In Part I of our camp preview, we looked at the Offense. Now, we turn to the Defense.This article was originally published in blog:
As the saying goes, "Defense wins championships", and this Buffs squad is poised to be lights out on the defensive side of the ball. Returning stars, health, and an infusion of great young talent change the game for the Buffs.
2011 was a nightmare. We had Safeties playing with bum knees and broken bones. We had Cornerbacks not playing because of leg injuries, shoulder injuries and suspensions. Undersized offensive players who had never practiced on defense were made into starters in the defensive backfield with less than a week's notice. We also had projected starters at Defensive Tackle and Linebacker unable to play with knee injuries. The only thing missing from last season was an appearance by Hot Lips Houlihan.
The upside to all of that is that recruits saw an opportunity. 13 defensive players signed with the Buffs in the 2012 class, 5 in the defensive backfield and 8 on the defensive line. Linebacker was upgraded through an infusion of speed as a lot of the oversized "safety" types on the roster have been converted.
The 2012 Buffs defense has legitimate stars at every level, is particularly strong up the middle, has dynamic pass rushers, and a group of young Cornerbacks as gifted as any group in the conference.
Defense Dominates in 2012!
We're ready for battle and even the CU co-eds are getting into the spirit of things.
As we did with the Offense Preview, we'll start up front on Defense with the big uglies.
And when you start up front, the first name to talk about is Will "The Thrill" Pericak. Originally recruited as an LB/TE prospect, he brings elite athleticism to the DT position. From Freshman All-American awards his first year to All-Conference accolades as a junior, Pericak (Sr) anchors the interior of the defensive line with extreme prejudice.
Watch out Pac-12, because The Thrill is coming.
Joining Pericak on the interior is Nate "Kung Fu" Bonsu (Jr), who has rebounded from injuries after a promising true freshman season to show up for fall camp lean, mean and ready to fulfill the promise of his talent.
True freshmen Justin "Here's the Beef" Solis and Josh "Twice as Big as Onepou" Tupou are both 300+ pounds and already look like veterans on the hoof. They'll lead the charge for an impressive freshman class that will deliver a deep and talented rotation on the interior DL.
On the edges, the Buffs return Chidera "It's Not Fair-a" Uzo-Diribe (Jr). His cousin, Osi Umenyiora, is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and Chidera is cut from the same cloth. With 5 1/2 sacks in 2011 and 3 forced fumbles, Chidera is virtually unblockable coming off the edge and is a disruptive force of nature in the other team's backfield.
Pairing with him is Juda "Bad Dude-a" Parker (So), a former Army All-American who dominated that high school all-star game with his burst into the backfield and special teams heroics (blocked FG and a sack on a fake FG attempt). Parker got his feet wet as a true freshman in 2011 with over 100 snaps and will step into the strongside DE role this season.
Next up are the Linebackers, the strength of the defense and the team. This year, CU returns to its rightful place in college football as Western Linebacker U.
Douglas Rippy "A New One" (Sr), Jon Major "Pain" (Sr) and Derrick Webb "Of Despair" (Jr) form one of the best LB trios in the nation for 2012. Rippy is a playmaker from the inside who was 5th on the team in tackles in 2011 despite only playing 7 games. Webb is a heat seaking missile whose hits are like running full speed into a brick shithouse. And Major is a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine with a penchant for big plays. (Rumors are that he's 1/10th Tasmanian Devil on his father's side.)
Providing talented depth are sophomore sensations Brady "All" Daigh, Woodson "No Fear" Greer, and Kyle "Versatile" Washington.
Last up on the defense is the Secondary. Anchoring this group is Ray "Mayday" Polk (Sr). The former 4* RB with two years as a starting Safety for the Buffs, is the leader of the Defense. Elite speed (can run with Paul Richardson - maybe faster) and prototypical size will come together in this senior season for a guy who has all the tools to be an All-American.
Joining him at safety are Terrel "Terror" Smith (Jr) and Parker "Playmaker" Orms. Smith is a big hitter who averaged 10 tackles a game when his redshirt was pulled for the last 6 games of his freshman season. After a year adjusting to the new schemes and coaching staff, Terror was back to being a tackling machine in the spring and is expected to have a breakout junior campaign. Orms has battled injuries. Expected to start as a true freshman, his season was lost with a fall camp injury. Injuries continued to plague him the past 2 seasons, but when he plays he's a game changer. In 2011, Orms played 5 games. The Buffs went 3-2 in those games and the losses were close ones. Against Utah in the finale, Orms had the hit of the year on the most important drive - **** the refs and their yellow snot rag!
Early expectations are that Smith will start at safety while Orms will be the "12th starter" at the nickel where Coach Brown can best use his diverse skills to disrupt the offense and make big plays. Marques "M&M" Mosely (Fr) comes in as a true frosh and is pushing hard for playing time after telling Sparty and the Noids from Lincoln to pound sand - he wanted to be a Buff.
Last, we look at the Cornerbacks. Greg "Glue" Henderson (So) returns as a starting CB after setting the freshman record at CU for snaps played in a season. Teams learned not to throw at Greg as the season progressed and he was named to the Pac-12 Freshman All-Conference team.
Battling for the other cornerback spot are "She Went To" Jered Bell (So), Josh "Poetry In" Moten, Kenneth "Mister" Crawley (Fr), and Yuri "I'll Tweet You" Wright (Fr). Bell, a former 4* prospect, was CB1 before going down with a knee injury in 2011 Fall Camp. He's now fully recovered and looking to take back what is his. Moten saw some game action in 2011 and has demonstrated the excellent ball skills you'd expect from a former All-West prep quarterback. Crawley and Wright are 4* recruits that were heavily recruited nationally and have the talent to match up with the best the Pac-12 has to offer. What was a position with no depth or experience and sub-par talent in 2011 has become a position in 2012 where there may not be enough snaps to get everyone the playing time he deserves -- and they're all still very young.
Defensive Domination leads the way back to the post-season promised land.