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bsn BSN: Moeller has chance for major impact

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    With longtime starter Jered Bell having graduated and moved on from his playing days with Colorado, plenty of attention will be paid to who will be manning the free safety position in the deepest parts of Colorado’s defensive backfield.

    Last season was a rebound year for the Buffaloes defense, causing 15 turnovers over the course of the season as opposed to only forcing three the season before. Three of those turnovers were caused by Bell.

    That production will be hard to follow, especially considering Bell also had 43 tackles, two passes defended and two quarterback pressures. One such replacement is Ryan Moeller, who left the spring listed first on the depth chart at free safety.

    Moeller saw time in seven games last season, but was responsible for one of the season’s top highlights, an end zone interception that helped clinch a key win. Moeller will have an uphill battle after last season where he was injured for the team’s last six games. He’s had a lot of time to recover, but injuries always present the unknown to an otherwise productive career.

    However, this might offer a lot of hope for Buffs fans. If he can recapture his form, Moeller may only be cracking the service of what he can do as a defensive back. He’s only seen parts of two seasons at the position, after taking a red-shirt year immediately out of high school.

    Moeller has successfully used his athleticism to adjust to the position at this level, something very few people can do. Nothing showcases this more than the fact that he set the school record for most tackles in a debut game when he had 14 tackles against Oregon.

    Last season, the safety showed some prowess in his comparatively little time. Moeller had more tackles than Bell, with 47, and also complimented that with two pass break-ups.

    That sounds surprisingly like Bell’s stat line, in fewer games, though the leadership that a veteran like Bell provides for a program cannot be understated. The safety production may be improved next season if Moeller can play at that level again, or even at a higher one. While he’s proven his worth as a tackling safety, Moeller will have the chance to showcase what he can do in the way of sparking turnovers over the course of a full season.

    Just for some perspective, had Moeller played the entirety of last season at that the same pace he did for the first seven games, he’d have 87 tackles, which would have been good for third on the team.

    To say that Moeller would have been that good for that long might be a stretch, as he was seeing about 54 plays a game. Especially last season, when the team played on 13 straight weeks, that’s toll on a player. For this upcoming season, the team will only have 12 games, and should benefit with more depth on the roster as a whole.

    Given that he’ll see some additional time at surrounding positions in the defensive backfield, Moeller is certainly in line for a lot more snaps than 376 he saw last year. Time will tell how things exactly play out, but Moeller should expect to see a lot of time for a defense that will have to compete with the Pac-12’s finest.

    William Whelan
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