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Spring Practices … First Look: Defensive Line

Program Note … Spring practices begin March 18th (Spring Game: April 27th). Between now and the start of spring ball, previews will be posted for each unit of the 2019 Colorado roster.

… Previously posted: QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide Receivers/Tight EndsOffensive Line

The roster: 

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (13 scholarship):

Seniors: Lyle Tuiloma*; Jauntavius Johnson**
Juniors: Mustafa Johnson; Terriek Roberts; Jeremiah Doss***;
Sophomores: Terrance Lang;  Janaz Jordan**
Redshirt freshmen: Jalen Sami; Melekiola Finau
True freshmen: Na’im Rodman; Austin Willams; Jayden Simon; Lloyd Murray

bold: denotes returning starter

*  While still on the CU official roster, it is widely reported that Tuiloma will not be a part of the team in 2019.

** Junior college transfer, will not be on campus until summer.

*** Junior college transfer, enrolled, and will participate in spring practices.

The stats (2018)

Mustafa Johnson … 673 plays … 73 tackles (53 unassisted) … 8.5 sacks (led team) … 9.0 other tackles (second on team) … 16 quarterback pressures (led team) … 10.0 third down stops (third on team) …

Terrance Lang … 263 plays … 11 tackles (nine unassisted) … one sack … one tackle for loss …

Lyle Tuiloma … 197 plays … 11 tackles (six unassisted) … two third down stops …

Terriek Roberts … one play … one unassisted tackle

Second choice? … 

New head coach Mel Tucker has three holdovers from the Mike MacIntyre coaching staff – wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Darrin Chiaverini; running backs coach Darian Hagan; and inside linebackers/special teams coach Ross Els.

There were supposed to be four.

Kwahn Drake was CU’s defensive line coach last year, his first in Boulder. It appeared that the 2019 season was to be his second, but on December 13th, Drake opted to follow former CU defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot to coach at Kansas, leaving Mel Tucker to look for another defensive line coach.

Enter Jimmy Brumbaugh.

Brumbaugh came to Colorado from the University of Maryland, where he had served as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the previous two seasons.

Brumbaugh, 42, had spent the prior four seasons at the University of Kentucky, establishing himself as one of the top defensive line coaches in the country.   He has also served as an assistant coach at Louisiana State, Louisiana Tech and Syracuse.

While serving as defensive line coach at Kentucky (2013-16), he developed a pair of 2015 NFL draft picks.  Bud Dupree was a first round selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Za’Darius Smith, who Brumbaugh coached in junior college, was chosen in the fourth round by the Baltimore Ravens.  Overall, four defensive linemen earned All-SEC honors during his tenure with the Wildcats.

“Jimmy is a Pete Jenkins disciple,” Tucker said.  “Tremendous character, a real team guy who is an excellent teacher of technique and fundamentals.  He’s a proven developer of talent and a tenacious recruiter.”  Jenkins was a veteran coach of 54 seasons, 22 in the Southeastern Conference, and was Brumbaugh’s position coach at Auburn.

If Brumbaugh was Tucker’s second choice, he still appears to be a good one.

Are we heading for another “Spring Showcase”? … 

The last few years, spring practices wound down with a “Spring Showcase”. Mike MacIntyre didn’t want to give up one of his 15 allotted practices for a Spring Game, so the one chance the Buff Nation had to see their team between November and September turned into a “first half” of players going through drills, then a “second half” consisting of a controlled scrimmage.

No word as of yet as to how Mel Tucker will handle the 2019 Spring Game, but the new coaching staff may also turn to a limited game, a scrimmage, or a “showcase”.

Not because Tucker is subscribing to the MacIntyre school of “don’t generate any springtime interest in your program”, but because he won’t have enough warm bodies along the defensive line to conduct a full scrimmage.

Of the seven defensive linemen who played significant snaps last year, only Mustafa Johnson and sophomore Terrance Lang are slated to return. Starting nose tackle Javier Edwards and key reserves Jase Franke and Chris Mulumba all graduated; end Israel Antwine transferred to Oklahoma State; and Lyle Tuiloma, who would have been a senior year in the fall, has decided to finish his degree and not play next season.

Mel Tucker and his new staff have emphasized defensive line in recruiting this offseason, adding junior college transfers Jeremiah Doss and Janaz Jordan and four high school recruits. The four prep recruits — Lloyd Murray Jr., Na’im Rodman, Jayden Simon and Austin Williams — weigh an average of 309 pounds.

“We have to emphasize D-line because we were thin last year, and with some of the people that left, we’re thin again, if not thinner because we don’t have people that are experienced to come in and play,” Johnson said.

But … of the six new bodies, only one, junior college transfer Jeremiah Doss, is on campus and available to participate in spring drills.

So, the head count for Jimmy Brumbaugh’s first spring as CU’s defensive line coach: juniors Mustafa Johnson, Terriek Roberts, and Jeremiah Doss; sophomore Terrance Lang; and red-shirt freshmen Jalen Sami and Melekiola Finau.

That’s six warm bodies.

May not be enough for a full spring game.

Just sayin’ …

That being said, the (hopefully not too distant) future looks bright …

It may not be fully felt this spring, or even this fall, but help is on the way for Mustafa Johnson.

“I’m excited, because I know I was doing really well during the season, but come games 6-7-8, I could feel the wear and tear on my body,” Johnson told the Daily Camera. “I had to fight through it, but I noticed I wasn’t able to do some of the stuff I was able to do early on in the season. It’s going to help us out a lot; a lot of depth will keep us fresh.”

Johnson has yet to see his new teammates on the field, but said he’s eager to watch the continued development of Sami and others who are coming back. He also praised Lang, who played more as the 2018 season went along.

“He got a lot better as the season progressed,” Johnson said. “He made a lot of great moves; it just comes down to finishing. Some of my sacks are credited to him; he forced the pocket and made it come my way. He definitely got better as the season progressed.”

But here’s the thing …

Barring any additional transfer supplements to the lineup, Colorado will enter the 2019 season with 12 scholarship defensive linemen.

Of the 12, eight will be underclassmen.

Of the 12, nine will be taking the field as a Buff for the first time this fall.

Last season, the defensive line was one of the weaker units on the team, but it was still much improved over 2017, as the Buffs moved up from 109th in the nation in rushing defense in 2017 to 44th in rushing defense in 2018 (the defensive line also helped the defense overall move up from 110th in total defense in 2017 to 52nd last year).

While star-in-the-making Mustafa Johnson returns, Javier Edwards, Israel Antwine, Lyle Tuiloma, Jase Franke and Chris Mulumba are all gone.

It’s not a stretch to say that new defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh has his work cut out for him this off-season.

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3 Replies to “Spring Practices … First Look: Defensive Line”

  1. Last game 2018 dline depth chart

    LFT DEFENSIVE END
    95 Israel Antwine, 6‐4, 315, Fr.
    54 Terrance Lang, 6‐7, 275, Fr.‐RS
    16 Chris Mulumba, 6‐4, 285, Sr.*
    NOSE TACKLE
    33 Javier Edwards, 6‐3, 325, Sr.*
    72 Lyle Tuiloma, 6‐3, 310, Jr.**
    98 Nico Magri, 6‐3, 275, Fr.‐RS
    97 Mo Bandi, 6‐5, 270, Sr.
    RIGHT DEFENSIVE END
    34 Mustafa Johnson, 6‐2, 290, Soph.
    16 Chris Mulumba, 6‐4, 285, Sr.*

    Antwine will be missed. Too bad he got homesick

    LEFT DEFENSIVE END
    TERRANCE LANG 6’7″ 285 RSSoph
    NA’IM RODMAN 6’2″ 295 FR
    JAYDEN SIMON 6’3″ 300 FR

    NOSE TACKLE
    JANAZ JORDAN 6’4″ 305 jr
    Jalen Sami 6’6 320 RSF
    LLOYD MURRAY JR.6’2″ 325 FR
    AUSTIN WILLIAMS 6’3″ 330 FR

    RIGHT DEFENSIVE END
    Mustafa Johnson, 6‐2, 290, Soph.
    JEREMIAH DOSS 6’4″ 260 JR.
    TERRIEK ROBERTS 6’6″ 270 LBS RSJR

    And maybe………… Jaunta’vius Johnson 6’2″, 326 Sr

    also

    MELEKIOLA FINAU 6’3″ 274 LBS RSF
    BEN MARTINEZ 6’2″ 270 LBS RSF

    I guess the deal is the notable size difference of the new additions as compared to the past.

    If the talent is at least 3 star (who cares) and this coach has the cred the dline this year and going forward will be very BIG and well coached. Oh Mein Gott, it can happen.

    Buffs

    Note: The Oline as well……………….BIG and well coached………………….WHAT IS GOING ON OUT There

  2. Agree heard Sami was really developing when he hurt the knee. Johnson Smi and Lang are a good front 3, probably better than last year’s 3 in total so not so bad. Really a shame Drake left because Israel may have stayed if there weren’t all 3 close to him changing at the same time. Alot for a kid with his condition to deal with. I feel sorry for the young man and hope he can find a stable situation and he can grow within that.

  3. So Roberts was allowed onto the field for one play and with that play he made an unassisted tackle.
    hmmmm
    I see Johnson and Lang on the ends with Sami plugging the middle. Heard a lot of people who should be in the know give high praise to Sami. Probably up to the JC guys to provide most of the rest to the starters. I dont see much garbage time for the rookies past CSU and AF. Be awesome if there is GT in the Husker game. Hopefully the fans will have some chants for their Pervert RB. You know fo sho he will still be on the team.

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