Buffs' Secondary Faces New Challenge

The Colorado secondary has played better through its first three games than it did in its first three games of 2004. However, after facing three passing quarterbacks, the Buffalo defensive backs must now defend three quarterbacks in the next three weeks who can hurt an opponent with the pass and the run.

It's been obvious that, after a rough start last fall, the Colorado defensive backs are in tune with secondary coach Craig Bray's philosophy about how to play the secondary. It's paid off through the team's three games in September.

While the Buffs are ranked No. 77 in the country in pass defense, they've made plays against CSU's Justin Holland (4 interceptions), stifled New Mexico State's pass-happy offense, and played acceptable against a corps of fast wide outs in the loss at Miami.

If CU had been able to generate a stronger, more consistent pass rush, the Buffs' pass defense numbers might be better than they are. Still giving up 246 yards per game through the air is much better than what the CU secondary was doing in recent seasons.

Beginning Saturday, however, the Buffs will face a different kind of quarterback than they've seen this season. Oklahoma State redshirt-freshman quarterback Bobby Reid came off the bench in OSU's first game, before taking over the starting position the next two games.

Reid, at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, can run and pass. He's the Cowboys' second-leading rusher, averaging 5.9 yards a carry for a total of 148 yards. Reid's completed 13 of 33 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown.

CU starting junior safety Tyrone Henderson said Reid reminds him of another Big 12 South quarterback the Buffs will face in October.

"He's a good runner, no doubt," Henderson said of Reid. "He throws better than (Texas quarterback) Vince Young, if you ask me. He's younger than Vince Young, but you can kind of compare him to Vince Young. That's the type of player he is."

Colorado faces Young and the Longhorns in Austin Oct. 15. A week earlier, Reggie McNeal and Texas A&M play at Folsom. Both players have rushed for over 200 yards so far this season.

"Throughout the whole Big 12, we play quarterbacks like that," Henderson said. "We're looking forward to it."

Henderson is second on the team with 23 tackles. Standing 5-10, Henderson plays bigger than his 185 pounds. He said Wednesday if he had to chose a favorite aspect of playing safety, it's run support. He got his fondness for the physical side of football growing up with two older brothers, he said.

But he said he and his fellow safeties have to be wary of cheating up to much to play the quarterback run in the coming weeks.

"The past three games we've been looking for pass mostly," he said. "It'll be different. What I have to see, my keys, to know if it's a pass or a run."

Notes
Gary Barnett confirmed Wednesday that guard Jack Tipton (ankle) will miss Saturday's game. He said Brian Daniels (rib/kidney), Tyler Polumbus (ankle), Joel Klatt (toe) and Thaddaeus Washington (foot) practiced Wednesday and will play vs. the Cowboys.

Former CU running back Bobby Purify was signed to the Green Bay Packers' practice squad.


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