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ASU Football: First look at Colorado

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Buffs head to Tempe

Air Force v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Last season, the Colorado Buffaloes started off 5-0 after beating Colorado State, Nebraska, New Hampshire, UCLA and Arizona State. However, after that they dropped seven straight and ended the season 5-7.

They haven’t attended a bowl game since 2016.

Colorado fired 2016 Pac-12 Coach of the Year Mike McIntyre in the middle of the season last year and are now starting off the 2019 season with new coach, Mel Tucker, who is ready to turn things around. They head to tempe to face No. 24 ranked Arizona State on Saturday.

Let’s take a look at the Colorado Buffaloes:

New coaching staff

The Buffaloes hired Mel Tucker who is now the 26th head coach in the program’s history. Tucker has an impressive resume that could help lead the Buffaloes to success in the upcoming years.

He was previously the defensive coordinator at Ohio State University in 2002, the year the Buckeyes went on to win the national championship.

Tucker was also a part of the Alabama team that won the championship in 2016 working alongside Nick Saban. He was the assistant coach and defensive backs coach.

After winning the championship, Tucker became the defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia and worked with head coach Kirby Smart for three seasons. He also has 10 years of experience coaching in the NFL.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Buffaloes hired Tyson Summers.

It is his first year with the team after his time with the University of Georgia.

Summers won two SEC Division titles, the 2017 SEC Championship, and the College Football Playoff semifinal while with the Bulldogs.

Building on the offense

The Buffaloes will have fifth-year senior and returning quarterback Steven Montez on the offensive side of the ball.

This year will be an important year for Montez as he prepares to head into the NFL draft.

Last season, he threw for 2,849 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has already set 34 school records and has had two of the top five best seasons for passing yards in CU history.

One of the key components of this Buffaloes offense is junior wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr..

He played nine games last season after missing a few games. Shenault Jr. had 86 catches last season, receiving over a 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In their 28-21 win against the Arizona State Sun Devils last season, he had four touchdowns.

The Buffaloes passing game is where they will thrive on offense so the Sun Devils need to shut Shenault Jr. and the entire passing game down if they want to be successful. During their seven straight losses last year, they scored 21 points or less.

Having to adapt

With a new defensive coordinator coming in things might start off rocky for the Buffaloes as they learn to adjust to him and his coaching, along with Tucker.

The Pac-12 offense is decent this year, so the Buffaloes will have to quickly adjust to the growing pains of starting over with a coordinator in order to be successful.

However, they will have returning junior Mustafa Johnson back on the defensive end and he is expected to lead the defense this year. Last season, he had 73 tackles along with 8.5 sacks.

Johnson will also be working with inside linebacker Nate Landman who had 104 tackles and 4 sacks last season. Johnson currently has 140 career tackles and only needs 35 to enter the top-100 on Colorado’s all-time tackle list.