Yuri Wright has had to get used to a lot in his first six months as a college student and football player, but one of the biggest changes in his life is something he has no plans to get used to.

Wright has already experienced more losing -- and by much bigger margins -- than he did in his two years of playing a significant role for his high school team, national power Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey.

"It's rough, but you've just got to keep fighting," Wright said after a practice this week. "You can't give up. Just because you've been winning all your life, there is times when you're going to be down. You just got to keep fighting and one day you will get back to where you were."

Wright was the highest rated recruit in Colorado's 2012 recruiting class. PrepStar named him to its "Dream Team" as the No. 2 cornerback in the nation and the 52nd best player overall. Two-thirds of the way through his first college season, he understands as well as anyone how meaningless those rankings and accolades are on the field on Saturdays.

He and the rest of his teammates have experienced more of their share of hang-your-head results in producing a 1-7 record. The CU defense has been historically bad, in part, because of the learning curve Wright and his fellow freshmen are experiencing.


Wright has played in six of the Buffs' eight games and has been on the field on defense for 220 snaps, making 13 tackles, including one for a loss. He missed the Arizona State and USC games because of a concussion suffered in practice, but he returned to start against Oregon last week.

He was now started games at both cornerback spots, three on the right side and once on the left, where he is the probable starter again this week when Stanford visits Folsom Field on Saturday.

Wright set career highs in playing time and tackles last week at Oregon when he was on the field for all 75 snaps and recorded four stops. He said he hasn't doubted his physical abilities at this level. He said he had played against some of the Ducks in high school all-star games and went into last week's game feeling confident he had the tools to make plays.

He's trying to do all he can to improve the mental side of the game, which will allow him to rely more freely on his remarkable athleticism.

"Just keep improving and keep working hard and get in the play book," Wright said. "Just keep getting better every day and keep learning. Once we do that and combine it all together, you will definitely see a change in us. I think by next year we'll be a pretty good team."

Coach Jon Embree has said numerous times this season he believes the program has a bright future on defense when Wright and some of his fellow freshmen mature. Wright's classsmates Kenneth Crawley and Marques Mosley also have started games in the secondary this season and defensive linemen Josh Tupou and Samson Kafovalu have started in the trenches.

While Embree is disappointed in the results his team is producing, he is excited about development he says he sees in many of the young players on the team. Embree says he plans to make cut-up videos of the freshmen playing this season and show them to players next year.

"And they will be able to see the difference when they watch that they will say, 'That is not me, I am way better than that now,'" Embree said. "It is true, when you watch yourself as you evolve as a player, you will be shocked at some of the stuff you put on tape, when you first start playing. It will blow your mind because you realize how much better you are and again that will help give them confidence.

"There is a lot that will go into it, the good thing is they don't go into it alone, that is when it is hard, they are all going through it together, so they all help each other get through it."

Wright described himself as "hungry" to get his hands on the ball before his freshman season ends. Some of his best friends on the team have been able to do so already. Crawley is the team's primary punt returner, though he has returned just nine punts. Mosley is the only freshman defensive back to make an interception so far.

"If I get it, I'm taking it back to the house," Wright said. "I'm looking for a pick-six."

His plan for making it happen is simple.

"Just do your job," he said. "If you do your job, things will come your way. I think if I stay consistent in doing my job, then it will pay off and I'll end up with a few interceptions and maybe fumbles."


Embree said he will make a game-time decision regarding who to start at quarterback this week. Regardless of who starts, Embree said he expects both junior Jordan Webb and sophomore Nick Hirschman to play.

Follow Kyle on Twitter: