After switching to the 3-4 last year, Colorado is back to the 4-3 this season. The switch has not made much of a difference, as Colorado is near the bottom in most defensive statistics. Colorado is 112th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 37.1 ppg. They are 105th in rushing defense, allowing 207 ypg on the ground, and that number could be much worse as they played 2 FCS teams and held them to roughly 100 ypg. Similarly, Colorado is 108th in passing defense, allowing 268 ypg despite holding one FCS team to 48 passing yards.
Here is a link to the latest depth chart. We'll take a deeper look at the defensive starters in the following paragraphs.
The defensive line has some young girth in its pair of DTS Josh Tupou (6‐3, 305, Fr.) and Justin Solis (6'3, 305, So.). Both played last year as true freshmen. Nate Bonsu (6‐1, 285, Sr.) is the primary backup and should see plenty of action.
At ends, pass rush specialist Chidera Uzo‐Diribe (6‐3, 240, Sr.) starts at RE while Juda Parker (6-2, 245, Jr.) starts at LE. Uzo-Diribe has 2 sacks and 8 tackles for loss this season and has 16.5 career sacks. Parker has been quiet with only one sack. Kirk Poston (6‐1, 255, Jr.), Samson Kafovalu (6'3, 250, So.), and Jimmie Gilbert (6-4, 220, Fr.) will also play in the rotation.
Colorado's leading tackler is MLB Addison Gillam (6-3, 225, Fr.). Gillam has been impressive in his freshman debut and brings a lot of speed to the position for the Buffs defense. Gillam has 66 tackles, roughly 9.5 per game, and also has 2 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. Brady Daigh (6'2, 250, Jr.) was the expected starter, but he's backing up Gillam this year.
Gilliam is flanked by Derrick Webb (6‐0, 220, Sr.) and Woodson Greer (6-3, 225, Jr.). Webb played middle linebacker last year and fits the WILL role. Behind them, there is a lot of youth and Paul Vigo (6'1, 200, Sr.), but Webb and Greer will stay on the field for the most part.
In the secondary, Colorado returns corners Greg Henderson (5‐11, 185, Jr.) and Kenneth Crawley (6'1, 170, So.), who have both started their entire careers at Colorado, and safeties Jered Bell(6'0, 195, Jr.) and Parker Orms (5'11, 195, Sr.) both have plenty of experience. The experience has helped Colorado hold opponents to a completion rate of only 56%, which is good for 37th in the country.
In nickel situations, Colorado will bring in youth in freshman Chidobe Awuzie (6-0, 190, Fr.) and Marques Mosley (6'1, 180, So.). Colorado could have used Yuri Wright here, but Wright is taking a red shirt due to injuries.
That concludes the preview of Colorado's defense. Feel free to add your thoughts and comments.