CU football: Falo finds his comfort zone at outside linebacker

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
In the early stages of spring football, Colorado sophomore NJ Falo, center, is working at outside linebacker, and he loves it. Go to for a video.

NJ Falo is feeling comfortable again.

In the early stages of spring football, the Colorado sophomore is working at outside linebacker, and he loves it.

“It’s what I played (when he first started) playing football, so I feel very comfortable,” Falo said. “It makes me understand the game a lot.”

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Falo came to CU from Inderkum High School in Sacramento, and as a true freshman last season he was thrust into the lineup as an inside linebacker.

Injuries forced Falo to play inside, and his results were mixed.

Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt admitted, “We probably over-floated the expectations for NJ, which was unfair to him. We put him in a lot of positions that are hard for a true freshman to do.”

During the last part of the season, however, Falo moved to outside linebacker and said it made an immediate difference.

“I started to understand our scheme a lot more and where Leavitt wants to go with this defense,” he said.

This spring, the Buffs are short on inside linebackers, with senior Ryan Severson and sophomore Rick Gamboa the only healthy scholarship players at that spot. Falo, however, remains on the outside.

“Right now they’re trying to find a home for me, so I’m staying at outside right now,” he said. “I do not mind playing both and I love playing both, but outside is my home right now.”

Falo believes that playing inside helped him become a better all-around player, but believes he’s now in a spot where he can help the Buffs.

“I feel I’ll be a huge impact to this team playing outside backer,” he said.

Healthy again

Tailback Michael Adkins II, who missed the final 10 games of last season with a hamstring injury, has been a healthy participant so far in spring practices.

“He’s gone every day and done well,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He hasn’t missed anything. Hopefully he’ll stay healthy.”

When healthy, Adkins has been one of CU’s best running backs. Through two games last season, he had 209 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries, but was injured on his first run in Week 3. MacIntyre said the Buffs are hoping Adkins can be durable all season, and that Adkins is off to a great start.

“He’s in great shape. He’s powerful and strong,” MacIntyre said. “I think he’s in better shape than he has been, because he’s been able to work so long on all of those areas.”


The Buffs practiced outside on Monday, but after a streak of lightning flashed in the sky, they ran inside the practice bubble and spent the final 20 minutes of practice in there. … MacIntyre said senior corner Chidobe Awuzie has already made two interceptions in team situations.

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.