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According to Ted Miller, the Colorado Buffaloes have a weak defensive line and secondary, and Arizona, ASU, Washington and Washington State all have poor linebacking quality at first glance. Which unit is the weakest in the Pac-12?
The always productive Ted Miller has done a great job of getting you ready for the Pac-12 season. It's well worth-reading the entire series if you want to get your first glimpses into the units that take the field next season. He's gone position-by-position to review who's in great, good, and questionable shape going into the upcoming season; click here to read all of the position previews up to this point.
We start by taking a look at the weakest defensive units in the conference. And if these rankings are up to par, Colorado is in deep, deep trouble this season.
The Colorado defensive line is weak at both at defensive tackle and defensive end. Miller notes that the Buffs have almost no experienced depth at either position besides their best edge pass rusher in Chidera Uzo-Diribe. Colorado will be relying heavily on freshmen to fill out their rotation.
It gets worse when you move into the secondary. Parker Orms is their best player, but he keeps on getting injured and was suspended for a spell last season. Orms back would be big for Colorado, although at this point you can hardly count on him. Colorado will have to rely on young (but talented) cornerbacks to start off 2012, and might just have to rely on young anyone defensively depending on who can hit the field.
As for the states of Arizona and Washington, it's a good thing they're relying on their offense to win them football games, because their defenses have the potential to be extremely lacking at the fulcrum of linebacker. Arizona State will have a few nice linebackers back and Arizona does have Jake Fischer, so they won't be a total mess. The Washington schools on the other hand were pretty barren of any linebacking talent last season (Cort Dennison was okay, but after that...) and that doesn't figure to change for awhile.
All in all, it's still the usual suspects providing the greatest questions on defense. The Buffs especially are going to struggle unless the defensive profile rapidly upgrades (their linebackers aren't too hot either), and there don't appear to be any quick fixes.
Which is the weakest defensive unit in the Pac-12? Sound off in the comments and vote in the poll!
The weakest defensive unit in the Pac-12 next season is ....
Colorado defensive line (36 votes)
Colorado secondary (30 votes)
ASU linebackers (7 votes)
Arizona linebackers (10 votes)
Washington linebackers (18 votes)
WSU linebackers (9 votes)
Another unit (5 votes)
115 total votes