Bondurant being pushed

Tra'Mayne Bondurant is expected to start and play a major role this season. Read on to see what role that will be, his thoughts on the team's improvement, and more.

A season ago, one of the few bright spots on for the Arizona football program was the play of true freshman Tra'Mayne Bondurant.

The safety / linebacker hybrid saw plenty of playing time late in the season and not only did he make a big impact, he proved to be one of the biggest playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

Now, as a sophomore, Bondurant must try to replicate that kind of production for a second straight season.

The potential roadblock for Bondurant has been the change in staff and philosophies but, so far, Bondurant has been satisfied with the new approach the new coaching staff has brought to the program.

"We just got a new attitude," Bondurant said. "They're trying to change the coaching and be more positive for our team."

Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defense has been a work in progress since his arrival.

There are still a few wrinkles to iron out, but Bondurant believes the adjustment will not only benefit him, but the rest of the defense as well.

"I think so," Bondurant said. "It helps out our whole defense, really. We have players that can actually make plays and I think the way the defense is set up gives everybody a chance to make plays and make the defense better."

Casteel has been putting a lot of pressure on his players and it's not surprising considering the amount of adjustments that need to be made. Bondurant feels the pressure specifically, as Casteel is asking a lot from the sophomore.

"He's pushing me a lot," Bondurant said. "He makes sure he gets on me when I do something wrong because he expects more out of me.

"Just having that feeling from a coach and getting that attention from a coach lets you know that you have to step up your game and try to be a leader and try to be a role model for the other players on the defense."

There has been some discussion regarding the struggles of the defense in the media and among the fan-base in recent weeks.

Bondurant, however, sees plenty of progress and believes the unit has made significant strides over the past few months.

"We have come a long way from the first day of spring," Bondurant said. "We have just learned a lot. We are just trying to get better every day. We still have work to do but progressing-wise, we are doing good.

"We keep trying to learn new things, trying to maintain the focus of just knowing everything we already have learned. We are just trying to stay focused on everything."

The sophomore spent plenty of time putting in work in order to improve his individual game this offseason. He hopes it translates into him developing into more of a well-rounded player.

"I just worked on minor stuff," Bondurant said. "Feet-work, understanding the game, trying to be a better student of the game and learning how to become more of a complete football player."

The play of Bondurant in 2011 snuck up on the opposition, but he made such a big impact that opponents are going to be ready for him in the upcoming campaign. The safety is well-aware of that and intends on increasing the level he plays at.

"I'm approaching this year knowing I have a little more experience," Bondurant said. "Just go out there with way more intensity than last year and with way more focus and way more of a confident level. I just have to work hard every day like my teammates do."

The defensive scheme the Wildcats run will require most of the players to take on multiple roles and line up at various positions. No matter where he is positioned, Bondurant is going to put it all out on the field each and every play.

"Wherever we get lined up at we are going to ball," Bondurant said. "We are going to be hard. Linebacker, safety, whichever package it is, wherever I am out, I am just going to go out there and go 100 percent every time."

As for predictions, Bondurant isn't going to make any of those. What he does intend on doing is making he sure his part in assuring that his team is in the right position to win football games.

"We just have to wait until the season comes," Bondurant said. "How we are looking now, if we just work hard and play hard we could play good every game.

"We just have to play hard. That's the main focus. If we focus on playing hard, the results will come in and most times it will be positive."

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