CU ar­rives at Pac-12 me­dia days with South ti­tle — and plenty of ques­tions to ad­dress.»

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle Fredrick­son

The Univer­sity of Colorado ar­rives at Pac-12 me­dia days this week as de­fend­ing south di­vi­sion cham­pi­ons, but the resur­gent Buf­faloes have plenty of ques­tions to ad­dress in their search for a re­peat ti­tle. Here are five story lines to fol­low when CU takes the main stage in­side the Hol­ly­wood and High­land Cen­ter:

1. Re­build or reload: Af­ter a decade of con­sec­u­tive los­ing sea­sons, the Buf­faloes won 10 games in 2016 for the first time since 2001. How­ever, they re­turn this fall with­out four-year start­ing quar­ter­back Sefo Li­u­fau and eight de­fen­sive starters from a year ago. Mike MacIn­tyre en­ters his fifth sea­son as coach. Has he stock­piled enough tal­ent through recruiting to keep CU rel­e­vant in 2017?

2. Mon­tez’s mo­ment:

Quar­ter­back Steven Mon­tez thrived as a red­shirt fresh­man in his first start last fall, de­feat­ing Ore­gon 41-38 and be­com­ing the first Buf­falo in pro­gram his­tory to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 in the same game. Mon­tez has all the tools to thrive in CU’s spread of­fense, but how will he han­dle the spot­light in 2017?

3. Eliot’s im­pact: For­mer CU de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Jim Leav­itt be­came the Pac12’s high­est paid as­sis­tant coach ($1.15 mil­lion) for the same po­si­tion at Ore­gon, so en­ter, D.J. Eliot. Kentucky’s de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, who played line­backer at Wy­oming, brings a fa­mil­iar 3-4 sys­tem to Boul­der. But can a mostly un­proven unit mi­nus four 2017 NFL draft picks make it flour­ish?

4. Phil fo­cus: The Pac-12 is loaded at run­ning back this fall, with nine named to the Doak Walker Award watch list. CU’s Phillip Lind­say is among the most dy- namic. He rushed for 1,189 yards with a con­fer­ence­lead­ing 16 touch­downs in 2016. Lind­say also has the ben­e­fit of a vet­eran of­fen­sive line. Can he match last sea­son’s pro­duc­tion?

5. De­fen­sive lead­ers:

With the mass de­par­ture on de­fense, CU will need strong lead­er­ship to wel­come new­com­ers into star­ring roles. Se­nior out­side line­backer Derek McCart­ney is a nat­u­ral fit as a twotime team cap­tain with 25 ca­reer starts and 9½ sacks. Who else will step up to fill the void?

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

Phillip Lind­say pro­vides ver­sa­til­ity to CU.

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