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Winfree, Wigley figure to be big parts of the Colorado Buffaloes success

How the Buffaloes receivers and defensive backs push each other to improve.

Brendan Mackey,

I came into media day excited to interview Juwann Winfree, the Colorado Buffaloes’ best receiver, and Dante Wigley, the most experienced cornerback and potential starter. The plan was to do a featured story about the relationship between the receivers and cornerbacks — the story was going to be great, and I was going to add it to my writing portfolio. I was also planning on writing the article on my 9-hour flight to Denmark, but the thing about 9-hour flights is that you just want to sleep and watch movies — Slow West is very good, btw, and it’s set in Colorado — so instead of writing a great feature, I transcribed the interview to format into a Q&A article. If Juwann and Dante are reading this, you’re both wonderful to speak with and I’m sorry for being lazy.

[Sam nervously approaches Dante to conduct the interview. Dante then brings over Juwann to sit down at an empty table. The three exchange hellos — everyone has met each other before, so everyone’s comfortable, except Sam, because he has anxiety issues. Sam jumps right into his questions because he doesn’t really now how interviews should be conducted.]

Sam Metivier: Juwann, last year during an interview with me, you said that Dante was the cornerback who was your favorite to play against because of his physicality. Could you explain that again?

Juwann Winfree: Just being a receiver, there are different types of cornerbacks you go against. On our team every different corner has a different skillset and they all play in their different ways. With him [Dante], he has good feet, good quickness and is physical, likes to put his hands on me. With him I like to work on a lot of techniques. It’s a good competition and I feel like we make each other better.

Dante Wigley: Juwann is the best receiver I’ve guarded in college. He’s the best receiver in the conference —

SM: Including N’Keal Harry?

DW: Yeah Juwann is better for sure.

[JW chuckles]

DW: So with Juwann, I have to bring my A-game every time I step on the field with him. I give him my best shot, and that’s why I try to get real physical with him; we compete and just try to make each other better.

SM: Juwann, do you remember the play against USC where you got that guy on the double move and embarrassed him? Have you done that to Dante in practice before?

[Both laugh, hahaha]

JW: No, we haven’t had that route called in practice too many times – that was more of a gameplan thing there.

SM: Do you embarrass anybody in practice?

JW: Ha! We’re going back-and-forth, me and the DBs. They may get me sometimes and I may get them sometimes.

SM: [To DW] How often to you get the best of him?

DW: We just go back-and-forth. If he makes a play on me, I’m not going to be mad, I’m just going to learn from it. If I do good on him, he does the same thing.

SM: Do you guys trash talk?

DW: Me and him, [JW] not really.

JW: I don’t really trash talk unless they start it first. I just handle my business and try to compete.

DW: During games, I trash talk a lot. I’m a real big trash talker in the game.

SM: Are you the biggest trash talker on the team?

DW: I, uh, yeah I think so. I like getting in other receivers’ heads to see where they are, and get them out of their game.

SM: If someone is more quiet, like Juwann, does that bother you at all?

DW: No, I’m going to still talk, try to get in their head, make them mad, things like that.

SM: Do you try to back it up?

DW: Oh yeah. If you talk, you have to back it up.

SM: So in practice, you guys are always going up against each other. How do you push each other to get better every day?

JW: Just by giving it my best and showing him different things. I don’t want to show him the same thing and have him get used to my tendencies. I want to prepare him for the Pac-12. I feel that competing against us [the receivers] – and I feel that we’re one of the top receiving corps in the Pac-12 – going against us each day should give them an advantage.

DW: One thing about our receivers is that they really work on their routes. They’re always switching it up, running double moves, triples moves – that’s what I love about our receivers. I’m always on my trying to figure out what’s happening next.

SM: Who runs the best routes on the team?

DW: Juwann. Juwann for sure.

JW: [Laughs] Yeah, route running is big for me because I’m not the fastest or the biggest –

SM: You’re pretty fast and you’re pretty big.

[Everyone bursts into laughter, bahahaha]

JW: I’m trying to get open and be quarterback friendly. You know a quarterback loves someone who’s going to be open all the time. I study some of the top receivers in the game and see how they get open. I try to use their moves and add it to my arsenal.

SM: You’re also open when you’re not open — you and Laviska Shenault — because you’re so big and physical.

JW: Yeah our size and catch radius. We have big hands —

SM: Yeah I shook your hand…

[Everyone is rolling on the floor laughing]

JW: Even when we’re covered, I feel like we can still be open and catch the ball. But I still want to make it easier for the QB and give him that much more room.

SM: OK, last question for both of you: Who do you think will surprise people the most this season?

JW: I think maybe Chris Miller. He might shock a few people because he’s a young guy who’s a freak athlete – crazy vert, crazy speed. He’s getting more of an opportunity this year so I’m ready to see what he can do. I have faith in him that he’s gonna shock some people.

SM: Dante, what about you? Which receiver do you think will surprise the most?

DW: I think they’re all gonna shock the world. None of them have that name recognition — they’re not the Shay Fields of the world — but they might be the best receiving corps in the nation. I think all of them.

SM: Pick one, please. I wanna hold you to it.

DW: Juwann.