Nate Landman’s recovery “ahead of schedule,” CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell says
Nate Landman is apparently tackling rehab with the same juice he uses to bring down opposing tailbacks.
CU Buffs football coach Karl Dorrell told the Pac-12 Network on Tuesday morning that Landman, his star middle linebacker, is “ahead of schedule” in his recovery from a rupture to his right Achilles tendon suffered last December in the home finale vs. Utah.
“He’s doing really well,” Dorrell said of Landman, who had surgery last Dec. 15. “He’s excited.”
While Landman, who elected to return for a fifth season rather than enter the NFL draft, won’t participate in spring drills, Dorrell noted that the 6-foot-3 California native “will be doing some stuff on the side … he’ll be pushing the envelope as much as he can without driving the doctors crazy.”
Landman was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last season after leading CU in tackles (53) and solo stops (39) over five contests.
The Buffs are slated to open spring practice March 29. It’ll be the first formal set of spring practices for Dorrell, who was hired in February 2020 but saw his program, and CU athletics as a whole, shut down at this time last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dorrell went 4-2 in his inaugural, COVID-shortened season and led the Buffs to the postseason for the first time since 2016, taking home league coach of the year honors in the process.
The CU coach also noted Tuesday that the upcoming spring sessions would be “big” for sophomore quarterback Brendon Lewis. The native Texan turned heads with a standout night against Texas in the 2020 Alamo Bowl, coming off the bench to throw for 95 yards and run for 73 more.
CU’s starter at signal-caller last fall, graduate Sam Noyer, is also slated to return for 2021, but won’t participate in football drills until late summer, at the earliest, as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
“So it’s a big spring for Brendon Lewis and the other guys that are going to compete at the quarterback position,” Dorrell said. “There’s a number of kind of what I call these ‘soap-opera scenarios’: ‘Well how’s this going to work out, and this competition, and this and that?’ I mean, that’s the fun part.”