Buffs’ de­fense look­ing to re­gain pride

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - Buf­fZone.com By Brian How­ell

BOUL­DER» Af­ter play­ing fairly well for the first five weeks of the sea­son, the Colorado de­fense took a hit last Satur­day against Ari­zona.

“Took a hit? We took an ex­plo­sion,” coach Mike MacIn­tyre joked af­ter prac­tice Wed­nes­day.

That’s prob­a­bly a more ac­cu­rate de­scrip­tion of CU’s 45-42 loss to Ari­zona, dur­ing which quar­ter­back Khalil Tate set an FBS record for rush­ing yards by a quar­ter­back with 327.

Tate ran all over the Buffs, who couldn’t fig­ure out how to tackle him or slow down the Ari­zona at­tack, which racked up 567 yards and scored on five con­sec­u­tive posses­sions at one point.

“We’re not proud of how we played as a team de­fen­sively last week,” se­nior line­backer Derek McCart­ney said.

This week, the Buffs (3-3, 0-3 Pac-12) are hop­ing to re­gain some of their pride when they visit Ore­gon State (1-5, 0-3). Rid­ing a three­game los­ing streak, the Buffs need a win, but also need their de­fense to bounce back.

“It’s big,” de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor D.J. Eliot said. “We have to get fired up, get our mind-set back, go on an­other road game and try to get a W. It’s a big-time week for us.”

The host Beavers, who parted ways with head coach Gary An­der­sen on Mon­day, have strug­gled might­ily this sea­son, rank­ing last in the Pac-12 in scor­ing (19.3 points per game) and to­tal of­fense (321.2 yards per game).

Sta­tis­ti­cally, this ap­pears to be a great op­por­tu­nity for CU’s de­fense to bounce back, and MacIn­tyre said it’s im­por­tant for that group to play well.

“They need to get that taste out of their mouth,” MacIn­tyre said.

In­side line­backer Drew Lewis said he likes the way the de­fense has re­sponded in prac­tice this week.

“We’re com­ing to­gether,” he said. “We’ve got each other’s backs. This is a very close-knit group of peo­ple.

“That’s what we’re try­ing to do, get back on tempo of where we want to be.”

While Ore­gon State has strug­gled this sea­son, the Buffs’ de­fense faces a unique chal­lenge be­cause of the coach­ing change in Cor­val­lis.

Cor­ner­backs coach Cory Hall has taken over as the in­terim head coach, and the Buffs aren’t re­ally sure what to ex­pect from the Beavers.

“We don’t know if they’re go­ing to try some new stuff,” Lewis said. “We have to be ready for ev­ery­thing.”

Re­gard­less of what the Beavers do of­fen­sively, the Buffs know they need to play well on de­fense this week.

“We def­i­nitely need to get bet­ter and we will get bet­ter,” McCart- ney said. “Our guys are play­ing hard and that’s why I’m proud of my team. We’re play­ing hard and that’s one thing about our de­fense. We will come at you and we will play hard.”

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

Colorado quar­ter­back Steven Mon­tez throws in the first quar­ter against Wash­ing­ton at Fol­som Field on Sept. 23. The Buffs are mired in a three-game los­ing streak as they head to Ore­gon State this week­end.

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