BOULDER – To the surprise of many, sixth-year senior and starting left tackle, Jeromy Irwin, was inactive on Friday night when the Colorado Buffaloes took on Colorado State. Trotting out to start the game at left tackle was junior Josh Kaiser, who made his first start as a Buff.
“It was a great experience,” Kaiser said on his debut. “Of course, there were nerves going into the game. But as we got settled in I felt at home, I felt comfortable and caught up to the speed of the game pretty fast. From there we had a great first half and it felt good.”
The coaches also left impressed with Kaiser’s debut. He had the third-best grade on CU’s offensive line. And graded out well enough to win according to Mike MacIntyre.
“Josh, in his first start, definitely played well enough to win the football game,” MacIntyre said. “He had a winning grade. And I was excited about seeing that and the way that he competed. I told him after the game how proud I was of him to go out there and compete the way he did in his first start and I thought he did a good job.”
The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder attributes a lot of his success to none other than the guy who he filled in for.
“I can’t even begin to describe how much [the experienced offensive lineman]have helped me, especially in the spring,” Kaiser explained. “With Jeromy [Irwin] at guard, he helped me through a lot of the stuff, helped me hone my technique and my skills. And especially in this past game, every drive, Jeromy was helping me with something, always keeping me alert. And I can’t say how much I appreciate that from them.”
One of the biggest keys to success for an offensive line is chemistry. The line has to work as if they are one unit, so throwing a new lineman starting lineup can add a difficult wrinkle. But it’s something Kaiser didn’t notice during the CSU game as he has already built up chemistry with the guys next to him.
“The offensive line group is tight so I felt like going into that game me and Gerrad [Keough] have a lot of chemistry,” Kaiser said. “I’ve played next to him before, he’s taught me a lot of stuff so I knew what we needed to do, I knew I needed to communicate and come off the ball and play physical, and I feel like we did that. I feel like the chemistry between the whole o-line is pretty good.”
Kaiser might need that chemistry to continue over the next couple of weeks. MacIntyre has refused to give anything away regarding the suspension to Irwin so until MacIntyre says anything different, Kaiser is the guy tasked with protecting Steven Montez’s blindside. If week one is any indication, it’s a blindside that appears to be quite safe.