Colorado coaches use a lot of adjectives to describe Will Pericak.

Words such as workmanlike, consistent and coachable. None of them are glitzy, but that's exactly how Pericak plays football.

"He's not a flashy type player, yet he consistently is around making plays," Buffs head coach Jon Embree said.

Now in his fifth season with the Buffs, the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Pericak has gotten better every year and he's been counted on to be a stout member of the defensive line.

"He has continued to improve his game and work on his game," defensive line coach Mike Tuiasosopo said. "That's the thing that stands out in my mind about Will Pericak."

A native of Boulder and a graduate of Boulder High School, Pericak is proud of how far he's come as a player since arriving on the CU campus.

"I'm pleased at the progress that I've made, coming in here as a tight end first and getting changed over to D-line the third day of camp," he said. "I had never played D-line before."

Pericak had been a tight end and linebacker at Boulder High, but figured out quickly that neither position would be in his future. So did CU coaches, who watched him as a tight end for two days before moving him to defense.

"I saw the handwriting on the wall," he said. "I came here at about 235-240 (pounds). First summer I gained 20 pounds and was up to 260 and I was about the heaviest tight end we had. I knew I wasn't going to play linebacker. I saw myself as either a blocking tight end or getting moved to D-line."


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Pericak redshirted in 2008 and although he was new to the defense, he earned a team award for his work on the defensive scout team. He has started each of CU's 37 games since the start of the 2009 season.

In 2011, he received All-Pac 12 honorable mention is now receiving quite a bit of preseason recognition.

"Seeing myself develop as a leader and as a senior leader, it's been pretty cool to see," he said. "These younger guys really look up to you and I try to set a good example for them and set a culture so they can follow."

Establishing a winning attitude is important to Pericak, who grew up watching great CU teams of the past. CU hasn't been to a bowl game since the 2007 season -- the year before Pericak came to the Buffs. Even that team, however, had a losing record (6-7). CU's last winning season was 2005, when Pericak was a sophomore in high school.

"It hasn't been there in a while, too long," he said.

Because of that, Pericak doesn't care much for any recognition he's receiving right now. He's not concerned with any accolades he could get after the season. He has one goal.

"Go to a bowl game. We've got to go," he said. "If you perform well enough to get to a bowl game, you're going to get noticed by people. Who knows what happens? I'm just going to have the best season I can."

If the past is an indicator, this should be Pericak's best season. He has made progress every year he's been in Boulder. He was fourth on the team with 64 tackles a year ago and led the team with eight quarterback pressures. Already he's showing signs of being a better player this fall.

"Oh gosh, it's night and day," Tuiasosopo said. "Part of that for Will is that he is a very, very smart player. To be a good football player, one of the things you have to be is very, very smart and that's what he is. He's just a very smart player, has a great feel for the game, has a great understanding for the game. That is at least half the battle."

Embree said Pericak is better at getting around the edge and he's improving at moving the pocket from the middle. The Buffs will need that type of effort from Pericak to be a better defense this season.

"You keep pushing yourself, keep getting better," Pericak said of his will to improve. "I see the stuff I've worked on in the past year really working, and I see myself on film. I've got all the fundamentals down now and I'm building off of those."

The way he's going, it's not out of the question that Pericak finds himself on an NFL roster in 2013.

"I do have NFL desires," he said. "That's why I have to have a really good season this year, put my best foot forward and see where it goes from there."

Tuiasosopo will miss having Pericak around next year, but has no doubt he will show up well in an NFL camp.

"I wish and hope that our younger guys that are coming in can look to him as a great example of a guy who comes to work every day with his hard hat and goes to work," Tuiasosopo said. "He doesn't say a word out here. He doesn't complain, nothing. He just leads by example.

"I've had a lot of guys over the years and he's just as good as a lot of guys that I've had. Honestly, I'm just honored to coach him."

Pericak has been honored to be a Buff, but can't believe his time in Boulder is almost up.

"I can remember being an 18-year-old on campus; it seems like it was yesterday," he said. "It was four-and-a-half long years ago, but it went by so fast."

His best memory as a Buff?

"There's a lot of good memories that I have, but I'll just say it hasn't happened yet," he said with a smile. "To be determined."

Follow Brian Howell on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.