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UCLA Football Preview: Arizona’s Beleaguered Defensive Unit

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The UCLA Bruins have a golden opportunity to light up the scoreboard this Saturday against the visiting Arizona Wildcats.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

This weekends tilt against the visiting 3-4 Arizona Wildcats has all the makings of a shootout with the Wildcats beleaguered defensive unit.

The Wildcats have struggled mightily defensively surrendering a total of 437.9 yards per contest. Obviously, that’s not very encouraging. Furthermore, the University of Arizona’s defensive unit is also allowing opposing teams to run for 202 yards per game. It’s very hard to win football games when a defense cannot get off the field to rest.

Let’s take a look to see how the Arizona Wildcats lineup defensively.

Defensive Line

The Arizona Wildcats will lineup three down linemen with RS sophomore P.J. Johnson, RS junior Finton Connolly, RS senior Dereck Boles as their defensive front.

As stated above, the Arizona Wildcats have a very tough time stopping the run, at that starts with the defensive line. When the D-Line is unable to clog up running lanes, it often leads to chunk plays on the ground which is an excellent way at tiring out a defense. With UCLA RB Josh Kelley finding a lot of room to run the last few games, it’ll be interesting to see if the Bruins decide to run it down their throats.

The Wildcats have also failed to get much pressure on opposing QBs, as illustrated by their defensive totaling only 11 sacks so far this season which is good for 98th in the country. The defensive line often times sets the tone defensively, and if they cannot get much pressure on Dorian Thompson-Robinson and company, they’re in for a long night.

Linebackers

Arizona will stack up with 4 linebackers against the UCLA Bruins. They’ll have sophomore Kylan Wilborne at STUD, sophomore Colin Schooler patrolling the strong side, sophomore Tony Field II on the weak side, and RS sophomore Jarrius Wallace as a hybrid between a defensive lineman and linebacker.

Again, this is another unit of Arizona’s defense that struggles mightily. A lot of opposing teams have success running plays over the middle of the field against the Wildcats. Often looked at as the second line of defense, they have not provided much resistance to opposing offenses this season.

Secondary

The Arizona Wildcats will have RS sophomore Lorenzo Burns, senior Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and junior Tim Hough protecting the secondary.

The Arizona Wildcats give up 235.86 passing yards per game, which is nothing to write home about. The Wildcats secondary will have their work cut out for them against the likings of Bruins Theo Howard, Caleb Wilson and Demetric Felton. All of these players have big play potential, and it would not be surprising to see DTR and the Bruins take shots down field early and often

Analysis

Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates has a tough task this weekend containing UCLA’s rejuvenated offensive unit. The Arizona Wildcats have failed to stop opposing offenses this season (minus UC Berkley and Oregon State), and they even gave up 31 points to Southern Utah. The Wildcats can score the football, but getting their defense off the field has proven to be a big issue for them not only this season, but in previous seasons as well. This has #Pac12AfterDark written all over it.

Go Bruins.