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Analyzing Arizona’s defense vs. California with Pro Football Focus

arizona-wildcats-football-cal-golden-bears-analysis-defense-pro-football-focus-stats-ratings-2021 Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats hosted the California Golden Bears, and FINALLY broke the losing streak.

Let’s take a look through the Pro Football Focus lens, in conjunction with my analysis, to see how Arizona’s offense performed against Cal.

As a reminder, see the grading scale below:


Defensive Line

Jalen Harris

  • Snap Count: 41
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 1 PBU
  • Overall (Last 2): California (74.4) & USC (67.7)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (73.6) & USC (78.5)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (75.1) & USC (70.2)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (65.3) & USC (65.5)
  • Notes: Harris is easily one of Arizona’s best d-linemen. His stat line may not always show it but he consistently disrupts plays and creates pressure on the opposing QB. Prime example, during Cal’s last possession of the game, he flushed Ryan Glover out of the pocket to the right and ankle tackled him. Glover did get the ball out but it was defended nicely by the Wildcat secondary. Harris plugs up holes in the run game and is becoming one of the better tacklers on defense. He hasn’t missed a tackle since UCLA. He also batted a pass at the line of scrimmage in his third straight game.

Trevon Mason

  • Snap Count: 51
  • Stat Line: 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL
  • Overall (Last 2): California (81.9) & USC (59.7)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (75.3) & USC (56.7)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (64.2) & USC (64.4)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (84.5) & USC (55.6)
  • Coverage: California (61.5)
  • Notes: Mason is another one of the top linemen on the team. Once again, he made a habit of disrupting plays and living in the offensive backfield. I do think PFF graded too low when it comes to his pass rushing performance against the Bears, considering he had three pressures against Glover. He did play extremely well against the run. In fact, for the second time this season, Mason graded in the Top 5 nationally for interior d-linemen against the run. That’s impressive stuff.

Kyon Barrs

  • Snap Count: 42
  • Stat Line: 5 tackles, 3 TFL, 2.5 sacks
  • Overall (Last 2): California (71.3) & Colorado (77.4)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (75.3) & Colorado (73.8)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (69.4) & Colorado (55.4)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (74.3) & Colorado (83.5)
  • Notes: Returning to his first action after an injury, Kyon Barrs (who is a member of what I like to call the Big 3 with Mason and Harris), was fantastic. For whatever reason, Barrs doesn’t get talked about as much as Mason and Harris do. He is part of my Big 3 for a reason. As you can see from his grades he was excellent. Ironically, his lowest grade was in the pass rushing category. I have no idea why he was graded so low after recorded 2.5 sacks AND another QB hurry. I’m not sure what PFF dinged him on, but man, Barrs makes the d-line even more relentless.

Paris Shand

  • Snap Count: 44
  • Stat Line: 1 tackle, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sack
  • Overall (Last 2): California (63.1) & USC (55.3)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (29.9) & USC (75.9)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (57.4) & USC (56.8)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (67.5) & USC (61.2)
  • Notes: His grades might not show it, but Shand has been playing pretty well. He has progressively seen his workload increase as the season has gone on, and that’s a good thing. He missed a tackle against Cal, only his second of the season, and his low grade in that category most likely stems from lack of attempted tackles overall. He also scored WAY lower in pass rushing than I agree with. He had three hurries to go along with half a sack. Not sure what the problem was there. One area Shand has been consistently good is against the run. He has consistently graded out in the sixties pretty much all year. That’s a good sign for his development as he becomes the successor to Jalen Harris, Mo Diallo, and J.B. Brown.

Leevel Tatum III

  • Snap Count: 3
  • Stat Line: N/A
  • Overall (Last 2): California (59.6) & USC (46.7)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (59.4) & USC (60.1)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (60.0) & USC (49.6)
  • Notes: Tatum had limited action against the Bears and didn’t record any stats.

Nahe Sulunga

  • Snap Count: 5
  • Stat Line: N/A
  • Overall (Last 2): California (61.3) & USC (40.9)
  • Pass Rush: California (59.3)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (61.1) & USC (49.5)
  • Notes: Sulunga saw limited action against Cal and didn’t record any stats.

LINEBACKERS

Christian Young

  • Snap Count: 55
  • Stat Line: 5 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): California (73.3) & USC (69.1)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (52.2) & USC (86.6)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (65.8) & USC (67.0)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (67.4) & USC (71.5)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (72.4) & USC (67.8)
  • Notes: CY has been one of Arizona’s better defenders this season. In fact, his performances have largely flown under the radar. Much like against USC, CY flew all over the field against Cal, without the tackle production. But he was almost always around the ball. He did miss his third tackle of the season, hence the lower grade, but he has been one of UA’s better tacklers all season.

Anthony Pandy

  • Snap Count: 42
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): California (55.5) & USC (56.3)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (26.6) & USC (38.6)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (64.5) & USC (65.5)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (44.8) & USC (41.1)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (63.6) & USC (69.5)
  • Notes: After starting off the season as one of the better tacklers on the team, Pandy has struggled in that aspect. He missed another tackle against Cal, his 10th of the season. Since his last game without a missed tackle, UCLA, Pandy has missed eight. That isn’t that great. The good news is he has good support around him with CY and Kenny Hebert. Some more good news, Pandy has been getting better in the pass rush and coverage categories as the season has progressed. Though, he will need to improve his tackling these last three games of his collegiate career.

Kenny Hebert

  • Snap Count: 35
  • Stat Line: 4 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): California (69.7) & USC (76.2)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (77.3) & USC (75.2)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (74.1) & USC (88.6)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (57.9) & USC (67.0)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (60.7) & USC (52.2)
  • Notes: Speaking of Hebert, he continues to prove he is Arizona’s best pass rushing linebacker, week in and week out. He is a major problem off the edge, and it’s not just in pressuring the QB. Hebert has been successful in pushing outside runs back in so the d-line can clean it up. He had another great game against Cal, adding another two pressures under his belt and helping make things easier for the rest of the defense.

Jerry Roberts

  • Snap Count: 40
  • Stat Line: 5 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sack
  • Overall (Last 2): California (54.6) & USC (36.8)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (79.0) & USC (55.3)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (67.1) & USC (62.8)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (60.0) & USC (27.2)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (46.8) & USC (56.7)
  • Notes: After really struggling against the run in the matchup against the Trojans, Roberts bounced back nicely against Cal. His pass rush and tackling also improved against the Bears. In fact, Roberts has been progressing in almost every category as he starts to settle into the MIKE backer role. He still needs more improvement, but it is nice to see his progression throughout the year.

Rashie Hodge Jr.

  • Snap Count: 18
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles, 0.5 TFL
  • Overall (Last 2): California (74.0) & USC (30.0)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (76.0) & USC (73.1)
  • Pass Rush: California (60.0)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (80.7) & USC (48.8)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (62.7) & USC (60.5)
  • Notes: Hodge bounced back nicely after a pretty rough game against USC. His stat line doesn’t show it, but he did a wonderful job against the run. He would fill gaps and lanes quickly, forcing the runner to hesitate or change direction. This usually led to a short, or negative, gain. He should see even more playing time if he continues to play like that.

Malik Reed

  • Snap Count: 2
  • Stat Line: N/A
  • Overall (Last 2): California (59.1) & USC (60.0)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (58.9) & USC (60.0)
  • Notes: Reed saw limited action and didn’t record any stats.

CORNERBACKS

Christian Roland-Wallace

  • Snap Count: 40
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles, 1 PBU
  • Overall (Last 2): California (51.8) & USC (63.4)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (27.0) & USC (82.8)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (50.6) & USC (60.1)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (62.5) & USC (73.9)
  • Notes: CRW had a not-so-good game. He missed his first two tackles of the season. Highly uncharacteristic of him as he really has been very good in that regard. His coverage slipped again. He allowed Glover to complete 50% of his passes against him. He didn’t allow a score, which is always good. After playing almost 600 snaps, I’m wondering if he is feeling it a little.

Treydan Stukes

  • Snap Count: 56
  • Stat Line: 4 tackles, 1 PBU
  • Overall (Last 2): California (66.7) & USC (57.9)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (79.0) & USC (76.2)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (65.6) & USC (56.2)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (66.6) & USC (64.5)
  • Notes: I like what I’ve seen from Stukes this season. He got the start at corner, opposite of CRW, due to an injury to Isaiah Rutherford. And he stepped up. He allowed only one catch for five yards against Cal and had a PBU to boot. In fact, he is now tied for the team lead in PBUs with five. He has also solidified his tackling and built upon a strong tackling performance against USC. Stukes has grown a lot this season and keeps earning the scholarship he was awarded before the start of the season.

Malik Hausman

  • Snap Count: 16
  • Stat Line: N/A
  • Overall (Last 2): California (75.0) & UCLA (72.1)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (74.8) & UCLA (63.2)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (61.0) & UCLA (60.5)
  • Notes: Credit where credit is due. Hausman had a VERY rough start to the season. But he played a great game against Cal. Easily one of the best plays I’ve ever seen him make came when Glover rolled out and launched the ball down field to his right. Hausman, along with Jaxen Turner, were all over the coverage. Both players came flying in from the middle of the field to make the play on the ball and bat it down. Just great coverage.

Isaiah Mays

  • Snap Count: 14
  • Stat Line: N/A
  • Overall: California (50.9)
  • Tackling: California (21.0)
  • Coverage: California (51.1)
  • Run Defense: California (60.0)
  • Notes: We got to see the first look of Mays after he made the switch to corner this offseason. And it wasn’t all that bad. He did miss his one attempted tackle, but his coverage was pretty decent. I actually don’t agree with his coverage grade as he allowed only one catch for a yard.

SAFETIES

Jaxen Turner

  • Snap Count: 56
  • Stat Line: 8 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 PBU
  • Overall (Last 2): California (69.3) & USC (54.0)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (86.2) & USC (78.8)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (68.5) & USC (65.1)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (79.9) & USC (61.3)
  • Pass Rush: California (57.8)
  • Notes: I know that the safeties have been a major Achilles heel for the defense this season. But Jaxen Turner has been playing his butt off. His last three games have been excellent. He was playing very well before he was disqualified for targeting against USC. He is starting to seem more natural in coverage, snagging his fifth PBU against Cal, tying him for the team lead. He is also showing versatility and becoming an asset against the run. I’m intrigued to see how he plays these last three games and if he can build upon his successes this season.

Jaydin Young

  • Snap Count: 56
  • Stat Line: 4 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): California (64.0) & USC (29.8)
  • Tackling (Last 2): California (60.2) & USC (42.6)
  • Coverage (Last 2): California (66.2) & USC (30.5)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): California (57.1) & USC (35.5)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): California (60.0) & USC (60.0)
  • Notes: The Phoenix-area youngster is another player who had a very nice bounce-back game. He tackled a lot better against Cal. It was clear he was using better technique than he has previously. The key will be for him to continue to use that technique and build upon it. He was also a lot better in coverage, sticking with his receivers more so than he has at points this season. He still has a lot of development to reach but has made good strides so far this year.