4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE COLORADO DEFENSE
– Head coach Mel Tucker is a defensive coach by nature, and his coordinator Tyson Summers is going to bring the fire, too. There are just enough personnel losses to hurt, but get ready for the pressure to come from a group that wasn’t all that bad at getting into the backfield and finished fifth in the Pac-12 in total D.
– Mustafa Johnson has the upside and talent to be among the Pac-12’s best pass rushers from one end spot, and now he needs more help from the rest of the line. The hope is for Auburn transfer Jaunta’vius Johnson to be a space-eater right away in the interior, but the line needs more beef at tackle and has to establish another consistent pass rusher on the other side of Johnson.
– The linebacking corps loses good veteran Rick Gamboa and Drew Lewis, but the 1-2 tackling punch of Nate Landman inside and Davion Taylor outside is a good place to start. These two should combine for close to 200 tackles if everything goes right. Three starters return to a secondary that was beaten deep way too often and has to come up a few picks – the defensive backs intercepted just four passes.