Watley staying focused

Mark Watley has emerged as a legitimate options for Arizona this season. Read on for his thoughts on the spring, his role, and more.

The spring game was the final time that the Arizona defense got a chance to show off before fall camp. It played considerably better than in the previous scrimmages, showing improvement in each one. Even with improvement, the defense gave up 597 yards of total offense. 152 yards came on the ground and an astonishing 445 yards came through the air.

Second string free safety Mark Watley didn't record a single statistic even though he saw plenty of playing time. The 6-foot-2 senior had matchups against Dan Buckner and spring surprise, Johnny Jackson, but didn't have a tackle or pass-break-up. Watley was beaten once by Jackson for a huge 45-yard gain, but was otherwise untested in the final scrimmage of the spring.

"The first scrimmage the offense got us with the no huddle," Watley said. "As we got in shape, (the defense) got used to the pace. This scrimmage was a lot better."

Speed has been talked about all spring. The offense, defense, practices, and learning curve are faster and the players aren't afraid to let anyone know.

"The tempo is definitely faster," Watley said. "There's no walking around. At first, we were out of shape, but that changed fast.

Watley cites the focus on little things, such as footwork and speed, as the main reason for the defensive improvement.

"The defense needs to focus on the little things and not focus on the big things right now," he said. "Coach Lockwood has worked with our footwork. He wants all of the secondary's footwork on point.

"Last year, we didn't do a lot of footwork. This year with Coach Lockwood, we focus more on technique and little things. They really pay attention to small details."

When asked which teammates had stood out to him throughout the spring, Watley mentioned Derrick Rainey and Shaquille Richardson, but then expanded on his answer.

"Those two have done real well, but the rest of the defensive backs have stood out too," he said. "Well, the whole defense really. We've all improved together."

Watley is a senior and hopes to see the field as much as he can in his final season as a Wildcat. He had 25 tackles this past season and hopes that he can help the team do big things in his senior campaign.

"Our back-up plan is the Rose Bowl," Watley said with pride. "Our main goal is a national championship."

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