Colorado Defensive Preview

Colorado may not be that strong on defense, but there is some talent there. Read on to see what Arizona needs to watch out for and more.

Colorado's defense has struggled this season, but there are still a few talented players that are capable of making an impact.

Leading the charge is 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe. He is the only player on the Colorado defense capable of consistently getting after the passer and while he is slightly undersized, he can help out in the run game as well.

The other defensive end is 6-foot-2, 245-pound Juda Parker. Parker has similar physical dimensions to Uzo-Diribe, but that is where the comparisons end. He has one sack on the season and it would not be a surprise to see Arizona attack him.

The Buffaloes possess solid size at the defensive tackle position and have gotten some solid production out of Nate Bonsu. The 6-foot-1, 280-pound senior is capable of applying some interior pressure and can also help out a bit in the run game.

The other tackle, Josh Tupou, is a young 300-pounder who is largely unproven. In addition to those two, sophomore Justin Solis will get some action and he has one more sack that Tupou in about half the plays.

Heading the linebacking corps is Addison Gillam. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound freshman is one of the young stars in the conference and already one of its surer tacklers. He has great size for his position and could be a nationally known name by this time next season, as he leads the Buffs with 67 tackles, which is 25 more than the next guy.

Flanking Gillam are upperclassmen Derrick Webb and Woodson Greer. Webb has made his impact felt in a couple games and is usually aggressive in trying to get to the quarterback and applying pressure.

At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Greer certainly looks the part. However, he only has 26 tackles and is more of a solid linebacker type than he is a playmaker.

Colorado is equally susceptible to the passing and running game, but cornerback Greg Henderson isn't one of the guilty parties. Already snagging four interceptions and deflecting a handful of passes this season, Henderson is one of the better corners in the conference.

The other cornerback, 6-foot-1, 165-pound Kenneth Crawley, is talented, but his slight build makes him vulnerable against bigger receivers. He does have good size in terms of height, but he tends to get pushed around a bit.

The safeties are fairly nondescript. Free safety Jared Bell has made some big plays this season with two interceptions, but he has been beaten over the top multiple times against vertical teams.

Strong safety Parker Orms is scrappy and is among the leaders in tackles with 35. He is only 5-foot-11, 190 pounds and while he is not explosive, he can get the job done for the most part.

Players to Watch

#96, DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe: Uzo-Diribe is maybe the most physically gifted player on the CU defense. He has two sacks along with six tackles for loss and five forced fumbles and will probably play on Sundays.

#44, MLB Addison Gillam: Gillam is a stud. Only a true freshman, Gillam doesn't look like a first year player. He has an incredible feel for the game and it won't be a surprise if he eventually becomes one of the best players in the conference.

#20, DB Greg Henderson: The most talented player in the CU secondary, Henderson has been a playmaker this season, totaling four interceptions and five pass breakups.

Keys to the Game

Don't get frustrated early: Despite possessing one of the least talented rosters in the Pac-12, Colorado has actually been relatively strong at forcing three and outs. If that happens on Saturday, Arizona can't get frustrated.

Watch for Uzo-Diribe: As noted above, Uzo-Diribe specializes in forcing turnovers and it will be on Denker to avoid the strip sack. He will likely have free reign on Saturday and Arizona needs to account for him.

Stay patient with the run: Colorado's defense is better than last year's, but Arizona should be able to move the ball on the ground. Maybe not to the tune of 360 yards, but 200 from Carey plus should be doable.


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