CU's Obi finally getting chance

Now in his fifth year at Colorado, Conrad Obi getting opportunity to make impact.

Conrad Obi spent four years trying to impress the coaching staff at the University of Colorado.

For whatever reason, that didn't work out so well for the defensive tackle from Grasyon, Ga.

It hasn't taken Obi long to make an impression on CU's new staff, however.

The fifth-year senior is starting at nose tackle, and he got his most extensive playing time during last week's season opener in Hawaii. He was on the field for 35 plays, making three tackles and recovering a fumble.

"It was a lot of fun," the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder said. "It was five years coming. A lot of time invested and a lot things I wanted to do. I felt like I executed, but there's a lot more I can do."

Recruited by former head coach Dan Hawkins, Obi had trouble finding the field during his first four years in Boulder. He redshirted in 2007, but from 2008-10, he was on the field for just 99 total plays. As a junior in 2010, he played just 64 snaps in 10 games.

"I was pretty frustrated," he said. "It's hard when you're giving your best and you're not seeing the results you want. I mean, not even getting an opportunity, really, to get on the field."

He's getting that opportunity now. Last December, Jon Embree was hired as head coach. Embree then hired Mike Tuiasosopo and former Buff Kanavis McGhee to coach the defensive line.

With new eyes on him, Obi has shined.

"Coach Embree, coach Tui and coach McGhee are giving me an opportunity to see what I can do off of what they've seen in practice," Obi said. "I felt like before, I don't know if my coaches didn't trust what they were seeing or whatever, but the film doesn't lie and I put it on tape."

Frustrated in past years, Obi said thoughts of transferring entered his mind.

"I had thought about it, but at the end, I stayed here and it worked out fine," he said.

It just took a little longer than he expected. But, while Obi credits the new staff for recognizing his ability, he admits his play is better now, too.

"It's a combination of both," he said. "They're definitely giving me more of an opportunity, but also my play has been improving."

How much of an impact he makes this year remains to be seen, but Obi is confident -- and hopeful -- that it'll be a memorable year.

"I just want to be on the field as much as possible and build that," he said. "I want to make a lot of plays. I want to be a leader out there on defense.

"I just want to make my mark."

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