Bray Teaching New Philosophy to DBs

After being hired in June, new defensive backs coach <b>Craig Bray </b>finally got the opportunity to get on the football field and coach his unit. Bray is charged with upgrading a secondary that struggled in 2003, giving up 3,375 passing yards last season. After running the unit through drills Monday, Bray said he needs to adopt a patient outlook.

"It was a first day," Bray said when asked how things went Monday. "I need to be patient. I'm implementing some new thoughts and ideas, and I've just got to be patient."

Bray said he was pleased with the players' effort, but added, "I didn't get to half the stuff I needed to get to, so I was disappointed in my effort."

Last year, CU emphasized man-on-man coverage, especially in the first half of the season. In contrast, Bray is teaching a different basic philosophy — one that requires defensive backs (the cornerbacks in particular) to keep an eye on more than just the receiver they're covering. Developing the kind of vision needed for zone coverage will be a key in the coming weeks.

Over the summer, Bray looked at film of the players he's inheriting. He's coming in with an idea who the starters may be on Sept. 4 when CU plays CSU. But Monday he said there are "about eight kids that'll compete for those spots. I've got to give it time. Some guys will grasp it way down the road. I've got to be patient, which isn't one of my strong points.

Hopefully, I'll get a pretty good idea after the first couple weeks. Then it'll all fit together."

Junior Vance Washington, and a trio of sophomores, Terrence Wheatley, Gerett Burl and Lorenzo Sims, will battle for playing time at cornerback. Junior J.J. Billingsley and sophomore Tyrone Henderson are expected to compete at free safety, while sophomore Dominique Brooks and redshirt freshmen Chris Russell and Lionel Harris compete at strong safety.

While an earlier report indicated Russell would compete at safety and corner, Bray said the 6-3, 195-pounder won't start camp that way.

"He's got to focus on one thing and get good at that," Bray said. "Then if we see we have a need (at corner), we'll make that move. He'll absorb a lot of what's going on, but to try to get him to do both would be unfair to him."

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