A Conversation with Joe Sanders

Inside, a conversation with Joe Sanders, who has been playing outside linebacker this spring. While Sanders, who has played three positions in three seasons at CU, thinks he's found a home, he's also hoping to get a look at tight end in the fall and possibly play both ways on occasion.

Linebacker Joe Sanders bounced around between three positions his first three seasons at Colorado. The 6-3, 220-pounder came in as a tight end, then moved across the line to outside linebacker his second year, before moving to inside linebacker last season.

This spring, Sanders has moved to the outside again, a position that he thinks best suits his skills. When asked if he thought Sanders had finally found a home, Brian Cabral, ever the hard-to-please position coach, said "I think so, but that's up to Joe."

Sanders, who will be a junior in the fall, is currently playing the outside spot behind sophomore Brad Jones.

BSN: How is the new defense different?
Sanders:
Everything is a little more technical. The "sam" (outside) linebacker has a little more responsibility as far as getting everybody lined up in the right positions before the snap. We're kind of the quarterback of the defense. We've got a lot on our plate in this system, but it's fun learning it though.

BSN: It wasn't that way last year was it -- the outside guy being the quarterback of the defense?
Sanders:
No it wasn't that way last year. The "mike" (inside) linebacker was more of the general. But now it's up to the sam to get everybody lined up.

BSN: And you weren't playing sam last year.
Sanders:
No, I was playing mike last year. I was at "buff," which is essentially the same as sam, my redshirt-freshman year. So now I'm back where I was. But it feels a little different with this defense.

BSN: Do you feel like you've finally found a permanent home? Because you played tight end some your first year.
Sanders:
Yeah, and I talked to (coach) Hagan a little bit. I'm going to try to get in on a little tight end on offense in the fall. We're not going to work on that right now; everybody needs to learn their first position right now. But, hopefully, they're going to try me out at tight end and play me a little both ways. Sam first, tight end second.

BSN: Do you feel like sam fits your skills a little better than playing on the inside?
Sanders:
Oh, yes. I think it definitely fits my skills a little better than mike. Because, you know, outside backer – it's more of the speed/cover guy who can also get in the box and tackle. I'm able to use my speed and athleticism when I'm out at sam.


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