Defense confident in its ability

Arizona's defense has done better than expected. Read on for the players' thoughts on the defense this season, what it can improve on, and more.

One of the most surprising aspects of Saturday's loss to Oregon may have been that the defense played very well for the majority of the game. While the defense had to talk about the Oregon game on Monday, much of the focus has turned to Oregon State.

"We got a lift in last night (Sunday), we watched film and got a practice in under our belt," linebacker Jake Fischer said. "Everyone's disappointed but with the 24-hour rule, we put it behind us. We got some Oregon State preparation in last night. We moved on.

"Obviously, we can take what happened Saturday night and move on with it. I think the mood of the team is we're ready for Oregon State. We're ready to get back out there and redeem ourselves. I think you're going to see a different team on Saturday."

Although Arizona was blown out by Oregon, linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson feels that the defense learned plenty about itself and what it is capable of.

"I felt like we did a good job, especially on their running backs," he said. "We played good team defense. We could get better, but I thought we did a great job out there with our effort especially.

"We looked at film and everyone did a great job running to the ball. I thought the defensive line did a great job on Saturday. We learned a lot, it was our first away game, so it was a big step."

One of the more noticeable improvements for the defense has been tackling, as it has generally done well in that area this season.

"We're just trying to fly around to the ball and get 11 hats on the ball," Fischer said. "We did a pretty good job of that Saturday night, obviously we didn't do well enough, but it's just the kind of mentality the defense has.

"During practice we try to fly around to the ball and get everybody to the ball. We try to make it a game. I think everybody is hungry to get to the ball. It's the guys on defense as well as the coaches. I think, overall, it's a mentality more than anything."

The linebackers are not the only unit that have played well, as the defense has been relatively strong this season as well.

"The guys on the d-line are workhorses," Fischer said. "They don't take a play off. They're a little smaller than the guys on the offensive line, but they play with so much heart. It's really a tribute to how they take their business. They work on their craft every day.

"Coach Kirelawich is great. All of our defensive staff knows how to handle only having three down linemen, so that's a tribute to them as well."

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