Three seasons have passed and Parker Orms still hasn't made the impact on the Colorado football program he hoped to when he signed with the Buffs in 2009 after a storybook career at Wheat Ridge High School.

Orms redshirted during his first season in Boulder and suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the season opener in 2010. He was feeling great about his comeback entering fall camp back in August and then he suffered a severely strained calf, which forced him to miss most of August practice.

He played in the Buffs' firstfour games but left a late-September loss at Ohio State when he aggravated the calf injury. He was also dealing with a tight hamstring and swelling in his surgically repaired knee.

It was difficult for him to deal with mentally because he had never missed a game due to injury in high school.

"This offseason I'm definitely going to focus on getting my leg stronger, and hopefully I can be healthy next year and my last year after that," Orms said.

Orms was one of five CU defenders suspended in early October for violating team rules. He hasn't divulged what he did to deserve the suspension but he acknowledged he made a mistake and the punishment was just.

He was reinstated three weeks ago and has played in the Buffs' last two games, but he re-injured his hamstring in a win last week against Arizona and now he doesn't know if he will play again this season.

Should a guy with this kind of luck really have changed his jersey number to 13 before the season?

"After last year, I thought things couldn't get much worse but they did," Orms said. "You've got to learn from it and over these last two years, I've definitely learned a lot about how to be a better athlete and a better person. I think it's going to help me move forward and be stronger in the future."

Coaches always have raved about Orms' physical ability and football acumen. That has shown up this season in Colorado's defensive statistics.

He has played 239 snaps from scrimmage and has made 37 total tackles. Only nine of his teammates have made more tackles than him and eight of them have played in at least two more games than he has.

There are six players on the CU defense who have played 90 or more snaps than Orms but haven't been in on as many plays.

Orms said the injuries haven't sapped his love for the game. In fact, they have probably made him hungrier to get his chance to make his mark over the course of an entire season. Orms stood on the sideline watching the Buffs practice in Folsom Field on Tuesday and commented to a teammate that he has watched more practices at CU than he has been able to take part in. It's frustrating.

"You definitely have to question why," Orms said. "But you've just got to know that things happen and it has happened to a lot of guys but it's how you come back from it and what you learn from it. I've definitely still got that fire to get out there and play again."

If Orms can't play this week, it will be a big loss to a CU secondary that has missed him for much of the year. The Buffs have given up 43 passes of 20 yards or more and total of 67 plays of 20 or more yards this season.

Orms said he knows the defense and has spent just as much time in meetings and film sessions as any of his teammates, aside from the time he was suspended. However, there is no substitute for being on the field and learning to play within the schemes over time. He believes he can become a much better player when he eventually beats the injury bug and stays healthy for an extended period.

Unfortunately, that won't happen until next fall at the earliest.

"You've got to keep your focus on learning, even when you're not playing," Orms said. "I've been watching every single game that I haven't played in this year and I've definitely learned a lot by watching other guys play."

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