What's wrong with the CU defense?

The Colorado defense has given up 1,000 total yards, 77 points and half a season's worth of big plays in the first two games of 2009. Coaches plan to simplify things this week. We talked with two players for their reaction to the rough start. Get inside for more.

Senior cornerback Ben Burney said there is no hot-button issue the defense can address to solve its problems, but he does believe it will help players, particularly the younger guys on that side of the ball, to keep things simple this week against Wyoming.

Coach Dan Hawkins said the coaching staff decided to dial things back this week after being torched by Toledo last week for 54 points and 624 total yards.

"It's about really being confident and playing confident," Burney said. "That's what it is.

"You could say it was a certain number of things. People were confused about play calls or confused about assignments, but when we eliminate all that confusion, we can go out and ball and that's what we're going to do this week."

Burney and linebacker B.J. Beatty said some of the confusion was because of the volume of calls and personnel groups coaches installed for the game. Part of it was caused by Toledo using the no-huddle offense, giving defenders little time between plays to get on the field into the right places with the correct reads and assignments in mind.

"Last week we had a lot of packages in," Beatty said. "I think we had like five different personnels in and at one time there was going to be like six DBs on the field. So we're running back and forth. There was a lot of confusion.

"I think right now coaches are just trying to put one group and keep it simple with a couple plays here and there so everyone can be on one page and get the job done on defense," Beatty said.

The Buffs have allowed 16 plays of 20 or more yards in two games. Eight of those plays have gone for 40 or more yards. Those 16 plays have accounted for 676 total yards.

On the flip side, if the Buffs can get the big plays under control, it seems they might be able to play a much tougher brand of defense.

"I think we just need to keep going," Beatty said. "Hey, they hit us with a big play and they get down on the goal line, we can't hang our heads. We need to just redial and move on to the next play.

"I think we did a good job of that. We try to keep ourselves motivated even though they might hit us with a big play. We try to rally around each other and keep each other positive.

Beatty and Burney said they remain convinced they can turn things around.

"Knowing how good we are, this will come around," Beatty said. "This will turn around.


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