Identity week went well for the Colorado offense.
In the six days and eight practices between the first scrimmage and the scrimmage that wrapped up fall camp on Saturday, the offense seemed to take some significant steps forward in its ability to execute, especially in the running game.
Of course, the first-team defense was missing captain Addison Gillam (shoulder) and a likely starter at defensive end in Derek McCartney (shoulder). It also is just now getting another likely starter back in junior defensive end Tyler Henington.
So Saturday's toe-to-toe with the first-team offense should be viewed through that lens.
Sefo Liufau remained comfortably ahead of Jordan Gehrke at quarterback after leading the Buffs to four touchdowns without a turnover compared with Gehrke's one touchdown and interception in Folsom Field on a toasty Saturday morning. In fairness to Gehrke, he was intercepted because of an exceptional play made in the secondary by freshman Evan White.
Coach Mike MacIntyre spoke to the crowd, that at one point seemed as big as some previous spring games, following the roughly 90-minute scrimmage. He thanked them for supporting the Buffs, who open the season Aug. 29 in Denver against Colorado State at Sports Authority Field.
Moments later he told reporters he likes where his team is now that two-a-days are over and the team will begin practicing more like it does in the season with players in the two-deep depth chart getting most of the reps.
"There were positives and negatives on both sides of the ball, which really as a head coach is what you want to see," MacIntyre said. "You don't want to see one side of the ball dominate the other completely."
CU did not release official scrimmage statistics and asked media members not to use specific data reporters might have been tracking.
Based on interviews with coaches, it is safe to say the staff feels good about how Liufau and Gehrke are playing and progressing behind center and they're excited to see what the Flatiron Foursome at running back can do this season.
Sophomore running back Michael Adkins started the scrimmage and had his moments along with Christian Powell, Tony Jones and redshirt Phillip Lindsay, who continued to open eyes with hard running and two touchdowns.
"I'm going to be a game-changer out there I feel like," Lindsay said. "They're going to be able to put me in and people don't even know about me. They don't know what I have."
MacIntyre said he feels good about his stable of running backs and feels all four of them "can run the ball in the Pac-12."
Coaches believe they can stay "fresh" in the backfield this season if the running backs stay healthy.
"They all four run hard," MacIntyre said. "So there is not one that you would be afraid to put inside and run inside."
While the offense seemed to win the day to wrap up camp, the defense had its moments. White's interception was one of two turnovers forced. Jones also fumbled in the red zone.
"We really learned how to play physical and really be mentally tough," senior captain Juda Parker said. "As far as what we hang our hats on, turnovers rev our engine. That's something we've really emphasize throughout camp and it's something we've really progressed on."
MacIntyre and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren each said they were satisfied with the tempo of the offense. MacIntyre said they will modify the tempo the Buffs play at this season depending on opponents and game situations, but the base approach is to be an up-tempo team.
Lindgren said he was happy to have 'clean' changes in personnel groups throughout the scrimmage and good communication in his play call from the press box being signaled in correctly from the sideline.
One focus for the Buffs throughout the offseason has been improving offensively in the redzone, particularly when it comes to the running game. Lindgren said he believes the Buffs are improving there.
"I think overall we've got some more depth," Lindgren said. "I think we're more physical upfront and I think you look across the board, and, other than receiver where we're breaking in some young guys, we're bigger and faster and stronger."