A Conversation With Safety Ryan Walters

Ryan Walters found himself getting reps with the first team defense the past couple of practices. The redshirt freshman came to CU in the spring of 2004 after graduating early from Grandview High School. He played quarterback that spring, but moved to safety last August. BSN spoke with him Monday about his camp so far, his physical style of play, how the players he faces each day — the CU receivers — are developing, and his relationship with his dad, former CU quarterback Marc Walters.

Q: How's camp going for you so far?
Ryan Walters:
It's going real well. I'm learning a lot. I'm picking up right where I left off in the spring. I'm having a blast, man. It's good to be all football now.

Q: The thing that strikes me about you is that you've got a pretty physical game for a former quarterback. When did that defensive mindset set in for you?
Really it didn't set in until the spring. I worked hard in the weightroom. That aspect is accomplished. I'm just trying to transfer that over to the field. I work on picking my spots to deliver a hit, or coming off blocks. And a lot of it has to do with the coaches' emphasis on developing a physical attitude in the run game.

Q: Are you running at the free safety or strong safety?
We play left and right. It'll be free one time and strong another. We'll switch off every day who's playing left and who's playing right, so that no matter what we'll be comfortable wherever we are on the field.

Q: What are the differences in left and right?
Sometimes we might have different calls for different sides. We might be in Cover 2 on one side and Cover 4 on the other side based on where the ball is and the formation.

Q: You talk about being in the weightroom. How was your summer?
Coach Finnegan did a great job wih all of us. We conditioned really well, we hit the weights really hard. Walking around, I'm like, dang, we've gotten a lot bigger. That's all attributed to Coach Finnegan's work ethic, and just getting our team ready for the season.

Q: What are you weighing right now?
I weigh a little over 200 right now.

Q: Is that the biggest you've ever been?
By far. I came in about 185.

Q: What about your strength?
I bench 385 and squat about 450. That's all thanks to Coach Finnegan.

Q: Do you have personal expectations for yourself this season?
My goal, it should be everybody's goal, is to start. It's been my lifelong dream to step on that field and play. Hopefully, by working hard and with the help from my coaches, I'll be able to do that.

Q: Tell me about the receivers. Do you notice a difference between the spring and now going up against them in practice?
Oh yeah. They're a lot more explosive, a lot more physical. Coaches do a great job with them. They're a lot smarter. It's hard to really read them. Everything is real crisp, real precise. You rarely see a mental error. It's a big difference between now and the spring. I'm excited to watch them play.

Q: Which game are you most looking forward to playing this season?
The first game I play in. I haven't stepped on the field yet in a Buffalo uniform, so I'm just looking forward to it.

Q: I see your dad (former CU quarterback Marc Walters) out at practice. How much do you rely on him for advice when it comes to football?
My dad, not only is he my father, he's my best friend. So when I told him about making the move (from quarterback to safety), we sat down and prayed about it. He actually called Coach Barnett and got his opinion on it.

He's my mentor. Sometimes he tells me things he sees out there that I need to work on, or things he likes. After every practice I call him and tell him how things went. He plays, not only a big part in the football aspect of my life, but overall.

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