Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel believes that much of the improvement has to do with the increased depth.
"It gives us a little bit more flexibility than this time last year," Casteel said. "We still don't have a whole lot, but we definitely have more guys to work with and more kids that understand what we need and that has been a big help."
However, there is still a learning curve. Arizona has turned to numerous freshmen and they are still figuring out what the college game is about.
"This year a lot of those kids are young kids," Casteel said. "There is still a lot of learning there just to learn how to be a Division I football player and prepare and do those things and then physically go out and do what you need to do at this level."
The UA defense has forced numerous turnovers this season and Casteel feels there is two ways to look at it.
"I think our kids have made some good plays and if you talk to their coaches, they will probably tell you that their quarterbacks haven't thrown well," he said.
"Our kids are making plays and big plays and any turnover in the game, plus when you get a chance to score off it, really changes the game."
One player that has impressed Casteel is defensive lineman Tevin Hood, who has helped anchor an improved defensive line.
"He's done a good job for us," Casteel said. "In any odd front defense, you better have a pretty good player in the middle and he's been banged up, but has done a good job for us.
"I think he is doing a better job with his hands. I think he has a better understanding of what we need out of a nose guard and I think he is probably a little stronger."
In addition, Scooby Wright is one of the freshmen standouts and it is no secret that he has an impressive future ahead of him.
"Scooby is a good football player and a tough kid," Casteel said. "If you watch him practice, he does such a great job of flying around and making plays.
"He is a student of the game and physically he is a strong kid. Scooby has a lot of upside."