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Pac-12 preview: Coach Mike MacIntyre reshaping the Colorado Buffaloes

Published: Friday, Aug. 1 2014 10:46 p.m. MDT

Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre shouts to his team in the second quarter during an NCAA college football game against Utah Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rick Bowmer, AP

Editor's note: This is the sixth in a series previewing the Pac-12 football season.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Mike MacIntyre isn’t the man he used to be. The Colorado coach has shed more than 55 pounds since last season.

MacIntyre explained that if he didn’t take care of himself, he couldn’t take care of everybody else.

After one season in Boulder, Colorado, MacIntyre has every reason to spread himself thin. He’s in the midst of building a program. The Buffaloes are coming off a 4-8 campaign, including a 1-8 mark in Pac-12 play.

“We’re excited about the future at Colorado,” MacIntyre said. “The future is now for a football coach always.”

MacIntyre noted that ground has already been broken on a new $143 million football facility and stadium renovations are underway.

Things are changing at CU.

It remains to be seen, though, if MacIntyre can transform things as quickly as he did at San Jose State. He took the Spartans from 1-11 to 10-2 in a span of three seasons.

OFFENSE: Junior wide receiver Nelson Spruce is the go-to guy now that Paul Richardson has moved on to the NFL. Spruce caught 55 passes for 650 yards last season. Quarterback Sefo Liufau is back for an encore after a successful freshman season. He appeared in eight games and threw for 1,779 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Colorado’s ground game has a one-two punch with junior Christian Powell and sophomore Michael Adkins II, who rushed for 562 and 535 yards, respectively, in 2013.

The offensive line has three returning starters. Senior tight end Kyle Slavin is also back.

CU was last in the Pac-12 in total offense in 2013 with 369.9 yards per game.

DEFENSE: There’s good news and bad news for the Buffs. On the positive side, they have eight returning starters, including Pac-12 tackles leader Addison Gillam. The sophomore linebacker topped the conference with 8.9 stops per game last season. Senior cornerback Greg Henderson is another player to watch. He had a team-high four interceptions.

On the negative side of things, Colorado’s defense — as a whole — struggled in 2013. The Buffaloes were last in the league in rushing defense (208 ypg) and sacks (17). They ranked 11th in scoring defense (38.2 ppg) and total defense (468 ypg).

SPECIAL TEAMS: Senior kicker Will Oliver made all 30 of his PATs and was 17 of 24 on field goal attempts. ... Senior punter Darragh O’Neill was tied for fifth in the Pac-12 last season with a 40.5 yards-per-punt average. ... Colorado ranked 12th in the conference in kickoff coverage at 36.2 yards.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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