Earls working to improve

Derek Earls had a successful season last year, but is now looking to get even better. Read on to see how he is doing that, what he thinks of his fellow linebackers, and more.

Arizona senior linebacker Derek Earls is putting the wraps on his second fall camp, and despite the fatigue that comes from a summer's worth of football, he's still working on improving his game for the 2011 season.

"Camp is going pretty good," Earls said. "We're all a little bit tired and a little bit sore, but we just have to work through it. I'm just working on pulling the trigger. When I see things, I just have to go instead of waiting for stuff, which I've been doing. I'm trying to work on pulling my trigger and seeing it and go.

"I am working on just being a little bit more physical and using my hands. I had a little injury during the spring with my hand, so I had been trying to protect that. I'm trying to get back to being a little bit more physical."

The team's lack of depth at linebacker has been well documented since Jake Fischer's knee injury in the spring game, and UA will count on three new comers to enter the program and make an early impact. So far, Earls likes what he sees from freshmen Hank Hobson and Rob Hankins, as well as junior college transfer David Lopez.

"They're all doing well," Earls said. "They're flying around and doing what they need to do. They're competing with each other and trying to get a spot to play because we're going to need everyone we can out there.

"They're great at listening and following directions. Every now and again they're going to blow a coverage, but they're freshman and they do that. Everybody does that, we've all done it. We just have to work through it and make sure it doesn't lead to bigger mistakes."

With Hobson, Hankins, and Lopez in the fold, Earls hopes that the defense, as well as the team has a whole, improves at closing out games.

"This year we're focused on just not letting up at the end," Earls said. "We can't do that at the end. We have to keep coming out and playing hard; we can't give up in the fourth quarter and let down. We have to come out and keep firing."

After recording 44 tackles as a junior in his first season with the program, Earls is focused on preparing himself better for Saturdays in his final year as a Wildcat.

"I just want to help the team out any way I can," Earls said. "I want to make sure I'm doing anything I can; watching film, doing my job to help the team out as much as I can."

Earls will be counted on to be one of the leaders of the Arizona defense, and he has high hopes for what the unit can accomplish once it puts all of the pieces together.

"I think our defense is really good with all of our returning starters," Earls said. "As long as everybody is on the same page, our defense is good. When we're not on the same page, that's when you get the little mistakes and mess ups. We just have to play through it and make sure we're on the same page and everything will be good."

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