Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Quick Post: Defensive backfield on the road to recovery

If I had the ability to travel through time and magically fix one thing about the 2011 Colorado Buffaloes, I'd immediately change the federal disaster area that was the defensive backfield.  Of all the things wrong with the team that barely escaped the Pac-12 basement, that one factor, more than any other, became the team's Achilles heel.  Through injuries, suspensions, and last minute position switches, the Buffs took the field against some of the best passing offenses in the nation with what amounted to a Division-2 defensive backfield.

Mercifully, that painful situation has been addressed.

Injuries have healed, suspensions have been lifted, and, most importantly, reinforcements have arrived.  One of the primary recruiting efforts last season was finding immediate contributors on the edge, and that effort has proven successful.  Coach Embree and staff hauled in a total of five DB's, with the expectation that many of them would see plentiful, and immediate, playing time.

Enter the quartet of Kenneth Crawley, Yuri Wright, Jeffrey Hall, and Marques Mosley.  They bring with them an infusion of skill and athleticism that was sorely lacking last fall.  What's more, they arrived in Boulder with a predisposition to play the position at a high level:
"There are different ways you are going to play man, different ways you are going to play cover two, different zone pressures - these guys all get it. I hate using coach clich├ęs but they get it. From the jump, it all makes sense to them. It’s all natural for them. [...] For Coach Brown, that’s great because he can focus on technique and that says a lot." -link
It's both a combination of skill and need that these freshmen will be thrown into the fire so quickly.  Expect Crawley and/or Wright to start opening day, they're that impressive.  Hell, expect all four to play big minutes throughout the season.  If not for an injury, a fifth signee, John Walker, would also see plenty of the field. 

Combined with returning veterans Ray Polk, Parker Orms and Greg Henderson, the defensive backfield suddenly looks to be a strength.  While youthful mistakes will surely be abundant, having multiple scholarhsip athletes healthy and eligible at a position of need is a massive step in the right direction.  I expect exciting plays, both positive and negative, from this crew.

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