Defensive line gaining confidence

Arizona's defensive line struggled against USC, but bounced back in a big way against Utah. Read on to see why, what Reggie Gilbert is confident in, and more.

Arizona's defensive line has had mixed results so far this season, but lineman Reggie Gilbert believes in the improvement that it undergone.

"I'm very confident in where we are as a team right now," Gilbert said. "I feel like we have a lot of getting better to do, which I believe is a good thing. I have a good feeling about this team."

Throughout the week leading up to Saturday's game against Utah, one of the general themes was that the line failed to get off blocks against USC. Now that the Utah game as passed, Gilbert says that the negative against the Trojans became a positive.

"That's something we worked hard on at practice," he said. "We weren't satisfied with our performance against USC, so there was definitely improvement. Getting off the blocks and trying to get pressure on the quarterback was one of our key points last week."

The increased depth and better overall quality of the line has allowed it to be more aggressive throughout the season.

"We are definitely doing a lot more of it this year," Gilbert said. "We have all the same guys back and the coaches have the confidence in us to run the 3-3-5 defense. I think everybody is definitely more comfortable moving around this year."

It also helps that the line has started the same players in each game this season and has been healthy for the most part.

""It will be a key point in our success this year," Gilbert said. "Staying healthy and developing the confidence and chemistry with one another will benefit us. Also, getting younger guys reps in as the season progresses will be good, too."

Gilbert is not the only lineman having a successful season and Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez was quick to point that out on Monday.

Justin Washington had his first above average game in quite a while and the defensive line as a whole continues to improve.

"He made a few plays, it was good to see that," Rodriguez said. "It was pretty solid play up front on the defensive line. Justin made a few plays. We are still looking for more consistency out of all of them, including Justin, but that was a big challenge because they were so big up front."

In addition, the UA has been helped by the recent addition of a veteran that had previously been injured.

"Dan Pettinato is slowly working his way in," Rodriguez said. "He is not 100 percent yet I don't think, because he missed so much practice time. If we can get him up to speed and get our rotation better we would be playing more guys."


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