CU's Polk wants to make big plays

Colorado's Ray Polk has started every game for the Buffs the past two seasons, but has yet to produce game-changing plays. He hopes to change that.

BOULDER -- Since the start of the 2010 season, Ray Polk has been as steady as anyone in a University of Colorado uniform.

He has played 1,036 defensive snaps (out of a possible 1,058) since the 2010 opener. In that time, he's been in on 93 tackles, making his presence known at free safety.

"I've played definitely with a lot of a passion, a lot of intensity and I try to show that on the field," the 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior from Scottsdale, Ariz., said.

Something is missing, though. Four games into this season, Polk is probably best remembered for a pair of late-hit personal fouls he was flagged for in the first two games.

That's not exactly the big impact he's looking for.

"The biggest thing now is I need to start looking toward big plays, game-changing plays and step up into that role and be the player I can be," he said.

As solid as Polk has been for the Buffs defense, he doesn't have any big plays to his credit. He has yet to intercept a pass, sack a quarterback, force a fumble or recover a fumble in a CU uniformm.

"You can be a solid, good player and it could come down to, 'Did you get that interception?'" he said.

Polk certainly doesn't want the big plays for his own glory. Lack of big plays is an issue for the entire defense. CU has intercepted just one pass and forced just two fumbles all season.

"The biggest thing is we've got to start making big plays for our team as a whole," he said. "We need that. If we're going to win games, we have to have it."

Could Polk be the guy to deliver those big plays? That remains to be seen, but he did come to CU to be a play-maker. In fact, he came to CU as the 11th-rated running back prospect in the country.

After redshirting in 2008, however, he switched to safety.

"Honestly that was the best decision I ever made and I've never looked back since," he said.

Although just a junior, Polk is now becoming a leader for the Buffs. When fellow safety Anthony Perkins -- well known as CU's field general on defense -- went down with a knee injury in 2010, Polk had to step into that role a bit.

"It helped me grow a lot as a player and understand where I fit on this team," he said. "It was awful that Perk got injured, but it helped me progress."

Polk is getting better in that role and will be counted on heavily in 2012, when Perkins is gone. For now, Polk isn't worried about 2012. He's focused on helping the Buffs win and making a bigger impact personally.

"You can't ever get comfortable where you're at," he said. "You've always got to keep improving."

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