CU Camp Countdown: Question 4

Colorado opens its 2008 August camp on Monday. BSN is counting down the days with the 10 biggest questions going into August practices. Inside, Question No. 4.

4) How will the Buffs replace their two starting corners from 2007?

Ben Burney is sidelined for the 2008 season recovering from off-season surgery. Terrence Wheatley is suiting up for the New England Patriots. Who's going to replace last year's starting cornerbacks?

As many as five or six cornerbacks will have the opportunity once camp begins. All of them will see a lot action this fall, though, as the Buffs are sure to use their nickel and dime defensive backfields often as they make their way through a schedule that includes several teams that like to air it out on offense.

And that's exactly why good corner play is crucial this fall. CU will face savvy, veteran quarterbacks when they play West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Nebraska.

The group of corners Colorado will field this fall has potential. But there are questions marks.

Chapelle Brown is tough and a terrific competitor, but at 5-7, big receivers can take advantage of him. Jalil Brown is the most physical corner on the roster, but he's still learning the position. Anthony Wright has good instincts, but the redshirt-freshman hasn't played a down of college ball.

Gardner McKay, a senior, is the most experienced on the roster. He's good in coverage, but is he reliable in run defense? Jimmy Smith has great size. The sophomore made some big plays last fall, but struggled at other times.

The fact that Colorado will start two veterans at safety — seniors D.J. Dykes and Ryan Walters — will help make up for some potential liabilities on the corner. But for the defense to hold up against so many quality passing attacks in 2008, some cornerbacks need to step up their game.


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