Defense shines as true freshman does

This Colorado defense has gotten better, especially the last two football games. One of the mainstays of the Buffs defense is true freshman middle linebacker Addison Gillam. Has Gillam done enough to win Freshmen All-American honors? Go "Inside" for our thoughts and those of Mike MacIntyre.

This Colorado defense has gotten better, especially the last two football games.

The Buffs have their trouble putting together both a good offensive and defensive performance together. Colorado has come up short finishing in a game and in-depth the season.

One of the mainstays of the Buffs defense is true freshman middle linebacker Addison Gillam.

Gillam came out of virtually no where and started every game for the Buffs.

He was an unheralded, not recruited prospect out of high school, his only offers were San Jose State and Weber State.

He finished this 2013 football season with over 110 tackles, started every game and according to Mike MacIntyre, a difference maker for the Buffs defense.

Gillam was a few steps away from taking an Utah pass all the way for a touchdown.

"I wished he had scored," MacIntyre laughed. "He gave it everything he had."

MacIntyre used an explanation of the development of Gillam, who he called the best freshman defensive player in the Pac 12.

"He is so smart," MacIntyre said. "We hadn't worked on covering the tight end that much out of the empty formation, they hadn't showed it a lot, especially lately. First time they got Addison, the second time, he played it better, the third time they did it he intercepted the ball. Next year as an experienced sophomore he will do it on the first play, that's how he has progressed all season."

What excites MacIntyre the most about Gillam is that he will be bigger and faster and better in the years to come.

"He has had a good season," MacIntyre said. "He deserves to be Freshman All-American. I haven't seen another freshman at middle linebacker play any better than he did all year."

Gillam was asked about his performance this season.

"It was fun," Gillam said. "I would like to have won more games, but it's been a fun season."

When asked about being a Freshman All-American, Gillam was very humble.

"No not at all, I haven't expected to get anything like that,"

Gillam is excited about the future of this Buff's defense.

"Everyone stepped up," Gillam said. "The future is bright, need to get better on our coverage overall and get better at our blitzes."

MacIntyre did a great job describing Gillam at the beginning of the season.

"What is there not to like about him," MacIntyre said earlier this year. "He is 6-foot-3, 225-230 pounds and can really run and tackle."

As Gillam got better so did the Buffs defense, this is a young Colorado team that didn't quit and kept working until the end to get better.

That has to give Buff fans a reason for optimism next year defensively.


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