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Arizona football spring game: What to expect from the Wildcats' defense Friday night

What you should be aware of on the defensive side of the ball during the spring game.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

With the Arizona Wildcats spring game coming up on Friday night (6 PM PT - Pac-12 Networks), let's take a look at some of the things you should know about the defense.


First and foremost, don't expect to see Scooby Wright III play as many snaps as the other starters.

"I'm cool with whatever," Wright said on Monday about Rich Rodriguez holding him back this weekend. "I plan on playing a lot of snaps during the season."

We'll get our first look at Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb, the two highly-touted recruits who redshirted last season after arriving on campus late and working through injuries.

"I think they're starting to pick up the scheme," Wright continued about those two guys. "How we do things as a program and stuff, but they're picking it up. It's good to get some experience under their belt."

Another guy who's coming back from injury is DeAndre' Miller.

"I'm improving on my game still, and I'm just happy to get the opportunity again," Miller said last month. "It was frustrating that I couldn't go out and help my team."

The progression of guys like Jake Matthews and Derrick Turituri will be something to keep an eye on as well. Right now, it seems that those will be the two guys starting on either side of Scooby come September.

"They're definitely stronger and faster," Miller explained about those two. "They understand the game a lot more too coming into their second spring just like me. So overall as a defense, we should be good."

Defensive line

The biggest news here in the spring was Reggie Gilbert officially getting that fifth year of eligibility.

"I wasn't really worried about it," Gilbert said of that decision on Monday. "I talked to the coaches and trainers and they seemed pretty confident so I wasn't really worried about that."

Gilbert is wearing No. 8 this year instead of 84. He says he wanted to go back down to a single digit because that's what he wore in high school, so he just dropped the '4' off his old Arizona number.

One new guy to keep an eye on is junior college transfer Anthony Fotu. He'll be wearing No. 42 on the defensive line.

"He's coming along really really good," Gilbert said of his linemate. "At first I was worried about him, but he's a tough kid and a good player. He's pretty tough and I'm pretty excited to see him get better."

"He's a ballplayer," Wright added about Fotu. "He's one of those guys who just loves going out there and playing football, and I think he'll be a good addition for us."


Here's where all the new-ish faces begin.

After dealing with injuries for the majority of spring, don't expect to see Jarvis McCall much, if at all, on Friday. That will give Cam Denson and DaVonte' Neal more reps to showcase what they can bring to the corner position.

At safety, William Parks will be the obvious main guy back there. But one player who's really stepped it up a notch this spring has been Jamar Allah. The senior from Phoenix has taken on a huge leadership role in the secondary, and has upped his level of play to help replace guys like Jared Tevis and Tra'Mayne Bondurant.

Tellas Jones, who filled in some when guys got hurt last year, is another player that looks like he'll be taking on a huge role at the safety position. And then you have Paul Magloire, who just like Fotu is here for his first semester, and is already turning some heads at practice.

Based on reports of what happened at the open scrimmage two weeks ago, I would not expect the defense to win on Friday. But there's definitely a few new names to keep an eye on, and certainly how DaVonte' Neal looks covering Arizona's great receivers will be the focus of a lot of people.