Polk becoming leader for Colorado

Limited by injuries in the spring, Ray Polk worked on his mental game and his leadership abilities.

Ray Polk didn't get to do much during the spring.

Injuries to his sternum and wrist limited his activity on the field. It was still a productive spring for Colorado's senior safety, however.

"I was getting a feel for being a leader out there and being one of the old guys," he said.

A product of Scottsdale, Ariz., Polk is entering his fifth season with the Buffaloes and it's finally his turn to be one of the leaders.

"I'm the oldest guy in the secondary and I've been around awhile," he said. "I think it's time that I brought myself up as a player to actually help these guys out and set an example and be a positive role model."

This season will be Polk's third as a starter. In 2010 and 2011, he had the benefit of playing alongside one of CU's best leaders, Anthony Perkins, who has graduated.

"He knew what everybody was doing," Polk said. "I'm trying to fit into those shoes and those are some pretty big shoes to fill."

Polk admits he has a lot of work to do to get there, but he's willing to put in that work.

During the spring, he couldn't participate in contact drills, but he said the experience may have made him a better player.

"It's mainly a mental thing, and just recognizing routes and patterns and getting everybody lined up and understanding the flow of the defense and where everybody fits together," he said. "(The spring) helped me to recognize plays faster and still fit up on the ball and be able to play with my teammates and get some chemistry on defense."

Polk hopes to be the key ingredient for the secondary.

"It's amazing how much a year of playing time can change you as a person and as a player," he said. "I think I've improved my on-the-field ability to lead.

"I'm gradually working towards becoming a better player and a better teammate."

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