Defensive Line Gets New Facelift

After experimenting with numerous shakeups on defense for the past few weeks of spring practice, the University of Colorado defensive coaching staff has once again decided to try out some position changes, head coach Gary Barnett officially announced Wednesday evening.

After a short stint at the outside linebacker post during CU's first eight practices of the spring, junior Marques Harris has returned to defensive end while senior Tyler Brayton has been moved from defensive end to inside tackle.

Admitting he has not been impressed with the interior play of the defensive line as of late, Barnett believes the transitions were also brought about after a poor performance by Buffs' defense during a scrimmage last Saturday when the offense racked up 172 yards rushing in the short 78-play scrum.

"We were just not playing well on the inside," Barnett stated Wednesday. "This is also a result of Saturday's scrimmage and something we just needed to do."

Undersized for a typical defensive end, Harris, who stands at 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, spent all of the 2001 campaign at the end spot, where he complied 51 total tackles and three sacks totaling 12 yards lost. As for Brayton, who led the Buffs in sacks last season with four and a half, this will be the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder's first taste at tackle while here at CU.

Though Harris and Brayton were the anchors of the line that contributed to CU's No. 6 rushing defense in the Big 12 last season, Barnett and his staff are now able to afford the switch with the arrival of junior-college transfer Gabe Nyenhuis this spring.

Nyenhuis, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound end has been noted as one of the Buffs' best recruits for 2002, as he was in on 55 tackles for Garden City Community College with five sacks and three fumble recoveries last year.

"He really did a great job for us during off-season workouts," defensive line coach Chris Wilson commented. "Each day he comes out here and continues to get better and better. I have been very pleased with his commitment and play thus far."

CU Practice Notes: Barnett said the Buffs would not come out of the spring knowing who will replace All-American Roman Hollowell at punt returner. As of now, wide out Derek McCoy has been "catching the ball the best off the punt," but Barnett said numerous incoming freshmen during the summer would compete.

Freshman ILB Andrew Ward, who graduated high school early to be with CU for spring practice may redshirt come the fall, but according to Barnett, "It is too early to tell right now."

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