The leaders on the Colorado football team pledged in the summer that no matter what happened this season quitting would not be tolerated the way it was at times in 2012.
The Buffs have been true to their word with two-thirds of the season gone and some difficult results to absorb.
While the scores of games have been similar to last season, the demeanor and attitude of the team almost seems to be improving as the season goes along. The Buffs showed as much determination and fight in their 13th consecutive Pac-12 Conference loss Saturday at UCLA as they have all season.
In interviews afterward, safety Parker Orms, wide receiver D.D. Goodson, quarterback Sefo Liufau and linebacker Addison Gillam all spoke in positive tones about the progress they believe they are making despite the losing.
"I'm out there and I can just taste it in my mouth, the win," Orms said. "When it falls short, it's just not a good feeling at all. But I can taste it and it's right there. We've got to look at the film and see what happened exactly but we're this close I feel like."
The signs of progress are small enough that it's likely only CU fans and close observers around the Pac-12 Conference and college football are noticing. For instance, CU has rarely made conference games competitive after halftime but it has managed to keep two consecutive contests competitive before ultimately falling to Arizona and UCLA.
Senior offensive lineman Jack Harris said the team has taken its cues from its head coach.
"I think we're just focusing on playing as hard as we can every single play and not getting down on ourselves if the momentum goes against us on the first play of the game and letting it get out of hand like we kind of did last year a little bit," Harris said. "We just keep playing and it's good to see."
Harris said MacIntyre's 'aura' is one of unbridled positivity. That doesn't mean MacIntyre doesn't get angry or frustrated by the results. Recent weeks have provided examples of that.
MacIntyre criticized his defensive line play in a halftime interview with KOA during the Charleston Southern game and when he was fiery and emotional in his postgame press conference after losing to Arizona.
But even when he is critical or angry, he generally follows it up with a final, positive thought for his team.
"You've got to have some positive outlook," MacIntyre said. "I mean, of course they're down, of course they understand they've got to improve. I think we're playing extremely hard. ... I think we keep battling. I think there's a little more excitement. I think we're moving the ball pretty good and we're making some stops on defense. We ust got to make consistent stops and knock the ball down when it's up in the air sometimes."
The Buffs will try to snap their losing streak and take a step toward keeping their bowl hopes alive in a second straight road game this week at Washington. CU is 3-5 overall and 0-5 in Pac-12 play and must win three of its final four to reach the postseason for the first time since 2007.
The Buffs practiced for approximately one hour Sunday night and reviewed film of the UCLA game. MacIntyre said his team emerged from the game with no new serious injuries and he expects to have freshman running back Michael Adkins II back in the rotation against the Huskies.