BOULDER - Ray Polk had no reservations last winter about making the switch from offense to defense. And after only four days of camp, his new position coach has no reservations about Polk's potential.
"From Day 1 to Day 3, his improvement has been unbelievable," Colorado secondary coach Greg Brown said of Polk's transition from running back to safety.
"He's still not doing everything right; he's still learning," Brown continued. "Some of his calls aren't right and he's not lining up right every time. But he's fast and strong and can hit."
Due to Polk's off-season surgeries on both shoulders, Brown wasn't able to scrutinize Polk in spring drills. But after seeing Polk perform only since August work began last Friday, Brown believes his newest safety might be the fastest player on the team.
Senior cornerback Cha'pelle Brown pondered the same thought: "I'd like to see (Polk) and Jimmy Smith (junior cornerback) run head-to-head. Ray can run."
Greg Brown said Polk's coverage abilities would improve, but added Polk's speed allows some margin for error "because he closes so fast."
Cha'pelle Brown also said Polk's improvement was noticeable: "He's going to be fighting day-to-day to play. He's in a different position, and that's a hard transition, moving to defensive back. But he's coming on."
A 6-foot-1, 200-pounder who arrived at CU last summer as one of two nationally rated tailbacks in the 2008 recruiting class (Darrell Scott was the other), Polk said before camp began that he believed he could compete immediately with returning safeties Patrick Mahnke and Anthony Perkins.
Turns out he was right.
BUFF BITS: Receiver Andre Simmons remained a spectator for both of Monday's practices. Coach Dan Hawkins blamed the delay on "the formality of getting his grades together and getting them posted" by Independence (Kan.) Community College. "There's just a ton of administrative loops." . . . . CU's roster shows five quarterbacks, with only three of them on scholarship - junior Cody Hawkins, sophomore Tyler Hansen and freshman Clark Evans. The others are walk-ons Seth Lobato and Jerry Slota. The Buffs' No. 3 QB will have to come from among Evans, Lobato and Slota, and Hawkins said each of those players "are a long ways away" from being game-ready . . . . The Buffs practice once today (9:45 a.m.-noon, open to public).