The Buffs boast more depth at linebacker than they've had since Dan Hawkins' arrival to Colorado in 2006. Granted, some of the players who make up that depth are freshmen — Jon Major and Doug Rippy — and another is first-year player Shaun Mohler, a junior transfer from Orange Coast Community College. But all three of those linebackers are expected to contribute this fall. More significantly, junior Marcus Burton and sophomore Michael Sipili return to the fold after missing the 2007 season.
Meanwhile, on the defensive line, most of the experience is at defensive tackle and from senior end Maurice Lucas. Also trying to impact the defense at defensive end will be sophomore Marquez Herrod, junior Jason Brace and senior Drew Hudgins. That trio, however, has seven career tackles between them.
That's got some expecting Colorado to use a 3-4 defense more often than not this fall.
But don't expect a wholesale "back to the future" kind of switch in CU's defense in 2008. When CU fans talk about a 3-4, they usually think of what Colorado ran during the heyday of the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially when Kanavis McGhee and Alfred Williams terrorized opponents from their outside linebacker positions.
When CU lines up in a 3-4, it will be subtly different than that more traditional "5-0" scheme, according to defensive line coach Romeo Bandison. But the truth of the matter is, CU has used a version of the 3-4 fairly consistently under defensive coordinator Ron Collins the past two years. And how often CU does this fall will probably be determined week to week, depending on their opponent's style of offense.