Chris Wilson brings optimism to season one as CU Buffs DC – The Denver Post

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Heading into his first season as Colorado’s defensive coordinator, Chris Wilson is excited about the Buffs’ potential on this side of the ball.

He’s also been a coach long enough to know it’s too early to be too excited.

“I’m cautiously optimistic, but at the same time we still have a lot of work to do just to sort out the details of everything,” said Wilson, who also coaches CU’s defensive linemen. “Obviously at this time of year we can’t be with these guys in this (training) format. I love the leadership they create. A lot of guys are taking what we did in the spring and continuing it into phase three, which is the offseason and summer training schedule.

Wilson, a 28-year training veteran, returned to CU last season as the Buffs’ defensive line coach. He had held a similar position at CU from 2000 to 2004, helping the Buffs and then head coach Gary Barnett win three Big 12 North titles.

Working under head coach Karl Dorrell and defensive coordinator Tyson Summers last year, Wilson was impressed with what he saw of the Buffs as they put in a surprising 4-2 over the course of a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The biggest thing we see from our young men is that they have an urgency in wanting to be big,” he said. “They want something different. You see that with the way they competed in the last year, especially in the context of COVID, a pandemic. No one had a competitive advantage. Everyone had to take what I call a time out. To get them out and compete like they did, to prepare like they did, it just lets you know there’s a really good bunch of young men here that’s going to help us get back there. where we need it.

“We have a good core of guys so that makes the coming season even more exciting. But it also lets us know that we have a lot of work to do, because the 4-2 is great in some places, and that’s what we were, but that’s not our end goal. We want to be able to play for the Pac-12 championships year after year. “

To do this, the Buffs must be better in defense. Dorrell let Summers go last winter and promoted Wilson in hopes of improving the defense, who allowed 31.7 points (eighth in the Pac-12) and 420.3 yards (seventh) per game.

Wilson is not set on a particular defensive scheme, but has a plan to be versatile and respond to game plans around player strengths.

CU’s defense includes two of the Pac-12’s top linebackers (Nate Landman and Carson Wells). Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon and defenseman Isaiah Lewis were among the highest ranked players in their posts by Pro Football Focus last year, while corner Christian Gonzalez had a strong freshman year. Other players, such as defensive linemen Terrance Lang and Jalen Sami, linebacker Robert Barnes and safety back Mark Perry bring good experience and potential to the table.

“Philosophically it’s really simple,” Wilson said. “I don’t care if you coach junior footballers or if you coach in the National Football League, it’s so important that you have your best players on the pitch. And not just that, but doing the things that they do extremely well. … Because generally, when your best players play well, you win.

“That’s what you’re going to see, hopefully, that our best players are still able to do the things they do well, and that’s making games.”

Wilson has also made efforts to simplify defense to the point where it is easier for players to learn.

“What I hope is that it’s user friendly enough where you can start growing your bottom line and get some of those freshmen here, let them start playing as fast as you can. ‘they can,’ he said. “There is nothing that creates a winning culture more than competition. So we’re trying to create as much competition by making it player-friendly, where the guys can come in and get used to it really quickly. “

Notable

Wilson said Landman, an All-American contestant who has spent the offseason recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon “looks fantastic. He looks great. It definitely makes everyone’s life much better when they are (healthy). … Wilson also stated that security Chris Miller is doing well. Miller missed four full games and only played 57 snaps in 2020 due to injuries. He was limited to 11 games in four seasons at CU due to multiple injuries. “He’s having a great summer,” said Wilson.

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