As heat baked the artificial turf at First Security Field at Estes Stadium, Radarius Winston stood in full gear, squinted a little in the sun and smiled.

Thursday, even on a hot early afternoon, he was enjoying Media Day after a year’s absence.

"It’s great to be back out here," said Winston, a 5-11, 192-pound junior whom head coach Clint Conque desribes as a calming and solidifying presence at safety.

After establishing himself as one of the best at his position in the Southland Conference two years ago, Winston, from Bastrop, La., missed last season after an off-the-field foot injury during the summer.

"The only difference for me is adjusting to game speed and game shape again," he said. "But I’m confident at my position. I’ve been doing it awhile."

The Bears have a new safeties coach in Dan Wheeler.

"He’s brought in a new style and it took a couple of days to adjust to his style," he said. "But it’s helped a lot with run situations and the passing game."

He watched most of the games from the stands last year and saw some younger defensive backs step up, which he said was an asset this year.

"They have game experience and I have game experience," he said. "We all know the defense and we know each other."

So, as he joined his teammates for position photo, he adjusted his uniform.

"I feel right at home now," he said. "Once I put on cleats and socks and the uniform and get between those white lines, it’s another day at the office and the adrenaline gets going."