Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre gets ready to run out to the field with his team at the Spring Football Game in March.

Turning around those turnovers

Colorado went 2-10 on the football field last fall and there are plenty of areas where improvement is needed after such an ugly year.

Rushing defense and rushing offense are near the top of the list. Limiting big plays is another. But if coaches could choose one area to make a big jump in a positive direction in 2015, it undoubtedly would be in the number of turnovers forced by the defense.

CU forced just 11 turnovers last season, the fewest in a single season since the program began keeping track in 1946. The Buffs finished the season minus-10 in turnover ratio, the fourth-worst performance since 1946, ranking 115th nationally.

Every football coach under the sun says they emphasize the importance of turnovers, including coach Mike MacIntyre. He has said it’s a big area of emphasis in three training camps in which he has been the Buffs’ head coach, but last season the turnovers just didn’t come.

MacIntyre says he believes they will come more frequently in 2015 based on what he has seen on the practice fields and what he emphasized in the offseason in terms of the entire team getting bigger and stronger. Only time will tell if he is right.

Turnovers play such a huge part in every game and each season not just because of the change in momentum a turnover provides. Turnovers forced by the defense can make things dramatically easier on the offense.

For instance, last season the Buffs ranked 114th nationally in average starting field position, starting drives at their own 27.7-yard line. A few more turnovers, especially those created in the opponent’s territory, could significantly improve that number and help the offense score more points.

—Kyle Ringo,

Strong like Buff

CU is playing a 13-game schedule this year and will not have a bye week. CU and Hawaii are the only two teams in the country that will play 13 consecutive weeks this season.

Mike MacIntyre is taking a unique approach to naming captains for his team this year.

This summer, the Colorado head football coach said that he will select four captains for each game this year, with those four being picked from a 12-player leadership group.

“We have 12 guys on our leadership council that are seniors and juniors,” MacIntyre said. “We even have a sophomore in there. I’m meeting with those guys multiple times during camp and definitely once or twice a week during the season. I’ll rotate four of those guys each game to be a team captain. That way we have more guys out there leading, more guys that have voices and we’re developing more of a cohesive group.”

MacIntyre has not announced which players comprise that leadership council. It was a group, however, that was carefully elected by the players.

“I did an education system to the young men on what to look for in captains and what to look for in leaders, and how to be a leader,” MacIntyre said. “We have leadership meetings that we have within our athletic department that I send guys to. We have them within our team. I’ve been getting a lot of information from (CU sports psychologist Chris Bader) and talked to some great leaders, too.”

So far, MacIntyre said he feels the idea of the leadership council has been well received by his team.

“The guys are excited about it, the team is excited about it,” he said. “That gives more young men a platform to realize all the guys on the team believe in them.”

Preparing for the grind

CU is playing a 13-game schedule this year and will not have a bye week. Because of that, MacIntyre has altered his weekly schedule a bit.

“Instead of having Sundays off this year, we’re going to have Mondays off,” he said.

Players don’t have morning classes, so that will allow them to sleep in on Mondays, MacIntyre said.

“That will give them more time to recover and relax and get ready for the week,” he said.

CU and Hawaii are the only two teams in the country that will play 13 consecutive weeks this season.

Brian Howell:

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