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Spaulding Roundup: Defensive Spotlight

As we wind down the game week we will finish it up with a round up primarily focusing on our defense. Arizona game will be an opportunity for our team to bounce back. It will especially be a huge game for our defense as it will look to atone last weekend’s embarrassment. ATV is going to be one of the defensive leaders, who will be in the spotlight tomorrow afternoon.  Austin Collie absolutely destroyed him last weekend as he was giving the BYU receiver lot of room to work with. Well it sounds like Walker and ATV will have chance to get back in the grove this weekend by going back to an aggressive man-to-man scheme. From the OC Register:

Walker said he's not ready to abandon aggressive, man-to-man schemes because of one bad game from his top cover man.

"That's kind of our style," Walker said. "We've got be smart how we use him and how we use everybody, but with a guy like him who's made a lot of plays, I'd be shocked if he doesn't bounce back from it."

Verner's challenge this week might not be as daunting as shadowing one of Max Hall's favorite targets, but Arizona likes to spread the field and take its chances behind veteran quarterback Willie Tuitama.

Verner isn't sure Saturday will offer him much of a respite. Then again, he's not looking for help.

"Of the 27-odd games I've played, this is like the only one that the person ended up having a lot of catches," Verner said. "I'm not discouraged at all. People are going to be open and people are going to makes catches and plays, so I'm not down at all."

More on this from Dohn:

"It's the same. Nothing has dropped," Verner said as the Bruins ready to play Arizona Saturday at the Rose Bowl. "Same as when Iplayed Tennessee. Same as when I entered fall camp. Nothing different."

Defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker spoke briefly with Verner earlier in the week to gauge his confidence, and was satisfied.

ATV and his team-mates will have to brace for another aerial assault this weekend as they are going to take on a wounded team with a passer, who has killed us in the past. It will mean they will have to come out and play the same kind of physical defense we watched them play against Tennessee three weekends ago.

Speaking of having to play physical defense, another guy who potentially will have a big role this weekend is Steve Sloan, who will be stepping in at the MLB on Sat. From Chris Foster in the LA Times:

"Steve had a good training camp and showed us he was ready," defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said. "He needs the opportunity."

Linebackers coach Chuck Bullough said Sloan "was the most improved player we had during spring ball. He just knows what is going to happen out there before it happens."

Said Sloan: "I've been in the program a year now. I get it."

Sloan, 6 feet 3, 235 pounds, played some in the Bruins' season-opening, 27-24 victory over Tennessee, after Carter sustained a minor knee injury. However, when Bosworth was injured in the first quarter last week against Brigham Young, freshman Sean Westgate took over at the weak-side spot with Carter staying in the middle.

Having Carter on the field with him will help, Sloan said. So too have conversations he has had with Christian Taylor, the Bruins' middle linebacker last season. Though Taylor was a senior last season, they still talk about once a week, Sloan said.

"Sloan is a lot like Christian," Bullough said. "He's very intelligent and very hard nosed."

If Steve plays like Christian on Saturday, it will bode well for our defense and the whole team.

Elsewhere, on the offensive front Scott Glicksberg might be starting over Sonny Tevaga at right guard. Hey, whatever it takes to jump start an OL that so far has generated 29 inches per carry.