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Woelk: Buff D-Line Focuses On Run Defense


BOULDER — In the pass-happy, everyone-throws Pac-12, it’s easy to forget that the running game is still important — as is defending the running game.

But it’s a point that hasn’t been overlooked in the Colorado Buffaloes’ camp.

A year ago, the Buffs gave up more than 200 rushing yards per game (5.62 yards per carry), the worst in the Pac-12. Those are numbers the Buffs are determined to improve this year, and they know the effort begins up front.

“It’s been a big emphasis,” said defensive tackle Justin Solis. “We’ve been working on it since day one. Stay in your gaps, protect your gaps and stop the run. I think as a group, we’ve definitely gotten better, and we’ll keep working on it.”

Solis is one of a handful of returning veterans on the defensive line — but none of the returnees have any substantial starting experience, a matter of concern for defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys,” Jeffcoat said. “They’re learning and getting better, but they’ve got a ways to go. We’re just trying to make sure they understand their responsibility.”

The 6-foot-2, 320-pound Solis played in all 12 games last year, recording 33 tackles and a sack. Other returnees with some significant experience are sophomore 6-foot-3, 300-pound sophomore Eddie Lopez, who played in 11 games last year; and 6-foot-4 270-pound junior Samson Kafovalu, who sat out last year but did appear in seven games in 2013...more



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