Pac-12 Conference Football Preview: Colorado Buffaloes

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If Colorado’s offense looked bad on the stat sheet in 2011, their defense looked worse. During a five game span in the 2011 season, the Colorado defense let their opponents score forty or more points per game which included Colorado’s 45-2 loss against the Oregon Ducks.

If anything needs to change in 2012 for Colorado, it would have to be there defense. There is no chance for Colorado to be a top Pac-12 team if they are giving up this many points per game.

Despite their poor defense in 2011, there were some bright spots. Linebackesr Patrick Mahnke and Josh Hartigan were the team leaders in 2011. Hartigan was the team leader with eight sacks for 44 yards in the season. Mahnke led the team in tackles for loss in 2011, and also had five tackles for loss netting fifteen yards. Add another two and a half sacks of his own for fifteen yards.

Colorado has the tools in place to replace Hartigan and Mahnke. However, can these players step up the plate in 2012?

Upon looking at Colorado’s linebackers, one can see that Colorado’s team leader for tackles, Jon Major, is entering his senior year in 2012. Major played in all thirteen games in 2011 and had 85 total tackles. He also recorded three sacks for 49 yards and four tackles for loss for nine yards. Major needs to step up as a leader for the Colorado defense and take control in the next season.

Another Colorado player that needs to step up on defense is Chidera Uzo-Diribe. Uzo-Diribe had five and a half sacks for 37 yards in 2011. He needs to be a sack machine and make more tackles in 2012 if Colorado wants to have a better season. In thirteen games in 2011, Uzo-Diribe recorded only eighteen tackles for the season.

Key Defensive Injuries:

  • Nate Bonsu (not expected to miss extended time)
  • Douglas Rippy (not expected to miss extended time)
  • Jered Bell (not expected to miss extended time)