Broncos

Here’s the thing about Phillip Lindsay

One of the amazing things about college football is the impact and legacy a player can leave on a town and a school in just four or five years. In some special cases, it seems like everybody on campus has a story about a guy. This is a collection of those stories.

Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Author’s note: One of the amazing things about college football is the impact and legacy a player can leave on a town and a school in just four or five years. In some special cases, it seems like everybody on campus has a story about a guy. This is a collection of those stories.

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Whistle.

Thump.

Whistle.

Thump.

Whistle.

Thump.

It’s Spring of 2012, and the sweet sounds of crashing pads are filling the crisp Colorado air on the practice fields at Denver South High School. The Rebels are finishing up practice with a classic: Oklahoma Drill.

The drill, designed to be a test of strength and will, usually pits lineman up against each other. If a skill position player is involved, they are usually there to essentially give the defensive player a target.

As the whistle continues to blow and the pads continue to pound, there’s one player who stands out, and he’s certainly not a lineman.

It’s No. 22, standing at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, throwing himself into the big boys, looking like a man possessed, and more than holding his own.

After a flurry of pops, grunts and other exasperations, the whistle blows once more, this time signaling the end of practice.

As the final huddle breaks, the high school junior heads towards the sideline, where local reporter Adam Munsterteiger awaits him for an interview. With his helmet and pads still locked on, he makes his way over with his signature, somewhat intimidating strut in full effect.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

The springtime grass crumbles under his cleats as he approaches.

Just as he gets close, he removes his helmet, only to unveil a mile-wide smile and a friendly, “Hello.”

“That’s when I was like, ‘Okay, this guy is cut from a different cloth,’ Munsterteiger says.

Meet Phillip Lindsay.

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Crack.

Oomph.

It’s a rare, rainy Boulder night in October of 2015 and Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau clutches onto his facemask—the back of his jersey firmly planted on the soaked grass—after getting laid out by a defender.

“We won’t name names,” Liufau says now.

Lindsay is not happy to see his quarterback on the ground.

It’s only a few plays later when the undersized running back harkens back to those Oklahoma drills at Denver South.

With his assignment in pass protection, No. 23—now weighing a bit closer to 190 pounds—loads up and take his shot at the nameless defender, who may or may not stand at well over 6-foot-5 and damn near 300 pounds.

Crack.

Oomph.

Before he knew it, Lindsay found himself in a position his quarterback had just become familiar with. But well before the mud could settle on the nameplate of his jersey, Lindsay was back on his feet. His helmet now planted firmly in the face—or chest—of the defender, giving him a piece of his mind.

“You better watch yourself,” the defender said, or so the story goes. “I’m going to the league.”

Of course, it didn’t stop Lindsay. Nothing could.

“He is always fearless, no matter the circumstances,” Liufau says. “Don’t let his size fool you, the man is an alpha male. He will give you everything he has each and every day.”

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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Flip.

Flop.

Flip.

Flop.

It’s the Winter of 2016, and members of Colorado’s athletic department have a smile on their face. They hear the sound of Lindsay’s Nike slides flopping around their floor of the program’s pristine facility known as the Champion’s Center.

As he makes his way through the halls, he pops his head in through each door frame, making a point to say hello to everybody from intern to secretary to assistant coach.

“How are you?” He asks one staffer.

“How’s your daughter?” He asks another, making a point to have a personal connection with each person on the floor.

Eventually, just as he came, he’s moved on to another part of the facility—probably the weight room.

“He is just the most genuine kid,” says assistant director of compliance, Abbey Shea.

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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Click click clickclickclick click click click.

It’s the Spring of 2016, and Phillip Lindsay is frantically crafting a text message.

He’s just come out of a meeting, and he’s once again perturbed about a situation involving his quarterback.

As Liufau attempts to recover from a Lisfranc injury he suffered late in the 2015 season, noise is building that incoming transfer Davis Webb is a shoe-in to take the starting job when he arrives in Boulder.

Lindsay, a member of Liufau’s recruiting class and an eternal believer in the senior to be, is not having it.

Knowing how a competitor like Liufau is probably feeling—his job seemingly being given away while he can’t even get on the field—the running back presses send.

It’s long message that, for the most part, will stay between the two Buffs, but the conclusion has since been revealed.

“No matter what, you’re my quarterback, and you’re going to be the reason why we win this year.”

Aside from its prophetic nature—as Webb eventually spurned the Buffs for Cal and Liufau went on to lead the Buffaloes to their best season in 15 years—the text was much needed at the time.

“I was taken back,” the QB explains, noting that Lindsay is more known for motivational speeches than long text messages.

It wasn’t long after that when Liufau finally got back on the field and regained his role as the team’s rightful leader.

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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Tick.

Tock.

Tick. 

Tock.

As the Colorado sky goes from black to purple, the clock strikes 5:30 AM.  It’s the Fall of 2017 and CU running backs coach Darian Hagan has just pulled into an empty coaches lot.

As he makes his way inside, thinking he’s the first one there, he hears a ruckus coming from the weight room.

No, it’s not a cleaning crew, it’s Phillip Lindsay, the underrecruited, too-small running back who, once written off because of a knee injury in high school, has now appeared in every single game in his CU career and holds the school record for all-purpose yards.

“For a guy to get 301 carries and every day he’s in there before every other coach and every other player,” Hagan says, “That tells you right there how serious he is and how committed he is.”

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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One of just three three-time captains in the 128-year football history at the University of Colorado.

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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In high school, he once rushed for 165 yards in one quarter… On a torn ACL.

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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“He would always bring so much energy to absolutely everything. I remember when we were coaching kids at the summer camps, he’d be literally sprinting up and down the sidelines going crazy during the games at the end.”

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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“In all my years of playing and coaching he is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve been around,” says CU offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini. “His passion for the game and his preparation to play at an elite level are why he will make the Denver Broncos football team.”

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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“Throughout his whole life, he’s been doubted. He’s a guy that when you doubt him, he takes it personally and right now he feels like he should have been drafted—I do too,” Hagan says. “I know for a fact the player they have is not going to get outworked by anybody. Once he puts his mind to something, he can achieve anything and that’s what he believes. He’s a guy that all the guys gravitate towards. He’s an exceptional leader, he’s a leader by example, he’s a vocal leader.”

That’s Phillip Linsday.

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The most passionate player I’ve ever been around?

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Insidelinebroncos

    May 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    That’s a awesome piece!!👍👍

  2. marks808

    May 15, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Catching up on all the recent articles. I’ve been looking forward to this piece and it didn’t disappoint.

    RK you’ve certainly managed to in a different way than usual, really paint a full picture of the man under the helmet and pads. It sounds like he embodies the exact type of player the Broncos needs at the right time, and a hometown kid to boot. I love this kind of player and I also hope he makes the team.

    Ryan any chance you can get an exclusive interview with him on the pod?

    Mark

    • Ryan Koenigsberg

      Ryan Koenigsberg

      May 15, 2018 at 10:59 pm

      Thanks for the kind words, Mark!

      I think we should be able to get Phil on the pod at some point, that’d be fun! Good idea!

  3. Loooooca

    May 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I was really looking forward to this piece and I think it’s amazing.
    Great job Ryan!!! I guess I’m ready to jump on the hypetrain…
    I saw some interviews with him and imo he has that special charisma – you see why everyone is talking so positive about him. Hopefully he gets a fair chance to make the team.

  4. LeviHunt

    May 11, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    You guys are getting me WAY too hyped up about an undrafted player lol. Hope you’re right!

  5. Boozey

    May 11, 2018 at 8:57 am

    damn keep writing stories like this and Lindsay’s gonna be my 1st round fantasy pick this year! So much hype!

  6. Nickgeyer813

    May 11, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Supreme Ryan! Just read this on my morning commute on a bus from arvada to Denver, sun rising orange with a background sky of blue.

  7. Litvakski

    May 11, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Do you think he can be a real impact player in the return game?

    • Ryan Koenigsberg

      Ryan Koenigsberg

      May 11, 2018 at 9:56 am

      He has the fearlessness you need to be a successful kick returner. Problem is the impact one can make in the kick return game is dependent on if the other team wants you to have a chance. Impact kick returners hardly exist anymore.

  8. Do_Ya_Like_Dags

    May 10, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Damn good write up RK! You did a spectacular job painting a picture of Phillip Lindsay’s tenacious attitude and intense drive to succeed. I can’t wait to see him laying it down and competing in camp! Phill’s hunger and passion for the game will surely push the entire running backs room to greater heights this season.

    • Ryan Koenigsberg

      Ryan Koenigsberg

      May 10, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it! I was just telling someone today that I’m just thankful to be able to continue watching him play ball. So many times you see these guys grow up and then they go off somewhere else and even if they succeed, you don’t get much of a chance to watch them.

      It’s going to be great to watch Phil try and make this team. Like Darian said, there is no chance that he will be outworked.

  9. TaylorHenry9

    May 10, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Always awesome to see a Colorado kid have success. The way he carried himself and the way he competed brought pride to me as a Coloradian. Awesome article. And he’s definitely going to make the Broncos.

    • Ryan Koenigsberg

      Ryan Koenigsberg

      May 10, 2018 at 10:50 pm

      As I’ve said a bunch on the pod. I agree that he’s going to make the team. Betting against him at this point just seems like a bad idea. Not to mention the door to the running back room is wide open.

  10. JDC15

    May 10, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Will make the Broncos, because he will do everything the coaches ask and do it well. No he won’t be a super star but he is a glue guy that will make everybody compete harder and set an example for holding himself accountable. Love that he is a Bronco.

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