August Camp Preview: Secondary

Things are unsettled in the secondary, in terms of starters, going into August camp. Still, defensive coordinator Ron Collins and defensive backs coach Greg Brown liked what they saw enough in spring to commit to the Colorado corners playing a more aggressive style this fall. Inside, a look at the secondary.

Biggest Question: The Colorado secondary will look a little different than it has in recent years. Under new DC Ron Collins and DB coach Greg Brown, CU cornerbacks will play an aggressive man coverage. Rather than giving the wide outs a 7- to 9-yard cushion, the corners will line up at the line of scrimmage and employ more of a bump-and-run style. Can the cornerbacks adapt to this new type of coverage technique?

Biggest Answer: Brown thinks he's got a group of corners with the top-end speed to jam receivers at the line, but make up any ground downfield if necessary. That group includes senior Terry Washington, junior Terrence Wheatley and sophomores Gardner McKay and Ben Burney. Senior Lorenzo Sims can play both corner and safety. Sims, who's been perhaps the team's most consistent and savvy defensive back the past two seasons, will be hard to keep off the field. His versatility makes him an excellent nickel back, too.

Safety Valves: The Buffs return a mix of experience and good young talent at safety. Senior J.J. Billingsley has more game experience (41 appearances) than any other Buffalo on the team. Senior Tyrone Henderson has 22 starts under his belt. Third-year sophomore Ryan Walters climbed to the top of the spring depth chart. Brown likes his playmaking ability. Veteran Lionel Harris and former running back Reggie Foster are also in the mix. Sims could see time at safety this fall, too, as he practiced there much of the spring.

Rookie Watch: Brown likes the potential of incoming freshmen cornerbacks Chapelle Brown, Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith. All three played positions in high school athletics where they had the ball in their hands often, and proved themselves to be playmakers. Chapelle Brown was a receiver/returner/DB and a point guard in basketball (he once scored 51 points in a game). Jalil Brown was a highly productive tailback in Arizona and has sprinter's speed. Smith played receiver and defensive back and averaged 36 yards per punt return as a senior.

Newsy: Senior safety Dominique Brooks had offseason knee surgery to repair an injury he suffered last season. There is a chance Brooks could be available to play around mid-season this fall. He also has a redshirt year available. The decision will be made mid-season after he's further evaluated.

Up for Grabs: Greg Brown has made it clear that every job is open going into camp.

Word from the Coach : "We're still very unsettled as far as who the starters are going to be at each position. We've got an idea on some guys who've done a good job and stepped to the forefront in some areas, but we're definitely not settled." — Greg Brown

Defensive Backs
35 Joel Adams, DB, 5-11, 185, So.
5 J.J. Billingsley, S, 5-11, 195, Sr.
18 Dominique Brooks, S, 6-1, 190, Sr.
29 Cha'pelle Brown, CB, 5-8, 165, Fr.
23 Jalil Brown, DB, 6-1, 195, Fr.
42 Ben Burney, CB, 5-11, 190, So.
36 Reggie Foster, S, 5-11, 195, Fr.-R
25 Lionel Harris, S, 6-0, 190, Jr.
3 Tyrone Henderson, S, 5-10, 180, Sr.
6 Gardner McKay, CB, 5-11, 160, So.
22 Lorenzo Sims CB/S, 5-11, 190, Sr.
35 Jimmy Smith, CB, 6-2, 195, Fr.
15 Ryan Walters, S, 5-11, 200, So.
10 Terry Washington, CB, 5-10, 195, Sr.
21 Vance Washington, CB, 5-10, 180, Sr.
26 Terrence Wheatley, CB, 5-10, 180, Jr.
20 Terry Wilson, CB, 5-11, 210, So.

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