During his first two years on campus at CU, Brett Tonz spent time practicing at all three defensive line positions in the Buffaloes' scheme. The Arizona native was showing improvement and even got on the field for 16 defensive snaps and 39 special teams snaps as a redshirt freshman last fall.
But with Javier Edwards and Chris Mulumba transferring in on the the defensive line, Tonz approached the coaches with the idea to let him work on the offensive line this spring.
“I started at right tackle my senior year of high school, played both ways, so it is a little familiar,” Tonz said. “I brought the move up to the coaches because I just want to use my abilities to help out the team, and I thought this might help.”
When asked about Tonz and his performance at offensive guard this spring, Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre said he “has gotten a ton of reps and is getting better each day.”
“I believe he has a chance to help us there, for sure,” MacIntyre added. “The way I see it, it is a permanent move.”
With Gerrad Kough sidelined due to an ankle injury this spring, Tonz has been working primarily at his left guard spot, while also working some at right guard.
“If they ever need me on defense, I feel I am well-rounded enough that I could probably go back and be ready,” he said. “But right now I am definitely 100 percent going forward with the mindset that I am an offensive guard.
“I think I have pretty good feet, and being athletic, I think that has helped me develop a little quicker on offense. I am just trying to get the technique and the nuances of the position down.”
Tonz also had to change his mentality moving over to offense. He admits that was his main frustration early on during spring ball.
“On defense you get to go out and attack,” he said. “You still get to attack on some level as an offensive lineman, but it is a little bit different. You have to play with controlled aggression. But I am still in the trenches, grinding, which I like, so I make it work.”
Additional notes -
*** Due to some offensive linemen being banged up, including Kough and Isaac Miller, MacIntyre said they will not be able to scrimmage throughout the spring game event on March 18.
“We'll practice part of it and scrimmage part of it,” he said.
*** The surgery to repair Kyle Evans' hip injury “went as well as can be expected,” according to MacIntyre. The junior running back is expected to be released from the hospital on Thursday and “he'll be off it for a couple months.”
“It is too early to know,” MacIntyre said when asked if they expect Evans to be available to play in 2017. “It depends on how it heals. He is real compact, he has really got a good infrastructure of strength, so hopefully that will help.”
*** Donovan Lee has started to go back-and-forth between cornerback and running back this week with Evans out, and Michael Adkins has been taking advantage of extra reps. Now a fifth-year senior, Adkins has 1,175 career rushing yards but he has been sidelined with various injuries throughout a big portion of his college career. He only appeared in three games last year.
“Hopefully he'll stay healthy, because if he stays healthy, he is a very good football player. He can make a lot of plays for us,” MacIntyre said of Adkins. “He should have a great senior year and go out like he should. That is what I am expecting to happen with Michael. He has stayed healthy the entire spring and he has done well.”
*** The Buffaloes are scheduled to conduct their 10th practice of spring ball on Thursday morning.