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DENVER, CO - September 11, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder's Terrance Lang pressures Texas A&M's Zach Calzada during the September 11, 2021 game at Empower Field in Denver.  (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
DENVER, CO – September 11, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder’s Terrance Lang pressures Texas A&M’s Zach Calzada during the September 11, 2021 game at Empower Field in Denver. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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As Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell walked around the practice field in the spring, there was a noticeable difference without Carson Wells on the edge of the defense.

CU’s most dominant edge rusher over the past two seasons, Wells is now trying to make the roster with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

Dorrell liked what he saw on the edge, however.

“A lot of guys that are taking advantage of their reps right now,” he said. “They’re doing pretty well. We’ve got guys that are really starting to respond and develop.”

This summer, BuffZone.com will preview each position group for CU and in this installment, we look at the defensive ends and outside linebackers.

On the edge, the Buffs are looking to not only replace Wells (15.5 sacks, 38 tackles for loss in his career), but get even better.

BOULDER, CO, April 2, 2022: Outside linebackers, Alvin Williams, left, and Jamar Montgomery, during the April 2, 2022 University of Colorado Boulder football practice. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)
BOULDER, CO, April 2, 2022: Outside linebackers, Alvin Williams, left, and Jamar Montgomery, during the April 2, 2022 University of Colorado Boulder football practice. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)

Even with Wells, CU ranked 126th nationally in producing just 1.08 sacks per game in 2021 (13 sacks in 12 games). The Buffs were 107th in tackles for loss (59, 4.92 per game).

This season, as CU shifts from a 3-4 to more of a 4-3 base defense, the Buffs will lean on several players to step up. Senior defensive end Terrance Lang, senior outside linebacker Guy Thomas and several others will be called upon to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

“Negative plays, sacks, TFLs,” Lang said of what he wants out of himself — and the rest of the group. “I mean, tackles are cool, but I want to make game-changing plays this year. Plays that are really going to change the game and give us an edge.

“There was a lot of plays I left on the field.”

Lang had just 1.5 sacks a year ago. Thomas had two — and five total TFLs — but missed the last five games with a foot injury.

That duo will lead what is a talented but fairly inexperienced group. Senior Jamar Montgomery, sophomore Joshka Gustav and freshman Devin Grant have all flashed their ability in limited playing time.

Freshman Alvin Williams and senior transfer Chance Main also made an impression in spring.

“That edge group should be pretty strong,” Lang said.

Lang and Thomas, in particular, are hoping to lead the way. Lang is a sixth-year senior aiming for his best season. Thomas, a former junior college transfer, was having his best season last year before the injury, but knows he can improve.

“I made a lot of plays, but I missed a lot of plays,” Thomas said. “This year, I’m looking to be a different guy. I’m looking to be a faster guy, a more explosive guy. I’m looking to make more plays. I’m looking to do a lot of good things and be one of the key players, impact players on his defense.”

The most impactful edge player over the last two years — Wells — is gone, but the whole group is motivated to make this area a strength for the Buffs.

“We’re just trying to be the best us,” Alvin Williams said. “(Last year’s lack of production) makes us more hungry.”

Position: Defensive ends/outside linebackers

Returners (2021 statistics)

  • Devin Grant, R-Fr., 6-foot-3, 245 pounds (145 snaps, 13 tackles, 3 tackles for loss)
  • Joshka Gustav, So., 6-3, 235 (190 snaps, 13 tackle, 1 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles)
  • Terrance Lang, Sr., 6-7, 290 (589 snaps, 20 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3.5 TFL, 6 pressures)
  • Zion Magalei, R-Fr., 6-2, 220 (1 snap)
  • Jamar Montgomery, Sr., 6-2, 250 (138 snaps, 7 tackles, 5 pressures)
  • Guy Thomas, Sr., 6-5, 235 (266 snaps, 36 tackles, 2 sacks, 5 TFL, 1 pressure, 2 forced fumbles)
  • Alvin Williams, So., 6-3, 230 (38 snaps, 1 pressure)
  • Ryan Williams, R-Fr., 6-3, 275 (10 snaps)

Additions

  • Shakaun Bowser, Fr., 6-4, 225
  • Kaden Ludwick, Fr., 6-5, 245
  • Chance Main, Sr., 6-4, 250 (Transfer from Incarnate Word)

Losses

  • Jeremiah Doss (graduated)
  • Carson Wells (graduated; 62 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 14.5 TFL, 17 pressures, 1 INT)
  • Katin Suprenant (walk-on; transferred)
  • Kanaan Turnbull (walk-on; transferred)
  • Blake Weiher (walk-on; transferred)

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