In this installment of our sping football questions, we take a look at one of the most beleaguered positions from 2011.
Spring Football Questions Number Three:
Who steps up to join Ray Polk and Greg Henderson in the defensive backfield?
While this is an important question, it is almost certainly going to take more than spring ball to decide it. But that doesn't mean we can't get a head start on the discussion here.
Henderson was perhaps the lone bright spot of our defense last year, leading the team in snaps as a true freshman. He was by no means perfect in 2011, but he held his own and stayed healthy, which was important considering what happened around him. Ray Polk, on the other hand, was beat up and ended up missing some time as the season wore on. He's fully healthy now and has been getting rave reviews from the coaching staff for his offseason work. He is a fantastic athlete and has a few years of experience back there, so hopefully he's ready to be a leader and take his game to the next level. Either way, he's got the free safety spot locked up, and Greg Henderson has one of the starting CB spots.
Here are my Pre-Signing Day Previews for cornerback and safety and the recently released spring depth chart
Follow the jump to see what interesting deductions I can make from the players star signs!
Jered Bell will eventually be a candidate to start opposite Henderson, but he's still recovering from an ACL tear last summer and isn't cleared for spring practice. Keep his name in mind, though, as he may end up being the guy who wins the spot. Sherrard Harrington is healthy and will be doing everything he can to win the spot before his former HS teammates make it to campus this summer and before Bell heals up. He is a guy that we were excited about last year, but suffered a hip injury early and redshirted. He is a speed demon and I'm excited to see what he can do. Josh Moten will be fighting for that spot too. He has been applauded for his good hands, but hasn't made the transition from QB to DB as smoothly as the staff hoped. He's a good athlete and has been here for a while, so we'll see if he can finally crack the two-deep.
****Since I wrote this, the spring depth chart was released and it has Moten ahead of Harrington at right CB. But this is Harrington's first full offseason with the team, so that's to be expected. I still say Harrington ends up ahead of Moten.
All of these guys will be fighting to win the spot before the freshmen arrive, because there are some good ones on the way.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention D.D. Goodson. He switched from RB during the season and actually looked solid as the nickelback. He got dinged up, though, so we'll see if that's where he stays. He doesn't have great size, but neither did the graduate assistant who is helping to coach the DBs, Chapelle Brown. I could see Goodson finding a role in nickel sets.
****D.D. Goodson was moved back to running back
Parker Orms is also a candidate there. He's a great football player and they've finally moved him to his more natural position: safety. But if he doesn't win the starting spot opposite Polk, he would also make a good NB.
That helps me transition nicely to safety. Orms is a guy I wouldn't be surprised to see win that strong safety spot. He's got awesome instincts and if he can stay healthy, is physical and is good in coverage. But he's been beat up a lot since he got to CU, and that's a concern. Also fighting for that spot is Terrel Smith. Smith doesn't have ideal size, but he's fast, plays hard and is actually one of the hardest hitters on the team. They both have a solid shot at the job. Behind them (at least in my mind) are Paul Vigo and Will Harlos. Vigo has bounced in between corner and safety a bit in his time here, but it sounds like the staff is finally ready to let him settle in at Safety. That's good, because he's a little too leggy to be a cornerback, but has good enough size and good speed to play S. Harlos is a guy that will be a starter somewhere. Maybe not this year, but sometime soon. He's just a football player. He played defensive end in high school, but looked good at safety until he got a concussion in 2011. I wouldn't be surprised to see him crack the two-deep, at least until the freshmen arrive.
****Orms is listed as the #1 strong safety, Vigo is the #2 and Washington is the #3. They're also going to try Washington (who is up to 215 lbs) as an OLB this spring. Smith is backing up Polk and Harlos is third at FS.