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CU Buffs’ Casey Roddick shaking off rust

Starting guard settling into starting role again after missing most of offseason with illness

BOULDER, CO – October 16, 2020:  Offensive lineman Casey Roddick during Colorado football practice. (Courtesy photo/University of Colorado)
BOULDER, CO – October 16, 2020: Offensive lineman Casey Roddick during Colorado football practice. (Courtesy photo/University of Colorado)
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A year ago, Casey Roddick got used to being in Colorado’s starting lineup and had hoped to carry that momentum into this year.

An offseason illness, however, threw him out of whack and the fourth-year sophomore right guard is still working through some kinks as the Buffaloes (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12) go through their bye week in preparation for an Oct. 16 matchup with Arizona.

“Being out for even one month is pretty detrimental but being out for six months, it took a lot of time to try to get back,” said Roddick, who missed the entire spring and wasn’t cleared until just before the start of preseason camp in August. “I’m still working back into it, but it’s more so the mental side behind it, knowing certain steps on certain plays and stuff like that. The physical part is over because you’ve already been accustomed and in tune to the practices throughout camp but now it’s more the mental side and knowing certain blocks and stuff like that.”

Roddick, listed at 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, started all six games of the 2020 season and has started 11 of the 23 games he’s played at CU.

This year, Roddick has shared the right guard spot with Kanan Ray for much of the season. Ray started the first two games and played about two-thirds of the snaps in those games, with Roddick getting about a third of the snaps.

Roddick has started the last three games and in the last two he has played more than 90% of the snaps. Although still regaining his chemistry with right tackle Frank Fillip (who missed several months this offseason and the first two games of the season), Roddick believes that is coming along.

“I’m still working to get into the mix and stuff like that, in terms of just trying to get back and ready,” he said. “There’s that aspect, but at the end of the day it’s all good.”

While working to get himself back up to speed, Roddick is doing his best to get the entire offensive line to improve. It is a group that has struggled at times, and Roddick has heard the criticism. He listens to some of the criticism but takes the next play mentality.

“You kind of have to drown (the criticism) out and understand this isn’t life or death,” he said. “It’s playing football. It’s doing my job. I didn’t do my job correctly (on a particular play), but next time I promise you I will.

“Ultimately, to an extent, you do have to focus on what’s inside of the meeting room and at the end of the day, what’s inside for those 100 guys that are on the field and playing, not for the 46,000 other coaches that are in the stands. You’ve got to focus on what your unit and most specifically what you need to work on and get better at. Ultimately, you’re going to be a great team after that.”

Cleaning up the D

CU’s defense has been solid for the most part this year, but linebacker Nate Landman knows there is plenty of work to be done before the Buffs’ next game.

“I think we need to improve on missed tackles,” said Landman, who leads the Buffs with 53 tackles. “I think we have the players and we have players in the right spot sometimes. We just have to make those plays. Some guys are making plays against us, whether that’s in the run game or the pass game.”

Landman said the Buffs also need to work on cutting down on big plays. Opponents have had 75 plays of at least 10 yards and 22 plays of at least 20 yards.

“If you take some of those big explosives out of the game, our averages are pretty darn good in the pass and run game,” he said.

With the CU offense struggling, the defense has been under some pressure lately, succumbing to a bit of fatigue late in games. Although the Buffs have given up 102 points (34.0 per game) in the last three games, the group remains confident.

“The best thing for a defense to do is play hard and run to the ball and tackle and I think we’re doing that,” Landman said. “Nobody’s discouraged on the defense. That’s kind of my area and I love leading those guys and I think they’re playing really hard. I think we’re doing some good stuff on defense. Obviously, we’ve got things to clean up and yeah, we’ve given up a lot of points but like I’ve said, whether it’s penalties or a few certain plays, it’s those explosives we have to minimize.”

Notes

Going into this weekend, Oregon was the only team in the Pac-12 to allow more plays of 10-plus yards than CU. The Ducks had allowed 84. … Since joining the Pac-12, CU is 4-6 in games following a bye week. That includes a 2019 loss at home to Arizona.

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