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

Utah v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats gave the likely Pac-12 South champions, the Utah Utes, all they could handle on Saturday. UA came close to upsetting Utah but fell short after a long 8+ minute drive by the Utes in the 4th quarter.

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

As a reminder, see the grading scale below:


DEFENSIVE LINE

Jalen Harris

  • Snap Count: 70
  • Stat Line: 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (57.1) & California (74.4)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (78.4) & California (73.6)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (61.5) & California (75.1)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (57.0) & California (65.3)
  • Coverage: Utah (56.0)
  • Notes: Harris, in my opinion, was graded to low in everything. Except tackling, that’s a good grade considering he just posted his fifth straight game without missing a tackle. I thought Harris played the run pretty well. Especially in the middle of the field. Sure, the edges were vulnerable, however, Harris was in on a lot of tackles on run plays or was right near the ball carrier. Even his pass rush grade is too low. He had a sack and pressured the QB two more times. He was a problem all day, but was graded low for some reason.

Trevon Mason

  • Snap Count: 63
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (34.9) & California (81.9)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (73.6) & California (75.3)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (65.3) & California (64.2)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (27.6) & California (84.5)
  • Notes: Mason’s grades are also perplexing to me. He played in the interior and that’s where Utah found little success in the run game. He may not have made a ton of tackles but he was disruptive in the run game. He also recorded another three QB pressures. I’m not sure what PFF saw to grade Mason so low, but I expect that to be adjusted, as grades usually are throughout the week.

Kyon Barrs

  • Snap Count: 61
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles, 1 TFL
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (53.4) & California (71.3)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (34.1) & California (75.3)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (60.4) & California (69.4)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (50.3) & California (74.3)
  • Notes: I understand that the defense didn’t perform their best, but they did enough to win the game. I mean, they held the best rushing team in the conference to fours yards per carry. Barrs is yet another player PFF was not kind to. For example: Barrs missed his first tackle of the season against the Utes and they graded him as low as you see above. Incredible. Other than that, I thought Barrs did a decent job. Sure it was probably his weakest showing this season, but it isn’t as bad as PFF thinks it is.

Mo Diallo

  • Snap Count: 38
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (40.9) & USC (57.6)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (71.5) & USC (74.7)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (58.4) & USC (63.7)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (36.1) & USC (52.1)
  • Notes: Now these grades are a little more accurate. Diallo did not have that great a game. He was out of position, or just ineffective, against the run all day. He did show some great pursuit a few times during the game, but it’s possible he still isn’t 100% from the lower body injury he sustained against USC.

Paris Shand

  • Snap Count: 25
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (55.9) & California (63.1)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (73.0) & California (29.9)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (52.8) & California (57.4)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (60.8) & California (67.5)
  • Coverage: Utah (60.0)
  • Notes: Shand had a decent game. Again, I think he was graded too low overall and in the pass rush categories. He notched a QB hit, so I’m not sure what PFF wanted there. He was pretty solid in run defense. One of his tackles came from stuffing the runner at the line before he could get going. Besides Jalen Harris, Shand has been UA’s most consistent d-lineman in run defense.

Leevel Tatum III

  • Snap Count: 8
  • Stat Line: N/A
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (49.7) & California (59.6)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (66.9) & California (59.4)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (50.0) & California (60.0)
  • Notes: Tatum had limited action against the Utes and didn’t record any stats.

LINEBACKERS

Anthony Pandy

  • Snap Count: 70
  • Stat Line: 8 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (43.0) & California (55.5)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (82.7) & California (26.6)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (52.8) & California (64.5)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (61.2) & California (44.8)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (30.0) & California (63.6)
  • Notes: Pandy had an excellent day tackling Ute players and a decent day against the run. He was not so good in coverage. He was victim to a few of the shorter screens and passes in the middle that went for major chunk plays for Utah all afternoon. He will need to clean up that aspect of his game, especially against a pass-heavy team like Wazzu.

Christian Young

  • Snap Count: 69
  • Stat Line: 5 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (46.7) & California (73.3)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (39.1) & California (52.2)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (55.1) & California (65.8)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (49.8) & California (67.4)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (48.1) & California (72.4)
  • Notes: CY easily had his worst game of the year. He missed some tackles, wasn’t solid in coverage like he usually is, and just wasn’t as effective as he has been. He also had a costly DPI penalty in the end zone on a 3rd and goal play for Utah that fell incomplete. However, due to the penalty, Utah got a fresh set of downs and scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the second quarter.

Jerry Roberts

  • Snap Count: 68
  • Stat Line: 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (59.7) & California (54.6)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (57.3) & California (79.0)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (51.9) & California (67.1)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (63.0) & California (60.0)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (66.3) & California (46.8)
  • Notes: Roberts easily had his best game as a Wildcat, even if his grades don’t show it. He was flying all over the field. Even when he hit the wrong gap, he was there in a split second. The learning curve is started to shrink for him as he gains more experience in Don Brown’s defense. You can ding him on the two missed tackles he had, however, he still finished with a career high 10 tackles. Roberts was a part of the non-existent, ghost face mask that was called against Arizona in the fourth quarter. I hope Jedd Fisch sent that nonsense up to the conference.

Kenny Hebert

  • Snap Count: 37
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles, 0.5 TFL
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (50.4) & California (69.7)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (32.0) & California (77.3)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (59.5) & California (74.1)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (53.6) & California (57.9)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (47.7) & California (60.7)
  • Notes: Hebert was another backer suffering from a case of uncharacteristic play. He missed a tackle, wasn’t as good in coverage as he usually is, and found intermittent success in rushing the passer. I do expect a bounce-back game against Wazzu.

Rashie Hodge Jr.

  • Snap Count: 15
  • Stat Line: N/A
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (29.1) & California (74.0)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (20.0) & California (76.0)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (55.9) & California (60.0)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (55.6) & California (80.7)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (39.9) & California (62.7)
  • Notes: Hodge was ineffective against the Utes. He missed his lone tackle opportunity and allowed a 12-yard reception in coverage.

Malik Reed

  • Snap Count: 2
  • Stat Line: N/A
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (60.2) & California (59.1)
  • Pass Rush: Utah (60.0)
  • Notes: Reed saw limited action and didn’t record any stats. I do want to call out something I saw from him though. On Utah’s first play of the second half, T.J. Pledger went 50-yards down the field only to be called back because of a holding penalty. Reed was on the opposite side of the field from where Pledger ran but showed great speed to cross the field and close the gap before Jaxen Turner came barreling in and made the stop. Excellent hustle and something that makes me excited to see more of him.

CORNERBACKS

Christian Roland-Wallace

  • Snap Count: 77
  • Stat Line: 5 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (57.9) & California (51.8)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (62.0) & California (27.0)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (49.2) & California (50.6)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (78.4) & California (62.5)
  • Notes: CRW had another rough game. He was excellent against the run, however, he did miss another tackle, only his third of the season. He also allowed a 75% completion percentage against him. He is credited with giving up a touchdown, though I don’t hold it against him because it was the two yard touchdown to end the first half. That was just a very well designed play and nothing CRW could’ve done. It seems that he has been in a slump since Washington and is trying to dig himself out. He may be pushing a little.

Treydan Stukes

  • Snap Count: 77
  • Stat Line: 7 tackles, 1 PBU
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (58.1) & California (66.7)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (73.1) & California (79.0)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (59.0) & California (65.6)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (54.7) & California (66.6)
  • Notes: Stukes got another start at corner as Isaiah Rutherford works his way back. He was inconsistent but I thought did a good job of holding his own. He had a really nice PBU and was in great position multiple times against his man. He did allow Utah to complete 50% of the passes thrown his way but he didn’t allow a score. In fact, he has yet to allow a touchdown this season. Not bad for a former walk-on who has played just under 400 snaps this season.

Isaiah Mays

  • Snap Count: 13
  • Stat Line: 2 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (69.0) & California (50.9)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (78.5) & California (21.0)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (75.7) & California (51.1)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (63.7) & California (60.0)
  • Notes: Mays played a lot better against Utah than he did against Cal. He had good coverage. He tackled better. He just looked more confident and comfortable on the field. He almost had an interception in the end zone but it bounced out of his hands. It would’ve been negated anyway due to Christian Young’s DPI penalty. He was also involved in the nonexistent, ghost face mask penalty in the fourth quarter. Again, an egregious call by the refs there.

SAFETIES

Jaxen Turner

  • Snap Count: 77
  • Stat Line: 8 tackles, 1 TFL
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (50.4) & California (69.3)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (82.8) & California (86.2)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (43.3) & California (68.5)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (61.0) & California (79.9)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (66.9) & California (57.8)
  • Notes: Turner had a good game against the run, rushing the passer, and tackling. But he did not show up when it came to coverage. He allowed Utah receivers to catch three out of five targets against him. The good news is he didn’t allow a score. It is worth noting that Turner has gotten better as the year has progressed so this was a let-down performance from him. He has another two chances to finish the season off strong.

Jaydin Young

  • Snap Count: 77
  • Stat Line: 5 tackles
  • Overall (Last 2): Utah (51.3) & California (64.0)
  • Tackling (Last 2): Utah (58.0) & California (60.2)
  • Coverage (Last 2): Utah (61.4) & California (66.2)
  • Run Defense (Last 2): Utah (36.7) & California (57.1)
  • Pass Rush (Last 2): Utah (56.8) & California (60.0)
  • Notes: Young had an inconsistent game against Utah. He did give up a touchdown on a 17-yard pass, but that was the only catch he allowed. He was horrible against the run and just below average when rushing the passer. He did miss a couple of tackles, but overall his tackling technique has improved over the season. Right now, I’m wondering if Young will get the nod at safety the rest of the season, or if Gunner Maldonado will start once he’s fully healed.