Nate Landman has yet to make an impact on defense for the Colorado Buffaloes, but the true freshman linebacker is getting more comfortable for when his number is called.
One of seven true freshmen to see the field for CU this season, Landman has just six snaps on defense, but has been a part of the Buffs’ special teams units.
“It was definitely a goal of mine coming in to play as a freshman,” said Landman, who is from Danville, Calif. “For me, it’s the experience and getting comfortable with the game and the speed and how it works. It’s getting me prepared for my next years to come.”
Currently listed second on the depth chart at Jack linebacker, Landman is sure to play quite a bit in the future, and he credits his veteran teammates for preparing him.
At inside linebacker, starters Drew Lewis and Rick Gamboa, both juniors, are backed up by Landman, true freshman Jonathan Van Diest and redshirt freshman Akil Jones.
“The older guys, Drew Lewis and Rick Gamboa, they’re really taking me, Van Diest and Akil under their wing and they’re showing us the way to play the game right,” Landman said. “Along with coach (Ross) Els and (D.J.) Elliot, they’re really doing a great job giving us the information and getting us ready for Saturdays. With that, I feel prepared for the games and it allows me to play faster.”
Since preseason camp in August, coaches have been impressed with Landman’s football IQ and head coach Mike MacIntyre said, “He has great instincts. He just kind of finds the football.”
The Buffs are hoping Landman doesn’t need to find it much this year, but they are excited about his future.
“Hopefully if we completely stay healthy on defense, he won’t have to play a ton there, but he’ll play some for sure,” MacIntyre said. “Linebacker spot, things happen to those guys and they miss a game here and there. We’ve been excited about what he’s done.”
Landman, who is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, said part of his progression is adding some size.
“Getting a couple more pounds would be beneficial to my game,” he said.
A few other notes as Landman and the Buffs prepare to face No. 7 Washington tonight at Folsom Field:
- Last week, the Buffs lost Ryan Moeller to a stinger and Afolabi Laguda to targeting. That forced Nick Fisher and Kyle Trego to play quite a bit at safety. Moeller, who earlier this week said he’s fine, believes last week’s game will be beneficial to the Buffs, and Fisher and Trego, down the road. “Any time anyone other than the starters can get reps, it’s a great learning point and it really helps out the team because who knows what happens later down the road,” Moeller said. “Getting them in there and getting their toes wet this early is a lot better off for them and the team I feel like, as opposed to the end of the year and they haven’t got a single rep.”
- Secondary coach ShaDon Brown has been impressed with redshirt freshman cornerback Trey Udoffia, who has started each game and ranks second on the team with 202 defensive snaps played (behind Lewis, with 205). “Trey’s gotten better each week,” Brown said. “As a freshman, things go really fast and he’s gotten better each week. I’m pleased with where Trey is right now.”
- Just a reminder that defensive lineman Chris Mulumba, who has started all three games so far, will sit out the first half tonight after getting flagged for targeting in the second half of last week’s game against Northern Colorado. This could be an opportunity for junior Jase Franke to get his second career start.
- CU comes into this game riding an eight-game home winning streak at Folsom Field. That’s the longest streak a 10-game streak from 1993-95.
- CU is 2-4 in conference openers since joining the Pac-12, including 0-3 at home. The wins came at Washington State (2012) and at Oregon (2016).
- Buffs QB Steven Montez is 5-1 as a starter. The last CU quarterback to open his career at 6-1 was Mike Moschetti, in 1998.
- CU head coach Mike MacIntyre is aiming for career win No. 40. He’s got a career mark of 39-52, including 23-31 at CU.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at email@example.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.