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Colorado Position Previews — Defense

Each week, we take a look at the various fronts of Washington's upcoming opponent. Today, we examine the defense of the Colorado Buffaloes.

DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe provides a nice challenge for Washington's newly healthy offensive line.
DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe provides a nice challenge for Washington's newly healthy offensive line.

Players to watch
DL Chidera Uzo-Diribe, MLB Addison Gillam, CB Greg Henderson

Notable injuries/absences
DL Timothy Coleman Jr. (Out-knee), Terrel Smith (Out-shoulder)

After yielding an FBS-worst 46 points per game in 2012, Colorado has given up 38.1 points this year—escaping the nation's and conference's basements, but still ranking among the most porous defenses in America. They are particularly susceptible in the run game, giving up 4.74 yards per play and nearly 200 yards per game, as well 53 rushes of 10 yards or more.

Without question, Colorado's most ferocious defender is defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe, a 6-3, 250 lb. senior whose 8.0 tackles for loss ranks 10th in the conference. He's a talented pass rusher, having been credited with two sacks and three quarterback hurries; most importantly, he's caused opponents to fumble the ball five times, while no other Buffalo has caused more than one. Luckily for the Husky offensive line, Uzo-Diribe doesn't seem to be surrounded by anyone who can play with his level of skill; expect the Huskies to double-team him early and often.

The fact that Addison Gillam, a true freshman linebacker, is Colorado's leading tackler speaks volumes about the quality of the team's defense. For several years, the Buffs have been forced to forgo redshirting their most talented players, as their upper-classmen talent hasn't outpaced that of their recruits, and 2013 is no exception. Gillam in particular was a commit to Mike MacIntyre at San Jose State, and followed him when he accepted the head coaching position in Boulder. Despite his two-star rating as a recruit, the freshman is positioning himself to make a run toward Freshman All American consideration, though this weekend's game at Husky Stadium will probably be the most hostile environment he's played in, along with Oregon's Autzen Stadium. Gillam is flanked by a pair of veterans in fifth-year senior Derrick Webb and junior Woodson Greer.

Colorado fares better than only woeful California in passing defense, surrendering nearly 269 yards per game and a 141.31 rating to opposing quarterbacks. Greg Henderson leads the team with four picks, including one returned for a score, and nine passes defended. Even short Kasen Williams, though, this is a secondary that is ripe for the picking, especially by speedsters like Jaydon Mickens and John Ross. And if Austin Seferian-Jenkins ever has a breakout game this season, it may as well be this one.


As always, thanks to College Football Statistics, ESPN and USA Today's College Football Injury Report for the relevant data that went into this article. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking below.

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