Chris Russell was one of the top players in the state of Tennessee two years ago as a high school senior at Nashville's Hillboro High. He chose CU over in-state power UT, and redshirted in 2003. This spring he's been moved to strong safety, where he hopes to challenge for playing time next fall. BSN spoke to him about the new position and how his offseason was. "> Chris Russell was one of the top players in the state of Tennessee two years ago as a high school senior at Nashville's Hillboro High. He chose CU over in-state power UT, and redshirted in 2003. This spring he's been moved to strong safety, where he hopes to challenge for playing time next fall. BSN spoke to him about the new position and how his offseason was. ">

Chris Russell Interview

<a href="http://scout.theinsiders.com/a.z?s=148&p=8&c=1&nid=15313">Chris Russell</a> was one of the top players in the state of Tennessee two years ago as a high school senior at Nashville's Hillboro High. He chose CU over in-state power UT, and redshirted in 2003. This spring he's been moved to strong safety, where he hopes to challenge for playing time next fall. BSN spoke to him about the new position and how his offseason was.

Buffalo Sports News: How have the first two days of practice gone for you?
Chris Russell: The first two days have been pretty good. We've been working hard, trying to learn everything and get the system down since we've got the new coordinator in. Everything's been going pretty good.

BSN: Tell me about your offseason.
CR: My offseason went pretty well. I went up in a lot of (strength and agility) areas that I wanted to go up in. I made improvements. I just got over a groin injury and I'm feeling pretty good. I've been nursing that, and working out with Coach (Greg) Finnegan. I give him credit for getting me back because he helps me with the stretching and gave me techniques to work on that helped get me back.

BSN: When did you have the groin injury?
CR: I got it during the season, during one of the practices. It's just been a nagging injury that's been going on. But it isn't bothering me now.

BSN: You said you went up in several areas. Which ones?
CR: My bench press went up; my vertical went up. I went up in my squat, my incline.

BSN: What's your vertical now?
CR: My vertical is a 37 (inches) now.

BSN: Didn't you play basketball in high school?
CR: Yeah.

BSN: Do you miss it?
CR: I miss it. I play on the video games. And I play every now and then (for real). After the season was over I went over to the Rec Center a few times and shot around.

BSN: I know Phil Jackson used to say he was the best basketball player on the football team. Who's the best player now?
CR: It's hard to say because we have a lot of guys who used to play basketball in high school who were good.

BSN: Did you see on ESPN where Eddie Sutton had the Oklahoma State players dress up in football pads and helmets for a practice?
CR: Yeah. It was crazy, but they made it to the Final Four, so it must have had a good effect on them.

BSN: Tell me about your new position. Have you ever played strong safety before?
CR: No, I never played safety before. I always played cornerback in high school and I was recruited here as a cornerback. And halfway through last season we had a couple injuries at the safety position and they decided to switch me to safety just to get some more depth.

BSN: How do you feel about the move?
CR: I think it was a good move for me because with my size and speed I'm able to cover the tight ends. I can cover the receivers too, but it's just a better fit for me. I like to hit too, and the coaches said it would be a better fit for me to be there. I just went along with it because I wanted to get on the field.

BSN: What do you have to do to improve at the position and earn some playing time?
CR: I've just got to come out here and prove myself during the spring. I've been doing pretty good so far. But I've got to show them I can cover and make tackles, make plays. That's it.

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