Colorado’s Josh Tupou stands over quarterback Wynrick Smothers after sacking him during a game against Central Arkansas last month.
Colorado's Josh Tupou stands over quarterback Wynrick Smothers after sacking him during a game against Central Arkansas last month. ( JEREMY PAPASSO )

The Colorado defense will face its third straight powerhouse offense this week at Arizona State and it could be without the anchor to its defensive line.

Sophomore defensive tackle Josh Tupou is questionable with a sprained ankle.

Coach Mike MacIntyre said Tupou felt better Wednesday and he will travel to the desert where his participation likely will be a game-time decision.

If Tupou is not able to play, coaches will turn to Justin Solis, Tyler Henington and Kirk Poston to fill the void. Solis and Henington are defensive tackles who have played more than 100 fewer snaps than Tupou so far this season. However, Solis actually has more total tackles and tackles for loss than Tupou.

"He's played pretty well that last couple games," MacIntyre said of Solis. "He's made some plays."

Solis weighed 326 pounds at one point last winter. He is down to 300 this season and says he's playing faster and able to move quicker on top of his stamina increasing dramatically.

"Even though I'm behind Josh, I always prepare like I could play every snap of the game and like I could start," Solis said. "I always have that mentality. So I'm ready. I'm looking forward to it. If Josh can't go, I'm ready to step up."

Coaches have moved Poston, a 6-foot-1, 255-pound junior, inside this week for depth and because he can be a tricky pass rusher at times in the right matchups. He had four sacks last season, which was second most on the team.

"He's looked good in there," MacIntyre said. "He's quick. I think he'll be good in there when we do some movement-type things. It would be hard for him to play 35-40 plays if they're doubling him and all that because he's not big enough."

Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/kyleringo.