N. Colorado at Colorado )
Records: UNC 1-0, CU 2-0
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Folsom Field
TV: Pac-12 Network Radio: 850 AM, 94.1 FM
Nick Fisher came into this season intent on winning a starting job at safety with the Colorado Buffaloes.
At this point, however, the junior is simply hoping to help the Buffs in any way he can.
After sitting out more than a month with a hamstring injury, Fisher has returned to practice this week and is ready for his season debut as the Buffs (2-0) host Northern Colorado (1-0) on Saturday at Folsom Field.
"I'm feeling great," he said after Tuesday's practice. "We took a long time. I think I've been gone for like a month. That was the time I needed to get it right."
A part-time player during his first two seasons at CU, Fisher was a front-runner to replace the graduated Tedric Thompson at safety this year.
His hamstring injury pushed him to the sidelines in early August, however. Initially, he said, the injury wasn't that bad, but "I got back too early and it made it worse."
Junior Evan Worthington has seized the opportunity, won the starting job and been exceptional in CU's first two games. With Worthington, Afolabi Laguda and Ryan Moeller playing so well at safety, Fisher realizes it may take something like an injury or a targeting ejection to get him on the field.
"They're doing really well, so I don't think I'll get in unless I really need to," he said. "They're going good. It's kind of like a running back that's in a rhythm; you don't want to take them out. Right now I'm seeing a lot of reps at special teams and I'm going to have to be the best I can right there for right now."
The 6-foot, 190-pound Fisher has been in this role before. He played sparingly last year until a late-season game against Washington State. Early in that game, Laguda was ejected for targeting and Moeller went out with an injury. Fisher entered the game and was so good he was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week.
That performance has made plenty of fans excited to see Fisher in a more prominent role. That day may come, but for now, he's glad to be practicing again.
"You get back out here and (people who have had hamstring injuries before), they're telling me the burst is not going to be the same," he said. "I was kind of scared about that and then I got out here Monday and went full speed. Today to be able to do it again with no problem, that's great."
While Fisher has worked almost exclusively at safety this year, he came to CU as a cornerback and has played at nickel back and Buff back, as well, in practices during his career.
That versatility could make him a super sub in the secondary.
"At safety you have to know everything," he said. "It would just be a technique thing, but I think I could go back there (to corner) because I know everything. I know every position.
"At safety, you have to be quarterback. You know everyone's position, everything that they're doing. I think I have a good understanding of corner if I needed to go there."
While he was hoping to be a fixture in the starting lineup at safety by now, Fisher said he's excited to see the secondary playing so well.
"It's not frustrating seeing my teammates play well, it's just frustrating getting injured like this and not being able to help my team," he said. "As far as Evan and Ryan, I'm glad they're doing what they're doing right now, because that's what we need. At the end of the day, it's about winning. As long as we're doing that, I'm happy."
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.