Position battle: Defensive tackle

There are two players that have a heads up on the competition at defensive tackle. Read on to see who they are, the other contenders, and more.

We continue our look at Arizona's position battles and one of them will be on the defensive line. The Wildcats have some talent at defensive tackle, but it will be interesting to see who gets left out of the rotation.

Reggie Gilbert: Gilbert is likely more of a defensive end, but he did see some time at tackle and did well there. His strength is probably as a pass rusher, but we are deciding to list him here because it is a possibility that the Arizona coaching staff feels that the line is at its best when Gilbert is at tackle. That seems somewhat unlikely, but it is worth discussing the possibility. Gilbert is a big body with versatility and we could see him playing at tackle in certain packages or situations.

Tevin Hood: Hood is the favorite to start at the nose and comments by defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich show exactly why.

"I think he comes out and plays hard all the time, gives you everything he's got," Kirelawich said. "He did the same thing last fall, that is how he eventually he got to be the first-team nose. He works hard in the weight room. He is an all-around guy.

"He is good in the weight room, he is good in the class room, and he is good in the meeting room. It does not get much better than that."

If Hood somehow does not hold on to the starting spot, he is still going to be heavy in the rotation. Hood came a long way throughout last season and continued to look solid in the spring, so it makes sense that he would start the season.

Dwight Melvin: Melvin looks the part, but he has struggled with consistency and getting the plays down.

"Long way to go and that is on Dwight Melvin," he said. "Dwight Melvin will get there when he decides to get there. I think there's a part of me that thinks he has the tools to do what he should be doing, but now he has to tie it all together.

"I need to see more hustle, more sense of urgency, and more of a lot of things out of him. I think he has the tools, big strong kid, and moves okay. He should be better than he is right now in my opinion and I will tell him that."

Kirelawich is being honest when he says Melvin has all the tools. There's little reason for him not to be successful and if he puts it all together, he is going to play this year. Melvin is one guy we are going to have a close eye on this summer, because there is going to be some pressure on him to produce.

Sione Tuihalamaka: Tuihalamaka started 10 games at nose and finished with 29 tackles while seeing action in each game. If the starting job does not go to Hood, it is likely going to Tuihalamaka. He has the strength and size to succeed, but his biggest issue is with consistency in his technique and production.

Arizona likes Hood because it knows what to expect with each game. Tuihalamaka is a bit more unpredictable and it hurts him at times. Still, he is going to get every opportunity to start and is likely to contribute as well.

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