September 25, 2007

Four games in breakdown: Defense

Arizona's 2007 season is one-third complete after four games and the UA is off to a shocking 1-3 start. The defense entered the season looking to be one of the best units in the country, but for some reason the unit has significantly underachieved. Here's a look at what we've learned from that side of the ball, position by position.

Defensive Line:

Jason Parker - 15 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks
Yaniv Barnett - 13 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 1 pass breakup
Lionel Dotson - 13 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Louis Holmes - 13 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2 QBH
Johnathan Turner - 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 3 pass breakups

The all-around play has varied from game to game, but a lack of pressure on the quarterback from the defensive line has been somewhat of a constant. The UA has sometimes shown the ability to stop the run, but at times has been completely susceptible to the run.

Louis Holmes had his best game of the season against California, but hadn't played to his ability before that contest. Mike Stoops has excused Holmes' lack of sacks with the way the opposing offenses are designed to protect their quarterback, so the biggest issue with Holmes probably has been penalties, as late hits and offsides penalties have hurt the team.

Ends Jason Parker and Johnathan Turner have both had their moments, but have also struggled to get to the QB at times. Defensive tackle Lionel Dotson has improved since the first game of the season against BYU, but Yaniv Barnett has had an up and down year.

Arizona has a very talented defensive line, and over the years all of the aforementioned players have shown the ability to perform at a high level. If everyone steps it up, it would significantly help the defense get over its slump.

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