Aggies Will Keep Buffalo D-linemen Busy

Inside, CU junior defensive end Abraham Wright talks about the challenge of playing the Air Raid Aggies of New Mexico State, the danger of looking past NMSU, and how Colorado could have better defended CSU's final drive last Saturday.

Abraham Wright and his fellow defensive linemen have watched tape of the New Mexico State/UTEP game. UTEP went up 31-0 at halftime before beating the Aggies 34-17.

In that game, NMSU, using first-year head coach Hal Mumme's "Air Raid" offense, attempted 70 pass plays. Perhaps CU coaches showed the defensive linemen only the successful plays because Wright didn't realize until this interview on Wednesday that UTEP sacked NMSU quarterback Royal Gill eight times in the game.

"With UTEP getting eight, that kind of hypes me up. I did not know that," said Wright, who led CU with one sack in the Buffs' win over CSU Saturday.

Below, Wright talks about the challenges NMSU's no-huddle offense brings to the Buffs' d-line, and the danger of Colorado looking past the Aggies, and on to their next opponent, Miami.

Q: Like Texas Tech, they use those big splits between offensive linemen. What is that designed to do?
AW:
For us, if they have big splits, my coach doesn't want me to get outside (the tackle), he wants me to get in the split.

What they're doing is making more time for the quarterback. If I get inside of the tackle, that'll make him tighten down. It'll throw you off. You're way out there. After I come off the line, the quarterback is still so far away from you. Sometimes they do that quick three-step, boom, throw.

Q: In a general sense, what kind of quarterback is Royal Gill?
AW:
He'll run. He's a better runner than I thought. And he'll get rid of the ball. If you pressure – that's the biggest thing we didn't do enough of against CSU. Especially toward the end when they were driving. You've got to blitz.

If I come off the edge and I'm working the tackle, me and him are going at it, sometimes sending somebody right up my inside works. Blitzing won't let a quarterback et comfortable. Looking at film, we didn't do a good enough job (keeping Holland uncomfortable).

And this New Mexico State, they could jump 14-0 on you just like that.

Q: Is that a balance you have to find – do you blitz or do you cover the five receivers coming at you all the time?
AW:
The scheme we're running (against NMSU), we can rush four people and get pressure. It's going to still be good to blitz and run some stunts. But I think this should be a good day to get some sacks. But we've also got to be careful. I guarantee you, just like Coach Barnett said, if we're looking at Miami and not concentrating on (NMSU), at halftime, we're going to be in the locker room sick.

Just how college football works – if we say, ‘Oh, we beat UTEP last year…' I guarantee you, I've seen it happen. And Coach Barnett said, ‘If you all don't take them seriously, you're going to come in here Monday, sick.' I'm talking about thinking your whole season is over, and ‘why didn't we prepare for them like Miami.'

Q: You've been around here now a couple of years. What's your sense? Are the guys focusing in and taking the Aggies seriously?
AW:
We don't have a choice. Especially with what Coach Barnett is saying.

Now, let me say, a little part of their minds might be looking at Miami. But when you get on the field, we've been watching film, all you've got to do is play your best, know your assignments and go full speed. Other than that, I don't care if you're looking at Miami or New Mexico State, if you know your assignments when you get on the field, and go 100 miles an hour, everything is going to take care of itself.

Q: You being a pass rusher, does playing a team like this that passes so much get you juiced up?
AW:
It gets me juiced up and I don't like it in a way. Just because they run that 2-minute, no-huddle offense. Let's say I'm rushing – think about it, you're doing a 5- or 10-yard sprint, hitting the lineman. Then when they hop back up on the line, and they're going, you're still trying to catch your breath.

Washington State, last year, I liked that because they passed all the time, but they huddled up and gave us time to get our scheme right and catch our breath.

You've got to be in shape (to play against a no-huddle offense). I could tell towards the end of the game with CSU when they were driving, man I was out of breath. Because you're just rushing, rushing, rushing. And those tackles are keying on you.

Q: Do you think we'll see more defensive linemen rotating in this game?
AW:
Oh yeah. To be honest with you, this game could go two different ways. It's either going to go where we're sending so much pressure, getting interceptions and knocking them in the mouth, so you may not see that much rotation.

Or if it turns out if we're misreading and they're throwing 30 yard passes and guys are tired, then you're going to see fresh bodies in there, because (NMSU) isn't even huddling up.

Thaddaeus Washington practices
Starting mike linebacker Thaddaeus Washington was back at practice Wednesday, which means he's probably for Saturday's game. Washington had missed Monday and Tuesday's practice after getting a concussion against CSU.


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