Sep 1, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado State Rams tight end Kivon Cartwright (86) is flipped upside down going for a reception while Colorado Buffaloes linebacker Addison Gillam (44) and defensive back Parker Orms (13) and defensive back Jered Bell (21) observe during the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Position Grades - Defense

Well how much fun was THAT!?!?

After the unspeakable defensive performance of 2012, the Buffs were able to hold Colorado State to just 295 yards and 16 first downs on Sunday.

A breakdown of the defensive units:

 

Linebacker: A+

Welcome to Boulder, Addison Gillam!

I had my doubts when I saw Gillam, a lightly recruited true freshman from Palo Cedro, California, listed atop the depth chart at mike linebacker after the spring. When the depth chart was released for CSU, I was shocked to see Gillam had kept the job, holding off returning starter Brady Daigh, and figured it must be coach Mac’s way of motivating Daigh to step his game up.

But Addison Gillam is a player! GIllam had 14 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, and a monster hit to stop the Rams on a crucial fourth-down. He played with speed and toughness, and was easily the MVP of the Buffaloes defense.

The most exciting part of Gillam’s play on Sunday is that it shows me that Mike MacIntyre knows how to evaluate talent.

A two-star linebacker according to Rivals, Gillam had no other offers coming out of high school. He ended up committing to MacIntryre at San Jose State, greyshirted after an injury in 2012, and was thrust into the lineup at Sports Authority field in Denver, Colorado on Sunday. And man, did he answer the call.

A surprise in the linebacking core was the lack of playing time for senior captain Paul Vigo, but it was reported at the team luncheon today that Vigo had been suffering from a ‘stinger’ and should expect to see more playing time down the road.

In Vigo’s place, Woodson Greer saw more playing time and finished the game with three tackles.

Derrick Webb, the leading tackler of the 2012 team, had a fairly quiet game but was strong, recording seven tackles.

 

Defensive Line: B

The Buffs run defense was solid, if not spectacular, giving up 70 yards and 2 TD’s on 14 carries to Kapri Bibbs while stifling Chris Nwoke for 8 yards on 6 carries.

Where the defensive line needs improvement is in the pass rush.

Colorado struggled putting pressure on CSU quarterback Garret Grayson. At defensive end, even though Juda Parker had a sack and Chidera Uzo-Diribe’s forced fumble in the fourth quarter was arguably the biggest play of the game, those two will need to step up next week if the Buffaloes want to be 2-0.

 

Secondary: A-

Colorado’s secondary looked like night and day from last season. Granted, Colorado State doesn’t have the quarterback or receiver talent that CU will be facing in the Pac-12 this season, but the secondary looked fast and physical on Sunday.

Everyone knows Parker Orms can hit, and he proved it time and again in Denver, especially on a punishing table-top of CSU’s Kivon Cartwright, and in finishing the game with nine tackles.

Kenneth Crawley looks improved from last season, and Jered Bell looked to have his legs under him after an injury-riddled last few seasons.

As for star corner Greg Henderson, that scoop-and-score in the fourth quarter was the nail in the coffin. A big-time play from a big-time player.

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Tags: Colorado Buffaloes Gillam Macintyre Orms

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