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Fall Camp Roster Review – Inside Linebackers

Previously Posted …

The Roster …

— Inside linebackers (8): bold = returning starter … italicized = walk-on … *= early enrollee (in school for spring practices) … TR … Transfer …

  • Seniors … Nate Landman 
  • Juniors … Jon Van Diest … Quinn Perry
  • Sophomores … Ray Robinson … Jack Lamb (TR)
  • Red-shirt freshmen … Marvin Ham … Geno Macias
  • True freshmen … Mister Williams … Katin Suprenant
  • 2021 Signees … Zephaniah Maea*

The Stats … 

How important was Nate Landman to the Colorado defense? Despite being sidelined for the year in the second quarter of the Utah game, Landman led the team in 61 tackles (49 unassisted). A distant second on the team was Derrion Rakestraw, who had 35 tackles for the year. Landman, on his way to being named to the first-team All-Pac-12 team (and second-team All-American team), also led the team in sacks (5), third down stops (13), and tackles for zero (7).

The only other linebacker to make a significant contribution last year was Carson Wells, who was third on the team in tackles (34 tackles, 26 unassisted), first in tackles for loss (9), second in sacks (4.5), second in third down stops (8), and tied for first in quarterback pressures (5). After that, you are down to Jonathan Van Diest (11 tackles in 81 plays) and Guy Thomas (seven tackles in 80 plays).

CU Nationally … 

  • Team Tackles for Loss … 8.2 per game … 7th in the nation
  • Third down conversion defense … .318 … 13th in the nation
  • First downs allowed, defense … 128 … 27th in the nation
  • Team sacks … 2.5/game … 45th in the nation
  • Passing yards allowed … 239.2 yds./game … 71st in the nation
  • Scoring defense … 31.67 pts./game … 77th in the nation
  • Total defense … 420.3 yds./game … 76th in the nation
  • Passes intercepted … 4 … 94th in the nation

What Others Say About CU’s Linebackers … 

Preseason Media All-Pac-12 All-Conference team … First team: Nate Landman … Honorable mention: Carson Wells

Athlon … Linebackers rated 7th in the Pac-12 … First team All-Pac-12: Nate Landman … Second-team All-Pac-12: Carson Wells … There is intriguing talent all over the defense. Outside linebacker Carson Wells racked up 16 tackles for loss in only six games … CU also hit the transfer portal for reinforcements on defense, picking up linebackers Robert Barnes (Oklahoma) and Jack Lamb (Notre Dame) 

Lindy’s … First team All-Pac-12: Nate Landman … Second-team All-Pac-12: Carson Wells … Linebacker Nate Landman has been one of the nation’s most active tacklers in each of the past three seasons, averaging 8.5 tackles per game in 2018, then 9.5, then 10.5 tackles last season … Carson Wells is also back after registering 6.5 sacks, most on the Pac-12’s second-most prolific sack-generating defense. 

Phil Steele’s … First team All-Pac-12: Nate Landman … Second-team All-Pac-12: Carson Wells … Projected starters: Carson Wells … Robert Barnes … Jack Lamb … Nate Landman … Landman was dominant once again, leading the team in tackles despite missing the second half against Utah and the bowl game. Carson Wells led the FBS with 2.67 tackles for loss and was the No. 2 tackler … The Landman/Wells combo is one of the nation’s best, and with the added talent, they are our No. 7 linebacker corps (and No. 1 in the Pac-12)

Comments … From the Daily CameraOne of the strongest position groups on the team this season, the Buffs are talented, experienced and deep. Landman is one of the best inside linebackers in the country when healthy. He is coming back from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon but expects to be the leader of this group. Van Diest is going into his fifth season at CU and he’s played in 24 games, with seven starts. After an exceptional spring, he’s looking to nail down a consistent job as a starter. Barnes played this spring at inside linebacker but was a safety for much of his time at Oklahoma. Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said Barnes could play in a variety of positions. “That’s the beauty of having guys with a lot of flexibility,” Wilson said. “You can not only attack schemes, you can also change your personnel and put guys in different areas where you can create some matchups.” Lamb brings solid depth and experience and he’ll battle for a starting spot, as well. Perry and Ham don’t have a lot of game experience with the Buffs, but both have been in the program for a while and expect to be more equipped to help when called upon. Alvin Williams, Mister Williams and Zephaniah Maea are all young players still growing in the system. They’re talented, but might be a year away from contributing.

What Buff fans want to know: How is Nate Landman doing? … From the Daily Camera … With more depth, CU coaches would like to limit the workload for Landman, who, from the start of the 2019 season through the moment he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon, played 96.4 percent of CU’s defensive snaps.

“I’d rather not limit that,” Landman said. “I’m out there to play the game, right? I want to be able to do everything I can to win the game and I think that me being in those snaps, it gives confidence to the team, it gives confidence to me. … I think I bring a lot more to the table than just being a football player out there. The leadership and the coaching that goes on in the field is what I bring to the table, too.”

Landman will likely be limited in practices and he understands that. But, as he prepares for the final step of his recovery, Landman said he has no nerves about playing full-speed, full-contact football again.

“Not at all,” he said. “I’ve been training, I’ve been running with the team, cutting – doing everything that the team is doing. … All that nerves and that kind of stuff, it’s just not really an impact on me just because I trust the surgery, I trust by rehab and everything so well.”

… Nate Landman talks with press after first day of Fall Practices … 

Final word Inside Linebackers … How important is Landman to the Buffs’ success? The Buffs were 4-0, and ahead of Utah at home when Landman went down. In the six quarters played without Landman, the Buffs were out-scored 83-30. Jonathan Van Diest … Quinn Perry … Chase Newman … decent players all, but they are not Landman. This spring, with Landman out and Notre Dame transfer Jack Lamb finishing up his degree at Notre Dame, freshmen Marvin Ham, Mister Williams, and 2021 signee Zephaniah Maea were all given their chance to impress CU’s new inside linebacker coach, Mark Smith.

“Jon (Van Diest) had a competitive spring,” Wilson said. “We look at a guy like Jon and where he’s at in his career, he’s a really good leader. He understands the sense of urgency that’s required, because like a lot of these guys, Jon’s towards the tail end of his career. Like any great player, especially a Colorado native, a guy who grew up here and really banked on his home school, we’re just excited to have him again. He’s a guy who comes in and he’s willing to compete and play wherever you want him.”

Junior Quinn Perry and redshirt freshman Marvin Ham II will fight for playing time, as well.

“These guys are entering into their junior and sophomore years, or redshirt junior years, and it’s their moment,” Wilson said. “Hopefully with continuity and in making this (defense) a little more player-friendly, they’ll excel.”

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One Reply to “Fall Camp Roster Review – Inside Linebackers”

  1. Landman and Barnes will man the middle and we will do well. I am interested in seeing how Lamb does. Van a Diest can come in and spell them but he flows too laterally and catches instead of striking.

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