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CU At The Game Podcast – Spring Practices, 2022: A Look at the Buff defense and special teams

Brad Geiger and Neil Langland are back, joining Stuart Whitehair to present our second look at the CU Spring roster, this time focusing on the Buff defense and special teams.

The Colorado defense in 2021 struggled statistically, in part due to a CU offense which had a hard time consistently putting together drives and staying on the field:

The 2021 national rankings (out of 130 teams):

– 96th in the nation in rushing defense (178.6 yds/game);
– 90th in the nation in passing defense (242.3 yds/game);
– 98th in the nation in total defense (420.9 yds/game); and
– 73rd in the nation in scoring defense (26.7 pts/game).

Now the Buffs do return no fewer than five – count ‘em, five – senior defensive linemen. In all there are seven upperclass defensive linemen back, including three starters. Will the experience on the line give CU some production, making it easier for the Buff linebackers to make up for the loss of Nate Landman and Carson Wells? … Will the three new transfers – Chance Main, Isaac Hurtado and Jeremy Mack – have an instant impact? … Is there enough young talent in the defensive backfield to make up for the loss of three starters, or will the CU coaching staff be looking to the Transfer Portal for help this summer?

Let’s find out …

Previous podcasts … All of the Episodes from Season 1 (2020), and Season 2 (2021), can be downloaded here … The most recent … 

Below is Episode 14 of Season 3 for the CU at the Game Podcast. You can listen to the podcast simply by clicking on the play button below, or listen it to it here at Buzzsprout, or at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, IHeartRadio … or wherever you find your podcasts!

2 Replies to “CUATG Podcast – Spring Roster Review: Defense and Special Teams”

  1. You all turned over my punch bowl that I was drinking the kool-aid from! Despite making me question my optimism I really appreciate the thoughts all of you provided. I think it is easy to get down on this defense based on last year, the loss of Landman, Wells, Gonzalez, and Blackmon. Frankly, if the offense could stay on the field at all last year I think we win 6 and go bowling.

    I will provide a little optimistic content.
    – I forget who mentioned it, but I agree on Barnes. I think his transition to ILB was slower than we all expected and hoped for. I think we started to see his capabilities at the end of last year and I am excited to see his growth.
    – Reed. So you remember Gonzalez freshman year where he kept running into recievers for pass interference? Well he was still doing it last year. I rewatched the whole season on Pac-12 app (those that you could) and he was still running into recievers, not turning around when the ball was in the air. You what Reed did as a freshman? One of the prettiest interceptions I have seen in a long time. His technique was beautiful to watch. I think we may have replaced Gonzo just fine. I want to see a whole season of it. Becuase of his size he might not be as good in run support as Gonzo was but let’s see what Turley can do. I will be interested to see his frame at spring practices.
    Woods – I got to talk to Maxie at the event a couple weeks ago. Maxie likes Woods a lot. Says he is a very smart player, understands the game. It’s obvious he has the physical skills. I suspect at safety we will be just fine.

    So we have a solid d line, ILB and safety group. We have a young corner group, and An average or unkown OLB group. Nothing spectacular that we know of. Though I think Reed and Woods might be special eventually. Barnes may really flash. And I am excited to see the line we have in a 4 man front. I think Lang may shine in that structure and with Main a tweener I could see him dropping into and out of the line. I also think it will help Barnes. As a line backer I loved the 4-3. It really let me flow. I know the traditional wisdom is that in a 3 man front the d lineman are holding up the o lineman but I can tell you it never felt that way. I always felt that they were combo blocking and scraping off to me constantly. In the 4-3 I felt I had my gap responsibility and given the flow of the play I pretty much knew who had my as their assignment so it became a race to see if I could get to the play before they could effectively wall me off. I expect Barnes to win that race a lot.

    But at the end of the day we need better offense. If we can stay on the field just a bit longer, our defense will be so much better, even with the losses.

    1. Good stuff, Rob. Nikko definitely knows the game. My only concern w/ him has been, and is, his size, as you pointed out, as well. But, if he can take the beating of a full season, even if slight for a corner and returner, that will bode well. And, that’s exactly why Gonzo is an NFL guy. He’s got the football IQ, talent, size and speed. I’m sure he’ll be working on his ball skills this year. But, he’s gone. It’s that depth on the back end that has me worried, same w/ LB’s. It’s hard to know what’s there b/c we really haven’t seen them. But, we’re still five months away, and I’m sure the roster will change a bit more in May through August, as well.

      Looking forward to hearing your thoughts after seeing a scrimmage or two. I gotta think you’ll check at least one out.

      Go Buffs

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