CU Buffs staying focused despite uncertain football season

Contrary to popular belief, junior defensive back Chris Miller and the rest of the Colorado football team don’t have any inside information on the status of the Buffaloes’ 2020 season.

“We’re just keeping our head down and we’re going to work like Sept. 5 we will be playing,” he said. “That’s all I can say and do, and just hope that happens.”

With the status of the college football season up in the air following the Pac-12’s announcement that its schools will play a conference-only schedule and postpone the start of mandatory team activities, the Buffs are just trying to stay positive.

“At this point, it’s really just funny seeing like, ‘Oh we’re gonna have a season, we’re not gonna have a season,’” junior running back Alex Fontenot said. “It’s always back and forth. We really don’t take anything too serious until we get an actual confirmation on things”

Part of the return to normal includes a consistent workout schedule, albeit with smaller, socially distant groups. Fontenot said he and the skill players run every day and lift weights three times a week. Colorado’s competitive atmosphere also continued with players comparing speed scores until the team stopped posting them.

Fueled by months of inactivity and the loss of spring and at least part of fall camp, Fontenot said the desire and passion of the players has been apparent during voluntary workouts.

“Nobody’s done anything significant really football-wise,” he said. “So that really puts a drive in people to go to these workouts and try to get better.”

Miller misses Texas return

In a perfect, coronavirus-free world, Colorado would have played its full schedule, including nonconference games against Colorado State, Fresno State and Texas A&M. And in that world, Miller would have insisted on a detour in the Lone Star State.

“I wanted to go back and play a game in Texas and get some Whataburger on the way home,” he said.

The Denton, Texas, native said he understands why the games were cancelled, but still wishes they could have played the entire schedule. Losing the matchup in his home state, where Miller said he was expecting to have friends and family in attendance, was also tough for the junior, but he will be happy to play whenever Colorado gets on the field.

“I was looking forward to playing all of them,” he said. “I’m really excited for every game. I just want to lock in every game and play my best and show the world that I can play. Any game, any opportunity to play I’m ready for.”

Footnotes. Amid all the other transitions happening in Boulder, Miller is also making a position change, moving from cornerback to safety. He said his physicality and communication have made the move fairly smooth. … Miller said the defense was excited about the return of coordinator Tyson Summers, who retained his role despite being hired by former Buffs head coach Mel Tucker. “I think he’s a great DC in my opinion,” Miller said of Summers. “And all the new coaches we’ve had, they’ve all brought a bunch of new knowledge to us and we’ve all loved it.” … Fontenot likes the drive he’s seen from the running backs room so far. He especially likes the growth he’s seen from sophomore Jaren Mangham. “He had to realize things might not always go his way,” Fontenot said. “He’s slowly learning, still has some things to learn but I know his mind. His mind is in a good place and so with that being said I know he’s going to do all he can to be the next man up.”

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