Colorado receiver Juwann Winfree is set to make his return to the field on Saturday at Washington.
The senior has missed the last four games with a high ankle sprain, but traveled with the Buffs to Seattle on Friday.
Winfree’s status for the game was unknown early in the week, but on Friday, he posted on Twitter, “Business trip #THERETURN.” So, while CU hasn’t announced he’s back, we’ll go ahead and assume from that tweet that he’ll be uniform at Husky Stadium.
Winfree’s had a rough road with injuries during his career, but has flashed his potential when healthy.
He has seven catches for 55 yards and a touchdown this season. He caught five passes for 48 yards on Sept. 8 at Nebraska before leaving that game with his ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
Winfree’s return could be coming at an ideal time for CU (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12). Senior Jay MacIntyre (concussion) and sophomore Laviska Shenault (toe) left CU’s previous game, at USC, with injuries, and their status for this week is up in the air.
Picks for LBs
On the first play of last week’s game at USC, linebacker Drew Lewis picked off a pass. That gave CU linebackers four interceptions this season.
This is the first time since 1991 that CU linebackers have had as many as four interceptions in a season.
“We’ve just been in the right position, right place at the right time,” said senior Rick Gamboa, who has one of the four interceptions. “We’ve been taking the coaching and making sure we’re getting back in our spots and reading the quarterback’s eyes. We’ve been seeing more of the bigger picture; not just our responsibility. We’ve been seeing routs from across the field.”
Knowing where to be is only half of the job. Finishing the play is the other half.
“The most important thing is we’ve been catching the ball,” Gamboa said. “As a defense the past couple of years, some of those balls we didn’t come in with. Especially in big games, those could be the difference between winning and losing. Just focusing on catching the ball and making sure we come down with it has been the most important thing.”
The last time the linebackers had at least five interceptions was in 1988, when they had six.
A few other notes leading into Saturday’s game at Washington:
- Washington doesn’t have the most explosive offense, ranking 66th with 28.9 points per game. But, the Huskies are efficient and move the ball. They rank 12th nationally with 167 first downs.
- Washington ranks near the bottom of the country in generating tackles for loss on defense (3.4 per game, ranking 124th). However, CU is one of the worst teams in the country at allowing tackles for loss (8.8 per game, 127th).
- CU has lost just five turnovers this season. Nationally, only three teams have lost fewer: Georgia Southern (three), Toledo (four) and Mississippi State (four).
- Buffs kickoff specialist Davis Price has produced 27 touchbacks on his 35 kickoffs this season.
- Nearly half of KD Nixon’s catches (14 of 29) have gone for a first down.
- Last week at USC was the first time this season that CU’s Steven Montez did not throw a touchdown pass. It was just the fourth time in 21 career starts that he did not throw a TD. The Buffs are 0-4 in those games.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at email@example.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.