Colorado senior Brian Lockridge never had played defense on the football field in his life before this week when he volunteered to switch from tailback to cornerback.

Bodies are sparse at CU because of a rash of injuries.

The depth issue that led to the position change could force Lockridge into action as soon as this week as the Buffs face a Washington State offense that routinely uses four wide receiver formations.

Lockridge said he is approaching his four days of practice on defense as if he will play in this week's game and both head coach Jon Embree and defensive coordinator Greg Brown said CU fans shouldn't be surprised to see Lockridge in the secondary against the Cougars.

 Brian Lockridge runs back a kick during Friday’s scrimmage.For more photos and videos from Friday, go to www.dailycamera.comCliff Grassmick / August
Brian Lockridge runs back a kick during Friday's scrimmage. For more photos and videos from Friday, go to www.dailycamera.com Cliff Grassmick / August 19, 2011 ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

"Athletically, thank god, I can make that transition," Lockridge said. "I'm quick on my feet. Technique, I don't have any. I've never played defense in my life.

"I'm excited. In my head, I'm making it smaller than what everyone is thinking it to be. I just know I need to hurry up and learn real fast."

Lockridge and true freshman cornerback Greg Henderson both wear the No. 20. If Lockridge is used this week, he will switch to the No. 10.

In his first two practices at defense this week, Lockridge said he has been asked to cover wide receivers Paul Richardson and Toney Clemons numerous times.

He said he enjoys the challenge and believes it already has made him better.


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"The last couple weeks I felt like I hadn't been contributing to the team as much as I want to do, especially senior year," Lockridge said. "When the opportunity came up to go to defense, definitely I took it."

Solid numbers

As beat up as the Colorado secondary is, it's tough to tell by looking at the numbers.

CU ranks first in the Pac-12 Conference in pass defense and sacks. The Buffs are allowing less than 190 passing yards a game and are averaging 3.5 sacks.

"Hey, for four games that doesn't mean much," Brown said. "We'll see where we're at after 13 games. It's just a number right now. We're dying to go get a win. Let's play some total defense."

Brown put more stock in the sack totals and his team's ability to rush the passer.

"We've got some ends that can come off the ball, we've got some big guys inside to get some push and we've got some backers and DB types who can blitz," he said. "It's a little bit of everything."

Shades of Gray

When Colorado wide receiver Logan Gray decided to transfer from Georgia for his senior year, he chose CU because his brother goes to school here and he thought he could make a bigger impact than what he contributed in Athens in 2010.

It's still early, but so far it hasn't worked out.

Gray has caught just two passes for 26 yards in four games while earning one special teams point.

The lack of productivity isn't because he hasn't been on the field. Gray said he has played about as much as he expected to in the first month of the season.

"I think different plays have just kind of worked out in different ways," Gray said. "Sometimes Tyler might have pressure on him and he has to get out of the pocket. Whatever the reason may be. I'm not stressing over it though. I'm just trying to keep on grinding and keep on pushing and I think good things will come."

Gray is a former quarterback who made the transition to wideout while still at Georgia. His diverse skill set figured to be used in creative ways by CU coaches to keep opposing defenses guessing but that hasn't materialized yet either.

Embree said Gray has been one bright spot on special teams and some of his repetitions in practice have been taken away by Richardson when he moves to the slot. Embree said Gray is playing faster in the offense and will continue to see more opportunities as the season progresses.

Notable

Center Daniel Munyer practiced on Wednesday and is probable after missing the Ohio State game with a sprained ankle.