It's looking like all four players listed at the position in the two-deep depth chart could see action against the Rams and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes continues to try to sort out who the best options are for the majority of the playing time. Grimes hasn't said who will start and he might not make that announcement at all this week, choosing instead to let everyone know when the Buffs' offense takes the field for the first time.
Grimes has said he is not opposed to rotating guys on different series until two separate themselves as the clear choices. Junior Devin Head and redshirt freshman Shawn Daniels are fighting for the right guard spot and redshirt freshman Blake Behrens and true freshman Max Tuioti-Mariner are battling at left guard.
Tuioti-Mariner is one of the biggest surprises of August for the Buffs because he has been able to overcome a severe knee injury suffered in spring 2007 to return and play at a high level. The injury required reconstructive surgery and Tuioti-Mariner hadn't been on the field in live action in 16 months when camp began. If he had any rust, he got rid of it quickly.
"I'm happy cause I get to play at least," Tuioti-Mariner said.
Though he has impressed his teammates with strong play and aggressive blocking, Tuioti-Mariner said it hasn't been easy for him to make the transition to the college game. He said the pace of CU's no-huddle offense has taken some getting used to and learning the plays has been a challenge.
"It's a pretty big challenge for me right now just learning the plays," he said. "I thought it was going to be really, really hard, doing the no-huddle stuff, but I'm adjusting and getting better and better."
Tuioti-Mariner said he is in much better shape now than we he arrived in Boulder in late July. He has lost some weight but he's mindful not to lose too much. He said he is healthy and his knee hasn't given him too many problems in camp, other than some swelling at times.
Daniels, the brother of former CU lineman and four-year starter Brian Daniels, said he believes there is a chance the season could begin with guards rotating. He also said he doesn't feel any anxiety about Grimes waiting to make a decision during game week, because he is confident his coach will make the right choice.
"Whoever he chooses to put in is going to be the best for the team," Daniels said. "That's the main goal, you know, to win. I would love to rotate, but if he wants to play Devin the whole time, that's great."
Daniels began his career at CU last year practicing at both guard and center. He still gets a little work in at center, but the backup to Daniel Sanders this season is expected to be Keenan Stevens or Behrens.