Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Week in the Dawg House Part II: Colorado Defense



While the Buffs' offense is quite paltry, the D is better but still not great. They currently rank 59th nationally in scoring defense (22.7), and 40th in total defense (312 ypg allowed). However, they rank tied for 10th in the Big 12 in Yards per Play Allowed (5.4). They have forced 5 turnovers thus far, run a standard 4-3 defense, and are coordinated by Ron Collins, who came with Hawkins from Boise. Let's take a look at each position group:

DEFENSIVE LINE: The Buffs' defensive line is athletic but somewhat undersized. Here is the projected starting front four:

DE #55 Josh Hartigan (6-1 225, 4 tkls this year)
DT #50 Curtis Cunningham (6-1 280, 4 tkls)
NT #83 Will Pericak (6-4 280, 13 tkls, leading tackler among D-line)
DE #90 Marquez Herrod (6-2 280, 1 tkl)

So yeah, this is probably the weakest group based on size and production thus far. As a group they do have 7 sacks and 19 tackles for loss through three games, so on passing downs, what they lack in size, they make up for in speed. Unfortunately, I think we are going to get a big dose of the running plays by the Dawgs to try to wear down the smaller front four. Here are the top backup defensive linemen:

DE #92 Forrest West (6-2 260, 3 tkls)
DT #98 Eugene Goree (6-1 310, 1 tkl)
NT #93 Conrad Obi (6-3 295, 1 tkl)
DE #44 Nick Casa (6-6 275, 2 tkls, probably the most talented D-linemen based on recruiting)

LINEBACKERS: The Buffs' linebacking core is led by senior middle linebacker #10 Michael Sipili, who has punched out a fellow Colorado student...no seriously....and here are the projected starters:

WLB #31 Jon Major (6-1 225, 12 tkls, probably the most talented linebacker)
MLB #10 Michael Sipili (6-1 250, 13 tkls, t-2nd most on team...has lots of tribal tats and stuff to go along with his assault and battery charges)
SLB #58 Tyler Athles (6-1 245, 6 tkls)

Also, #59 B.J. Betty should get considerable playing time at SLB, and leads the team in sacks with 2.5 and tackles for loss with 5.5.

Although this unit is not the most talented in the world, they do have considerable experience, and based on how other teams' linebackers have played against the Dawgs, I would expect career days from all the starters. Seriously though, they appear to be much better at stopping the run than the pass, as they had only 1 INT last year as a group, and have none so far this year. Major is the player to watch, as the RS Sophomore had offers from Oklahoma, Michigan, and Wisconsin coming out of high school.

SECONDARY: This is probably the best overall starting unit on the Colorado defense. The problem for the remaining year with be depth. Since the first game, the Buffs have lost their starting nickel (Parker Orms), their backup nickel (Travis Sandersfield), and yes, their third string nickel (Paul Vigo). Basically, they have zero depth in the secondary, as these three backed up the starters at each position as well. (Quick message for Bobo: put 4 receivers in the game, forcing them to bring in an inexperienced extra defensive back. Just a thought) Anyway, here are the starters for Saturday:

CB #23 Jalil Brown (6-1 205, 8 tackles, 1 INT, also started last year)
CB #3 Jimmy Smith (6-2 205, 12 tkls, 1 PBU)
SS #46 Anthony Perkins (5-10 200, 24 tackles, which leads team by far, 1 INT, 1.5 TFL, and 1 fumble recovery. This is their best defensive player in my opinion (notice he's in bold), and is certainly the most active, so the Dawgs need not take him lightly. (side note: I did some research and concluded that this is NOT the same guy that starred in the Psycho movies. So rest easy)
FS #26 Ray Polk (6-1 210, 12 tkls)

As I said earlier, the starters in the secondary are experienced, with three returning from last season, but they have virually no depth right now. Hopefully one of the starters will get hurt....wait, nevermind, that was cruel.

Punter: The Buffs punter is RFr. #15 Zach Grossnickle. He's averaging 39.82 yards per punt which ranks 80th nationally. That's about all I have to say about that.

Just to recap, here is the projected depth chart for Saturday:

DE #92 Forrest West (6-2 260, 3 tkls)
DT #98 Eugene Goree (6-1 310, 1 tkl)
NT #93 Conrad Obi (6-3 295, 1 tkl)
DE #44 Nick Casa (6-6 275, 2 tkls)

WLB #31 Jon Major (6-1 225, 12 tkls)
MLB #10 Michael Sipili (6-1 250, 13 tkls)
SLB #58 Tyler Athles (6-1 245, 6 tkls)

CB #23 Jalil Brown (6-1 205, 8 tackles, 1 INT)
CB #3 Jimmy Smith (6-2 205, 12 tkls, 1 PBU)
SS #46 Anthony Perkins (5-10 200, 24 tackles)
FS #26 Ray Polk (6-1 210, 12 tkls)

P #15 Zach Grossnickle (6-2 185)



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