Return man

The headline of this story is a little misleading. Redshirt freshman Terdema Ussery doesn't figure to be in the mix as return man on Colorado's special teams units this fall. But he is returning to the program after a semester off, and training camp figures to be big for him for a variety of reasons. Get inside for more.

Terdema Ussery spent the spring semester at home in the Dallas area focusing his attention on some personal issues related to his family. He missed all of spring practices after a redshirt season at wide receiver last fall.

The NCAA allows a one-time break for student-athletes who need to take a semester off for valid personal reasons. So Ussery will be eligible to play this semester.

When Ussery returned to Boulder in late May, he talked with coaches and decided to move from wide receiver to safety. Whether he plays free safety or strong safety hasn't been decided yet.

Ussery spent a few minutes with today talking about the change, his offseason and the season that lies ahead.

How much have you benefited from being here all summer?

Ussery: "It's been great. I mean, I think it's voluntary but it's a necessity in terms of what we want to accomplish and stuff to have full participation."

How did you decide to move to safety?

Ussery: "It was a thought from the beginning. I played some safety in high school, and I just talked about it with my family and put on some good weight and just decided to make the switch."

Was there a point last year where you started thinking you would be better suited to play defense?

Ussery: "I've always kind of thought about and always loved defense. But I definitely had to think it over for awhile. It's a big, big move."

How much have you been able to learn this summer from teammates about the defense and the position?

Ussery: "A ton. I think that is what is great about Colorado is that everyone is so willing to help in any way. All my questions were answered almost before I thought about them. Everyone is in it to do well and people want to see you succeed. So people helped enormously."

How big this camp for you considering you will be learning more and you will be evaluated every day by coaches?

Ussery: "It's huge. I think it's kind of doing it all over again from scratch really. I've had camp once before but at a different position. I might as well be a freshman basically. I've got a ton of learning. I got the playbook yesterday (Tuesday) and it's still huge as usual. I've got a lot to work on for sure."

You look much bigger than you did a year ago. How much do you weigh and how much have you gained strength-wise in the weight room.

Ussery: "I'm about 30 pounds heavier. I'm about 225. It's been a good weight for me. I'm just kind of sitting at it right now. Weight room wise it has helped a lot. In terms of lifting, everything has gone up pretty significantly since freshman year. It kind of hurt me that I wasn't here in the spring, but summer definitely helped make up for that."

So can you tell us why you decided to go home and whether those issues are behind you now?

Ussery: "It was just some family issues, stuff I had to take of with my family. As much as I love this place and everyone means so much to me, you've got to, when family calls, you've got to help them out first. Everything is good now."

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