Colorado’s Nate Landman is encouraged by his progress this spring and aiming for a return to football this fall.
On Tuesday night, Landman took part in a CU-sponsored virtual event, “Discovering Dorrell.” During the event, host Mark Johnson interviewed head coach Karl Dorrell, while a set of former football players spoke with current players.
Landman was interviewed by Matt Russell, who won the Butkus Award as an inside linebacker with the Buffs in 1996. During the interview, Landman provided an update on his injury recovery from rupturing his Achilles’ tendon on Dec. 12 against Utah.
“The rehab is going a lot better than I thought,” said Landman, who was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award last season and is not participating in CU’s spring practices this month. “I’m actually ahead of schedule. I’ve been running for the past two weeks on the underwater treadmill and after this week, they’ll move me to the (AlterG treadmill), which is just modified bodyweight running. So, I would say about two, three (weeks), maybe even a month ahead of schedule on that term.”
The Buffs are hopeful that Landman will be ready to go when preseason camp begins in August.
“Nate’s in great shape, he looks great,” Dorrell said to Johnson. “He’s got a great mindset about where he’s going, he feels good about where the rehab situation is for him. … He’s going to be ready to go for sure by the fall before we start training camp.”
Landman recorded 61 tackles and 10 tackles for loss in only four-and-a-half games in 2020. He has led the Buffs in tackles each of the past three seasons and currently ranks 10th in CU history in career tackles (338) and 12th in tackles for loss (34).
“You always hear coaches talk about you never know when your last play can be your last play, so I’m blessed that I have another opportunity to get out there and play again,” Landman said. “That’s what I’m most excited to do is get out there, just be on the field and hopefully have some fans in the (stands) this year.”
Russell, arguably the best inside linebacker in program history, offered some praise when Landman told him one of the players he has looked up to is former Carolina Panthers star Luke Kuechly.
“Luke Kuechly is probably one of the most instinctive linebackers that’s ever played the game, in my opinion,” Russell told Landman. “You’re probably right there with him, in terms of instincts, being able to find the ball, and I always call it making good decisions when you get to the block point. Guys who make good decisions make the play, guys who make bad decisions don’t.”
Big goals for Lang
Junior defensive end Terrance Lang was also a part of Tuesday’s virtual event, as he was interviewed by former CU defensive lineman Alonzo Barrett (2004-07).
Asked about his goals, Lang, who has eight career quarterback sacks, said, “On my mirror in my room I have two goals written out. It’s to get a sack a game and the other one is, as far as school, to get a higher GPA than I got last semester. I’ve got those two goals written on my mirror in my room and I see them every day.”
Lang is not participating in team workouts this spring because of offseason shoulder surgery, but Dorrell said the 6-foot-7, 290-pound Lang is doing well in conditioning.
“He’s lapping the defensive lineman,” Dorrell told Johnson. “He runs like a deer. … It’s an impressive thing to see because he’s a fabulous athlete. We’re hoping he obviously gets recovered from the shoulder surgery and gets ready to go for the fall. We think he’s going to be fantastic.”
Dorrell added that Lang had his best academic semester in the fall. Last season, Lang had 14 tackles, one sack, and five tackles for loss.
Stanley doubling up
Receiver Dimitri Stanley was added to the CU track and field roster this week, joining safety Mark Perry as dual-sport athletes. Stanley is slated to run in the 100 meters at the CU Invitational this weekend.
Stanley, who caught 20 passes for 335 yards last year, is doing well on the football field, too.
“Dimitri is having a great camp so far this spring and I feel like we didn’t utilize him enough last year,” Dorrell told Johnson. “We need to get him more targets, get him going a little bit more because he’s a fabulous player.”
During the virtual event, Stanley was interviewed by 1990 CU team MVP Mike Pritchard, while cornerback Mekhi Blackmon was interviewed by Chris Hudson, the 1994 Thorpe Award winner. … Dorrell said running back Deion Smith, who missed the 2020 season with a knee injury, is “on the mend and probably ready to go by training camp.” … Former CU defensive end Antonio Alfano has enrolled at Independence (Kan.) Community College, according to reports. Alfano, a former five-star recruit, enrolled at CU about 15 months ago and never played for the Buffs, but entered the transfer portal in March. ICC head coach Jason Martin is the brother of CU cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin.