Q&A: Defensive coordinator Greg Brown

Colorado defensive coordinator Greg Brown often doesn't know who will be available and who won't when he steps on the practice fields this spring. Injuries have made player evaluations and establishing a depth chart a big challenge. Brown talked with us after Saturday's scrimmage in which his unit didn't play well.

How big of a problem are injuries for the Colorado defense right now?

Greg Brown "No question we've got guys banged up, but there is no excuse. It's our job whoever is there to go out on the field and perform. Today was disappointing. We did not do that. We did anything but that today."

You're 11 practices into spring ball. How would you assess how your guys are picking things up and their progress?

GB: "Guys are understanding the scheme. There really weren't a lot of blown assignments. It's more a case of guys not making plays. For the previous 10 practices, we've had our share of ups and downs and we've made our share of plays, but today in practice No. 11, we went out there and laid an egg and didn't make any plays. It really wasn't a case of blown assignments it was a case of being out-executed, out-techniqued, not making plays when we had the chance, and hey, the offense got the better of us today by a long shot."

In terms of the volume of material you're presenting your guys, coach Embree says the offense only has about 30 percent of the play book installed. How much is it for the defense?

GB: "More than that. We've got more of our stuff in probably, but as a defensive staff we have been pleasantly surprised this spring at the relatively few number of missed assignments. It' really hasn't been a case this spring of our guys blowing coverages, blowing blitzes, leaving somebody open. It's just been a case of being out-executed, especially today."

What do you want to see from your guys in this last week and these last four practices?

GB: "They've got to step up to the plate and answer the challenge. After today, to go out in front of a crowd of people and perform like that, is disappointing. Our guys have to take the challenge and understand, 'Hey, there is four practices left and this is my shot to show coach Embree and show the fans and show the defensive staff who I am and what I'm about.' Because we know after these four practices, the next time we get on the field, there are some freshmen reinforcements coming in and they want those jobs too."

The secondary is obviously always on your mind, not that the rest of the defense isn't, but what have you seen there?

GB: "Well, we're young. Our most mature, veteran leader is not on the field right now (Anthony Perkins). So it's hard for younger guys to step up because they are just trying to get it themselves, especially the new corners. We're older at safety than we are at corner and we're just not where we need to be"

Are there a few players who have stood out to you this spring when you look at the whole defense?

GB: "The leading candidates in our minds as a defensive staff, and I think the rest of the guys would agree with me, I'd say Conrado Obi and Doug Rippy. Obi has stepped up. He has played better than I've ever seen him. He's making more plays and moving better. He's in it now. Derrick Webb was until he got injured. Doug Rippy has been very impressive this spring. Yes, he has had his share of mistakes like all of us, but Doug is doing some things right, too. He's a big, heavy load when he brings it. He can tackle. He can blitz. He's understanding things better and better from two years ago when I was here. He reads pulls. Doug Rippy has doing nothing but impress us this spring. Ray Polk has stepped up, too. Jon Major is a cornerstone. He is steady. He's smart. He's tough. That wasn't a surprise to me this spring. Being here in the past with him, I know he was a good performer. The two who have stepped up their game since I've returned have been Rippy and Conrad Obi by a mile. Travis Sandersfeld and Josh Hartigan have both played well, too."


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