For most of the season, Colorado junior Evan Worthington has been used to playing in the secondary as a safety, several yards away from the line of scrimmage.
On Nov. 11, he had to adjust to something new, filling in for injured senior Ryan Moeller at the "Buff back" position during CU's 38-24 loss to Southern California. It's a spot Worthington could play once again this week, when the Buffs (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12) visit Utah (5-6, 2-6) in the regular season finale.
"It's definitely different," Worthington said. "You get a little more tired than usual, because you're going one-on-one with somebody every play, putting your hands on them. It's definitely different from playing safety and nickel."
Moeller injured his hip on Nov. 4 at Arizona State and missed the USC game and his status for Saturday is up in the air. With him out, Worthington was the natural fit for the Buff, which Nick Fisher taking over at safety.
Playing near the line of scrimmage is something Worthington has done in other games, but not as frequently as he did against the Trojans. One of the top players on CU's defense all season, Worthington made a smooth transition, finishing with six tackles and two third-down stops.
"After a couple of drives, I definitely got comfortable at that position," Worthington said. "I feel like I could have definitely done better than I did, but I just had to step up and take on that position. For this week if I have to do it again, I'm just going to keep doing the same thing and give 100 percent out there."
That's what Worthington has given the Buffs all season, and head coach Mike MacIntyre said it's been a luxury having such a versatile player.
"It's extremely valuable, because he plays safety, nickel, Buff - he's able to do all of that," MacIntyre sad. "We've even practiced him some at corner if we had a disaster because he's such a good athlete. He's a talented, talented young man."
If Moeller is unable to go, Kyle Trego will likely serve as the backup at the Buff position. Because Moeller's status is unclear, Worthington isn't sure where he'll play, but he's ready for anything.
"We're just putting me everywhere right now just so I get everything down," he said.
Worthington enters this week third on the team in total tackles (74) and first in solo tackles (60). He's also tied for second with eight third down stops and third with seven pass breakups.