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

analyzing-arizona-wildcats-offense-vs-nau-with-pro-football-focus-grades Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I wanted to try something new this season to show how Arizona plays against its opponents. It took a couple of weeks to figure out the format but I think I have it nailed down.

Each week, I’ll break down how each position group on offense and defense faired against each opposing team and compare my point of view to that of PFF.

With that let’s continue with UA’s defense versus NAU. See below image for how each player is graded.


Defensive Line

The group had an overall inconsistent game.

Tackling was the biggest issue as the group missed five tackles against the Lumberjacks. That is relatively surprising, especially since the DL has been pretty decent this year so far.

The pass rush was above average and made up for the poor tackling (which mainly came on NAU’s last scoring drive). The group had four pressures, including UA’s lone sack, which came on behalf of Kyon Barrs.


Linebackers/VIPERs

Overall, the group had a fantastic game.

The tackling was very consistent, with only four missed tackles, and the group took a big step forward in its pass coverage. In fact, Arizona’s first takeaway of the season came on an interception by senior backer Kenny Hebert.

The pass rush was also better. Treshaun Hayward was fantastic in that regard. He will just need to work on getting home and finishing the tackle as the season progresses.


Cornerbacks

The corners were probably the best position group on defense against the Lumberjacks.

Only three played and all three played very well. The group was among the top tacklers on the team last Saturday.

Christian Roland-Wallace is easily one of the top players on the team. He laid the boom on a scrambling NAU QB and had a nice interception in the end zone to end a driving Lumberjack offense. His best play came on a WR screen where, while being blocked, managed to get to the receiver and take him down with one arm.

Isaiah Rutherford had his best game as a Wildcat so far and really showed what he can bring to the field. Treydan Stukes continues to impress. The former walk-on from the Phoenix-area continues to make plays and show why he was put on scholarship.


Safeties

The safeties were a lot better than they were against San Diego State.

Jaxen Turner had what is arguably his best game as a Wildcat. That momentum was cut a little short as he was disqualified after a clear targeting call near the beginning of the second half.

Walk-on-turned-scholarship safety Jaydin Young came in and played pretty well in Turner’s stead.

Gunner Maldonado had an above average game but continues to show his high upside. Rhedi Short came in and did not play well in his limited time. He missed a tackle that allowed NAU to score one of their two offensive touchdowns.