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CU football notes: Tyas Martin making progress

Freshman defensive lineman on track after back injury

Colorado's Tyas Martin (University of  Colorado)
Colorado’s Tyas Martin (University of Colorado)

With a mix of proven veterans and young players developing, the Colorado football team likes its depth at defensive line.

If Tyas Martin can also play, that would be a major bonus and boost the group even more.

Tyas Martin
Tyas Martin

A redshirt freshman from Helena, Ark., Martin is working his way back onto the field after dealing with back issues the past two years.

“He’s been a very pleasant surprise for us because we were concerned whether he would be ready to play this year and he had a really good summer,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He had to kind of retrain some things just because of the things that he’s been dealing with. He’s able to do that and he’s functioning well.”

Martin, listed at 6-foot-4, 345 pounds a year ago, is down to 320 and feeling great through the first week of preseason camp.

“The trainers, coach (Shannon) Turley and the staff, they just kept the confidence, building up my core and stuff like that so I’m more flexible and I’m feeling good,” said.

As a junior at Jacksonville (Ark.) High School in 2019, Martin earned all-conference honors after posting 70 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and six sacks. He missed his senior year, however, because of an L5 fracture in his lower back.

Last year, he played five snaps against Minnesota, but didn’t appear in any other games. Then, he tweaked his back in the winter and missed spring drills.

Healthy again, Martin is easing back into football. Early in camp, he focused on individual work, but is now adding team work, as well.

“He’s doing some really positive things without any setbacks, so we’re encouraged with the work he’s done this summer,” Dorrell said. “We’re bringing him along slowly but each day we’re giving him a little bit more and more. He’s been on a really good track right now.”

Martin is happy with his progress and enjoying working with new defensive line coach Gerald Chatman in hopes of being a part of the Buffs’ line rotation.

“I’m doing good and I’m feeling good,” he said. “Coach Chatman, he’s giving us more confidence, telling us to come out here and get 1% better every day. That’s what I try to do.

“I’m just coming out here making my presence felt every day, bringing high energy, keeping a smile on my face, staying positive. I feel like that goes a long way and then my play just backs everything up.”

More responsibility

This summer, Dorrell added the title of assistant head coach to first-year receivers coach Phil McGeoghan. It’s not just a title, though.

“For me, it gives me an opportunity to impact 100-plus athletes, rather than just the 14 receivers,” McGeoghan said. “It gives me a license to really get involved with them, find out about their personal histories. If they’re struggling, if they’re down, if there’s something going on with them, then I can just be a calm resource for them. They can shut the door and have a quiet place to talk to somebody where I’ll be vulnerable with them if they’re vulnerable with me.”

In addition to helping players, McGeoghan strives to help Dorrell as much as possible.

“I think being the assistant head coaches is to take as much off of coach Dorrell so he can do whatever he needs to do for this program to be successful,” he said. “If I can do anything in that day that makes coach Dorrell’s day go by little more quickly, more efficiently and a little bit more calmly, I think that’s my responsibility to do that.”


Dorrell said there are “numerous” players stepping up as vocal leaders on defense, including safety Isaiah Lewis and inside linebackers Robert Barnes, Josh Chandler-Semedo and Quinn Perry. The young players in the secondary are leading, as well. “I think there’s like eight or nine guys on that defensive unit that are all doing a great job of keeping everybody on the same page,” Dorrell said. … The Buffs were off Wednesday and return to the practice field Friday.

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