Pro Football Focus Deep Dive: How the Arizona Wildcats’ defense is performing in the game outside of conference

That Arizona wildcats are officially done with their schedule outside of the conference and came away 2-1. It wasn’t an easy task when you played against states like San Diego State, Mississippi State and North Dakota State.

And with that, my deep insights into Arizona’s performance through the eyes of Pro Football Focus have returned.

To Look at Thursday’s offenseHere’s how the Wildcat defense fared:


Jalen Harris

Kyon Barr

Hunter Echols

Paris Shan

Dion Wilson Jr.

Deuce Davis

Tia Savea

Jeremy Mercier

Evan Branch-Haynes

Jacob Kongaika

Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei

  • Highest/lowest overall: Paris Shand (86.6 vs. San Diego St) / Shand (47.0 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Highest/lowest tackle: Jalen Harris (80.1 vs. San Diego St) / Deuce Davis (33.9 vs. San Diego St)
  • Highest/lowest pass rush: Hunter Echols (77.9 vs. North Dakota St) / Shand (53.6 vs. San Diego St)
  • Highest/lowest running defense: Shand (91.1 vs. San Diego St) / Shand (45.9 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Highest/lowest coverage: Harris (71.6 vs. San Diego St) / Echols (44.4 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Remarks: The D line has started the season pretty well. They dominated the line of scrimmage against SDSU and really set the tone for how this team will play this season. The group took a step back against Mississippi St but still managed to apply pressure Will Rogers. The line rebounded and took a few steps forward against the bison. There were times they bent but they didn’t break. There was a point where it looked like NDSU would run away with the game, but the line strengthened and helped the defense stop NDSU’s offense and secure the win.

Jalen Harris has continued to improve his game and Barrs has recovered well after missing spring while recovering from surgery. Echols was a fantastic addition to the staff and really showed what he can do outside of the box. The pleasant surprise was Dion Wilson. He was impressive almost every time he was in the game.

So far, Harris and Echols have won Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week, which has been a rarity in Tucson for some time. It will be interesting to see how the line develops over the course of the season.


Jerry Roberts

piston cage

Jacob Manuel

Sterling Lane II

Ammon Allen

  • Highest/lowest overall: Jacob Manu (87.7 vs. San Diego St) / Kolbe Cage (32.5 vs. Mississippi St)
  • Highest/lowest tackle: Jerry Roberts (84.3 vs. North Dakota St) / Cage (31.7 vs. Mississippi St)
  • Highest/lowest pass rush: Cage (60.2 vs. San Diego St) / Roberts (51.5 vs. Mississippi St)
  • Highest/lowest running defense: Manu (83.2 vs. San Diego St) / Cage (29.1 vs. Mississippi St)
  • Highest/lowest coverage: Manu (72.0 vs North Dakota St) / Cage (28.9 vs North Dakota St)
  • Remarks: Linebacker play has been extremely inconsistent this season. Roberts is the best linebacker on the team and he’s made great strides when the team needs him. For example, he was instrumental in Arizona’s fourth down stand to stop NDSU. He needs to improve his pass rushing.

Cage is going through it. He’s definitely bigger than last year and you can see his potential. However, as a redshirt freshman, he’s just taking his clumps. He’s also gaining much-needed experience.

Finally we come to True Fry Manu. I think he will be very good as he gets older and gains more experience. He did admirably against NDSU, showing off his playmaking and ball hawking skills. It’s impressive that he worked his way into an entry-level job after arriving in June.


CRW

Isaiah Rutherford

Treydan Stukes

Ephesian Prysock

Tacario Davis

  • Highest/lowest overall: Christian Roland-Wallace (75.3 vs. San Diego St) / Treydan Stukes (58.7 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Highest/lowest tackle: CRW (82.5 vs. North Dakota St) / Isaiah Rutherford (38.2 vs. San Diego St)
  • Highest/lowest pass rush: CRW (60.0 vs. North Dakota St) / Rutherford (58.2 vs. San Diego St)
  • Highest/lowest running defense: CRW (67.2 vs. San Diego St) / Stukes (42.8 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Highest/lowest coverage: CRW (75.7 vs. San Diego St) / Rutherford (63.5 vs. Mississippi St)
  • Notes: DeWayne Walker has his boys ready to play every week. The corners have done a fantastic job so far this season and they’ve played very well during the OOC schedule. So far the group has given up 144 yards and three touchdowns on 14 catches from 23 goals. The catch percentage is a little high, but they did a good job of capping the run length and scoring.

CRW are having another great year and, more importantly, Rutherford have upped their game as well. He played extremely close coverage and was in the right position more times than I can remember last year. Stukes, who recovered from an injury at fall camp, is working his way back and is looking better and better the more reps he gets.

Ideally, the group softens the shots and continues to play the ball.


CY

Jaxen Turner

Protect Maldonado

Jaydin Young

Isaiah Taylor

DaltonJohnson

  • Highest/lowest overall: Jaxen Turner (89.9 vs. Mississippi St) / Christian Young (44.9 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Highest/lowest tackle: Turner (78.5 vs. Mississippi St) / CY (43.8 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Highest/lowest running defense: Turner (77.5 vs. Mississippi St) / CY (39.4 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Highest/lowest coverage: Turner (88.8 vs. Mississippi St) / CY (58.4 vs. North Dakota St)
  • Remarks: First thing to say…the safety game was MUCH better than last season. The position group was undoubtedly a burden last season. This year it’s a little different. They definitely offer better downfield coverage and do a great job of adjusting and playing the barrel.

Turner has made a huge leap in his game. He attacks better, plays smarter and has shown a significant improvement in coverage. He did one of the best big boy plays I’ve seen from an Arizona security guard since Will Parks created Jordan Villamin. Against MSU, Turner activated the receiver, wrapped it up, and proceeded to rip out the ball…and ripped it out like a grown man. He picked it up and ran it 47 yards across the field.

CY has struggled so far this season… surprisingly. He was a solid tackler last year but that hasn’t come true so far. Protect Maldonado has also improved this season and plays in the nickel. He had a tough game against the Bulldogs but has played better overall this year.

credit to Chuck Cecil for for the most part getting his boys to step forward in their development and have them ready for every game.

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