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bsn CU Buffs Gilbert ‘very comfortable’ in new defense

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    While Colorado’s defensive coordinator, Jim Leavitt isn’t willing to say definitively what defense the Buffs will be operating out of year, talk to any defensive player and they’ll be open about it.

    “That 3-4 look, that’s now our base defense,” said junior Jimmie Gilbert. “I like it a lot, it looks great, we’re learning that defense, learning the coverage, learning everything as fast as we can.”

    Gilbert, who will be playing the outside linebacker role in the new look, feels he can really excel at his new position.

    “I feel very comfortable, this is the same kind of defense we ran at my high school,” he explained. “I feel like this really fits my body a lot more, I’m not stuck in between the tackle and tight end at 235 pounds trying to take on Stephane [Nembot], and Jeromy and Sean [Irwin], so it fits my body a lot more than a 4-3.”

    His head coach can see that comfort on the field.

    “Jimmie’s getting better and better, Jimmie’s got a lot of athletic ability, he needs to just keep pushing along,” said Mike MacIntyre after Wednesday’s practice. “I do feel like he feels a little bit more comfortable. Plus, he’s played two years now, and you feel more comfortable if you’ve played a lot of snaps, that’s part of the maturation process.”

    The new role will ask Gilbert to drop into coverage in some situations, something he hasn’t done much at this level, but he says that’s not the hardest part of the transition.

    “Coverage isn’t the issue, as the defensive end or outside linebacker group, what we really have to do is work on hand placement, firing off of the ball, and just being violent with our hands and our body,” he told. “There are instances in practice where you can see it shine in all of us, then there’s instances when you can see us being a little timid. We just have to become more consistent and, as a group, be more decisive with our actions.”

    Throughout the 2014 season Mike MacIntyre talked of little misalignments costing the Buffs big chunks of yardage, but they seemed to be finally be getting the hang of it at the end of the season. Now with a whole new scheme, going back to square one, will that cause problems again?

    “Not at all, we have two great inside linebackers in Kenneth Olugbode and Addison Gillam, we have NJ Falo and Rick Gamboa as well, and those guys are doing a great job of making sure the defensive lines are set,” Gilbert said confidently. “The safeties are doing a great job of making sure that the outside linebackers know what coverage we’re in, if we’re dropping or if we’re rushing, if we’re inside or outside of the second receiver. We’re doing a lot better job of communicating as a whole unit, which allows us to get set faster.”

    Gilbert will likely line up on the opposite side of Derek McCartney on the line, another guy with the body frame to excel in the 3-4 OLB role, and while they are both excited about the prospects of taking their game to the next level there, they haven’t had much time to daydream about it.

    “We can’t think about that until we get everything down,” said a straight faced Gilbert. “Right now we’re just taking practice and camp day-by-day, everyday after practice [Derek and I] go in and watch film, he grades his self, I grade myself, we see where we messed up, and we just try to improve on those points the next day. We can’t really look into the season until we get what we’re doing down now.”

    As for the new defensive coach, the pass rusher out of Texas used the same word that everybody else lives to use.

    “Energy, energy for sure, energy and passion,” Gilbert said of Jim Leavitt. “There are points in practice where he goes off on a tangent or a rant for no apparent reason, and then two seconds later he’s like, ‘Oh I love being fired up,’ it brings laughter to the guys.

    “I like how he says, ‘When we work we work hard, but when we rest we rest,'” he added. “It lets us know that when we’re running when we’re doing drills, when we’re playing it has to be 100 percent, full-speed, all-out , but when you rest you take your time, you catch your breath, you get your energy back so that you’re able to go again.”

    As Colorado transitions to this new front, guys like Gilbert and McCartney are probably being asked to soak up the most new information for their role, luckily for Jim Leavitt the roster he inherited came with two guys who fit the mold pretty well.

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