What to watch for: Colorado's Black and Gold Spring Game

It's a new era in Boulder as the first spring practice under head coach Mike MacIntyre concludes with a big unveil for the Buffaloes faithful.

Colorado kicks off a busy day on Pac-12 Networks with a 9:30 a.m. PT/10:30 a.m. MT start for their annual Black and Gold spring game, the first of five spring games to see air time that day. With many positions open due to graduation or the fact that there's a new coaching staff, there will be plenty of building blocks laid at Folsom Field as the public gets an in-depth look at the new program.

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Here are a few things to keep an eye on as the Buffs wrap things up this spring:

The return of Paul Richardson

Wide receiver Paul Richardson is one of the top players on the team and one of a few who could throw his name into the hat for an all-conference mention in the fall. He's returning from a significant knee injury but has shown flashes of being a top-notch Pac-12 player so far this spring. Looking for a big bright spot that could warm the hearts of fans watching on a chilly Saturday morning? A big play or two out of the explosive Richardson could be just the trick.

[Related: Spring football TV schedule]

QB derby

Don't expect much to be settled under center with talented freshman Sefo Liufau tossing his name into the mix in a few months. Still, one never knows if a guy just flashes "it" as spring practice concludes to create some separation (and much needed momentum) heading into the offseason. Shane Dillon is somebody that fans and coaches have high hopes for as an Elite 11 quarterback who has been trained by noted guru George Whitfield. Senior Jordan Webb has a ton of game experience and a Pac-12 win under his belt, but will sit out 2013 after tearing his ACL in practice. Transfer Connor Wood and junior Nick Hirschman also are in the mix as all four quarterbacks are getting equal reps with a new staff trying to determine who gives them the best opportunity to win.

[Related: Colorado 2013 football schedule]

Positive progress

MacIntyre has been there, done that with a talent-deficient roster. He knows how to build at places that haven't seen a lot of recent success. That's why there needs to be progress at all positions this spring heading into the fall. The young secondary that saw plenty of action has to be better. The same goes for the offensive line, which will need to replace several key pieces. Something has to happen in the middle of the defense at linebacker as well. It's a lot to conquer - especially given a number of position switches for the Buffs this spring - but bottom line is there has to be progress in all areas if this team is to get back to a path where it's competing for South Division titles and restoring some luster on a great college football brand.

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