Competition continues

Offensive line coach Denver Johnson is continuing to evaluate players at several positions and is dealing with injuries at others. All of it will dictate who plays on Saturday when the Buffs play at Cal. Get inside for more.

Denver Johnson said competition continues at left guard and right tackle in Week 2 and if not for an injury to backup center Shawn Daniels, it would be ongoing at center as well.

Johnson said junior Mike Iltis is pushing fellow junior Ethan Adkins for the starting job at left guard. Both players played there in the season opener against Colorado State.

Some of the old problems that caused Adkins to lose his starting job at the end of last season showed up again in the win over the Rams.

"We graded out pretty well," Johnson said. "I thought we had, in general, a pretty good day. There are some things there that are very concerning and disappointing to you. We had four penalties that were attributed to our bunch, three false starts and a tripping penalty. You don't like to see that.

"I thought our protection held up pretty good. We got our feet tangled up one time and had a man down and gave up a pressure that turned into a sack. Overall, it was kind of a typical first game."

David Bakhtiari made the first start of his college career at right tackle and Johnson was pleased with what he saw from the redshirt freshman.

"He did, I thought, amazingly well for a rookie," Johnson said. "I thought he held up amazingly well. I thought he had a good ball game. I think he is the right kind of guy with the right kind of makeup. It looked like it was old hat to him."

Third-year sophomore Bryce Givens has been injured much of the past three weeks, but was able to get in the game at the end of the fourth quarter and play a little. Johnson said as Givens continues to get back to full speed, competition with Bakhtiari will get heated once again.

"That gives us two great candidates there, and as we go and start looking, if we feel like maybe we need to move someone down inside, that gives a candidate there with Bakhtiari possibly moving inside."

Johnson said he will be evaluating what he wants to do at left guard between Iltis and Adkins. Getting Givens and Jack Harrie back to health could add to the competition. Harris and Bakhtiari could move to guard if Johnson believes they will make the unit better.

"There is a competition there," he said.

Shawn Daniels suffered a foot injury and will likely miss at least a week, meaning Iltis is now the backup center to Keenan Stevens.

Johnson said prior to the injury, Daniels was pushing Stevens for playing time and actually earned some against CSU.

"He is competing for the starting job," Johnson said. "There is a competition there. Keenan has some great attributes, as does Shawn, but Shawn is injured right now. ...Certainly Shawn was in the ball game. We wanted to get him in the ball game and basically sort of split time there and then let the results dictate how that would be divided up from that point forward.

"I'm not disappointed at all in Keenan, but certainly that was a competition and I hate that Shawn is banged up now."

Johnson said Gus Handler and Daniel Munyer also are practicing at center, but right now Iltis is the backup center and backup left guard.

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