Aug. 5—Every day at practice, Colorado defensive coordinator Chris Wilson has a message for his group.
"Be the best at getting better," he said of the mantra for the Buffaloes' defense.
"I control what I can control, and I don't worry about anything else. We're going to be the best at getting better. And that way you can eliminate a lot of the stress and the anxieties of everything else. We don't control winning. We have to give ourselves the best opportunity to win every day, and that's kind of been our mantra going forward. They're really doing a good job. I'm really proud of them so far."
On Friday, the Buffs completed their fourth practice of preseason camp. They aren't in full pads and tackling yet, but they are continuing the process of building a defense.
Now in his third season at CU and second as coordinator, Wilson adjusted the Buffs' base defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. CU will use multiple fronts and defensive packages, but the reason for the switch to the 4-3 base was simple: it fits the roster.
"Everything's about our number one resource, which is our players," Wilson said. "And every year in college football it's becoming like the NFL; you're roster changing. So you have to customize your systems to your players. That's what we do every year. What we want to do is get the best players we can. We want to build it for the talented, smart, good athletes. And then whatever they do well, we tailor those things around those guys."
Tailoring the defense to the personnel is easier because Wilson is so familiar with the personnel after two seasons in the program.
"There's a lot of more familiarity with the players, our systems, the people we have coming in (in the third year)," he said. "There's nothing comfortable about what we do, but us being familiar with one another and the culture, that part is (better), yes. What I really like is what (head coach Karl) Dorrell is doing. It's growing: the standard, the expectations, and it's beginning to go from the top all the way down to the bottom. So that's been a great thing."
Defensive end Terrance Lang has been at CU for a while, but the sixth-year senior is still learning and still developing his game.
Wilson said the next step for Lang is to have better discipline.
"The talent level is pretty similar (between college and the NFL)," Wilson said. "The outlier is the discipline — guys who are willing to do it when they're not motivated. ... That's the next step (for Lang), showing up every day, staying consistent and just being the best to getting better. ... At this point in his career, and knowing that he's this far down the road is critical for his next step and he knows that. He's done a great job so far."
Lang is the most experienced player on the Buffs' defense, with 27 career starts.
The Buffs will have their fifth practice of the preseason on Saturday. That will be followed by CU's annual football media day. ... Monday will be the first day in full pads for the Buffs.