MacIntyre, quarterback Sefo Liufau and defensive back Chidobe Awuzie set to talk to the media in a press conference setting.

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