Notes: New Big Man on Campus, Literally

Newcomer Javier Edwards has one job to do as a nose tackle on CU's defense: Control both A gaps. That job is easier said than done, but the Blinn College transfer certainly has the size to do it.

In fact, Edwards has a little bit too much size right now. After playing his sophomore season at Blinn College at 6-foot-3, 385-pounds, Edwards wants to get down in the 350-360 range before competing at the Pac-12 level.

We got to get this stomach off. I am trying to get jacked, get a little sick pack going,” Edwards said with a laugh. “I feel as long as I am in-shape, I'll be able to play four quarters.”

Ranked as one of the top 50 Junior College prospects last cycle, Edwards was brought in to replace Josh Tupou, the unsung hero of Colorado's defense in 2016. The nose tackle position requires a blue-collar mentality, and Edwards is on board with that.

It is the most selfless job so if you are selfish playing nose tackle you are going to hate it,” Edwards said. “I enjoy taking up the other team's blockers so my teammates can make the play.

I pride myself on being a dog. I'm a guy that is never going to quit on you, a guy that is going to work hard and is going to have a motor and keep going and whoop on some people.”

Before signing with Colorado on Dec. 14, Edwards had been verbally committed to two different SEC programs.

I was solid on Florida and then after I de-committed from there, I was solid for about three days on Arkansas,” he recapped. “But the day I was going to sign, I woke up and I just had a feeling. Something told me to go with CU.”

The big man has enjoyed his time in Boulder so far.

I definitely don't regret my decision,” he said. “The weather is nice out here. In Texas, it feels like 110 degrees with the humidity. So the weather has been a big difference and I have been impressed with how everything is so organized here. It has been fun.”

Els Getting Acclimated

Ross Els signed his contract and then joined the Buffaloes' staff meeting on Friday at 6:45 am. Needless to say, the last 36 hours has been a whirlwind for Colorado's new inside linebackers coach.

After two practices with the Buffs, Els said he has been pleased with the intensity he has seen out of his new players.

They are playing hard, they're attentive, they're good kids,” he said. “Once I start learning the scheme better, I can help them as far as the Xs and Os.”

Els described his coaching style as “thorough” and Publisher Josh Harvey, who covered Els for four years in Lincoln, said his organizational skills are his best attribute as a coach.

I am an attention to detail type of guy,” Els confirmed. “We are going to know exactly what we are supposed to be doing in every situation. But I am still learning the defense, it is a completely new defense for me. But I really like what DJ [Eliot] is doing. I am excited to get going.”

Said head coach Mike MacIntyre: “Ross has great energy and knowledge. I talked to some guys that worked with him on a couple different staffs and they just said he was an unbelievable staff guy and family guy.”

Els has experience coaching all four special teams units. It has yet to be determined exactly what his role will be with the Buffaloes' special teams, but he is expected to have a big hand in it going forward.

His daughter Taylor Els plays volleyball at Northern Colorado. She started 17 matches for the Bears as a freshman in 2016 and ranked third on the team in digs per set and service aces.

All three of our kids were involved in athletics so you spend your life going to practices, games, etc. Then when they move away [for college], you are watching it online and it is not the same,” Els said. “I will try to hit as many [of Taylor's games] as I can. I am only an hour away and I know my wife will be going to every single event they have.”

Additional notes -

*** MacIntyre said one of the points of emphasis they have this spring is getting the new defensive linemen up to speed.

We're working a lot of different individual drills, which you always do, but we'd like to see that they have a really good feel for how we're playing on the line at the end of spring,” he said.

*** When asked about the secondary, MacIntyre mentioned Evan White has looked good “running around” upon his return to the program after a year-long suspension.

He'll play safety in the same place Ryan Moeller plays,” MacIntyre said of White. “Ryan plays safety and what we call 'Buff' (a hybrid outside linebacker/nickel back role) so it is interchangeable. He is a big body like Ryan that can do that.”

*** Colorado and Oregon State were the first two Pac-12 programs to begin spring practices this year. MacIntyre was asked about the early start: “Spring break is a week later for us this year so if I would have pushed it back, then that would have pushed us into April and that is when you go out recruiting. And then [in May] they have exams.

So I looked at the calendar and I sat down with Coach [Drew] Wilson, the strength coach. He wanted to have a good six weeks of lifting before and during practices, then they'll come back from spring break and we'll have another good six, seven weeks of lifting. So it gives us a better cycle. And then if anybody gets hurt [during spring ball it gives them more time to recover]. So it worked out well.”

The Buffs' players are lifting three times a week during spring ball, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and after practice on Saturdays.

*** After meeting with the media on Saturday, MacIntyre left to catch a plane for a speaking engagement in Orlando. The Buffs will be back on the practice fields on Monday morning.

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