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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Walters has players’ respect

    With former co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Greg Brown now at Colorado, Arizona will miss his 15 years of NFL coaching experience and a well-respected football mind when the Wildcats take on Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

    But Brown didn’t leave the Wildcats empty handed.

    His protégé and former Colorado safety, Ryan Walters, remains on Arizona’s staff as a graduate assistant and is quickly gaining the respect of players and coaches alike.

    “”Coach Brown was just a real fun guy to be around. He knew a lot, not just about defense but about offense,”” said senior safety Joe Perkins. “”We lose some of that in him, but Ryan, he’s great. He knows just about everything coach Brown knew so we’re just trying to pick up the slack behind him.””

    The 24-year-old Walters started 33 games at safety under Brown at Colorado, finishing his notable career in 2008.  Walters was chosen by his Buffaloes’ teammates as the squad’s most valuable player in 2008 and earned the Hang Tough Award for overcoming adversity.

    Brown mentored Walters during his playing days, and when Brown left the Buffaloes for Arizona in 2009, Walters quickly followed. After one season with the Wildcats, he’s blossomed into a respectable young coach.

    “”Ryan’s done a great job of supporting Greg (Brown) and our defensive backs so Ryan’s very aware of what we’re doing and he’s a very talented young coach,”” said head coach Mike Stoops.

    Simply put, Walters is an extension of Brown, with a bright future.

    “”He knows his stuff,”” said senior safety Anthony Wilcox. “”He’s been around coach Brown for a while because it’s kind of liking having coach Brown still around.””

    Walters shares the same views and philosophies as Brown, but he also brings playing experience that goes a long way for Arizona’s defensive backs.

    “”When he tells you stuff you kind of look at the film, even when we watched Oklahoma State and Colorado old film, you’re going to see him on there so you can respect someone who you’ve seen do what he’s asking you to do,”” Wilcox said.

    Walters played against OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden, which gives him even more knowledge to offer heading into the Alamo Bowl.

    Stoops, a former safety and longtime defensive backs coach, is sitting in on meetings and helping out with the secondary with Brown out of town. But it’s Walters’ fresh playing experience and valuable insight that has Arizona’s secondary all ears.

    “”He’s a great coach. He has a lot of technique stuff to teach us. He can relate to us a lot so we like him a lot,”” said junior cornerback Robert Golden. “”He just finished playing himself so he knows what it takes to go out there and get a good victory.””

    On Friday, Stoops said that he’d hire a secondary coach sometime after the Alamo Bowl, but the youthful Walters isn’t a bad option for the time being.

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