Uzo-Diribe back on the field

Chidera Uzo-Diribe was a member of the Buffaloes' recruiting staff last year, but shortly after his return to Boulder, he realized he wanted to get back out on the field. Head coach Mike MacIntyre granted him an opportunity to move into a defensive graduate assistant role, the way most college coaches cut their teeth.

Uzo-Diribe excelled as a pass rusher at Colorado, and finished his college career tied for sixth in school history in quarterbacks sacks. He had a brief stint with the New Orleans Saints before returning to his alma mater.

Uzo-Diribe is now in charge of working with the Buffs' defensive linemen and "a little" with the outside linebackers.

He is doing a really excellent job,” MacIntyre said. “Off the field stuff they have to do in there to prepare for practice, that is where a lot of times young coaches aren't ready to do it, because there is a lot of diligence to it. But he has done an excellent job of being thorough to get ready for practice and prepare our players. I am really pleased.”

Said Uzo-Diribe: “As a player that was one of the things I took pretty seriously: preparing, watching film. So transitioning to this role, it is quite similar.

Following most of the Buffs' first seven preseason practices, Uzo-Diribe has stayed after to run players through more drills. On Tuesday, the group of players he was mentoring stayed 20 minutes longer than the rest of the team.

The guys have a lot of goals but the only way they are going to reach them is if they work for them,” Uzo-Diribe said. “So I want to make sure that every guy that is out here is putting in the best effort they can to reach those goals. Then, when games come on Saturday, it is a lot easier than practice.”

A blue-collar mentality is certainly needed by the Buffs' current down linemen in Jim Leavitt's 3-4 scheme.

Those guys don't get credit as much as the linebackers or defensive backs but they're just as big, if not a bigger role in our defense,” Uzo-Diribe said. “Those guys have to hold offensive linemen and be able to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. I like the group we have. I think we have guys that can get it done.”

Ryan Walters, Cha'pelle Brown, Anthony Perkins, Evan Harrington and Cody Hawkins are some of the other recent CU players that have gotten involved in coaching. Uzo-Diribe said he reached out to most of them asking for advice.

"They have all been a great help to me. Even some of my past coaches have been a great help," he said.

It sounds like Uzo-Diribe's new role has allowed him to scratch an itch.

"I just missed being out there on the field. I missed being around the guys, and being able to go into the heat of battle. This role allows me to do all of that," he concluded. "I am loving it. ... It has been a good transition for me."

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