Mackovic likes what he sees on defense

In the third and final installment, Arizona coach John Mackovic discusses many of the standouts on the Wildcat defense. Even with the injury to Eli Wnek, there seems to be enough weapons on the defensive side of the ball.

On the defensive ends:

"We really miss Eli (Wnek) out there, but he is working hard so he can be ready when he comes back. On the first day of practice, he was the first one on the field. He hits the sleds every day, and he does everything he can because he wants to make his mark when he returns. Losing Eli was a setback because he gives us experience, and he has a good background at that position.

"Johnny Jackson had some back problems at the beginning of camp, but he has been a pleasant surprise this fall. He had some ups and downs during spring practice, but he has since taken the lead, and he is going hard.

"Carlos Williams moved from tight end, and he is a natural player for a big man. He can jump, roll and has nice balance. Isaac Watts is another young player who has worked hard. But, the guy to keep your eye on is No. 82 (Nicholas Kredit). He has a lot of athletic ability, and he has done a nice job so far. He is tall, smart, and he can move very well.

"All of the ends can play both sides, but our studs play the right side, and the ends play the left side. Alex (Luna) is back and ready to go, and Austin (Uku) has done a nice job."

On the defensive tackles:

"Young Thompson has done well this fall. Anthony Thomas is back, and I saw nice things from him last night in the scrimmage, and Keoni Fraser is a veteran in that group. If everyone stays healthy, we will have a lot of size and punch up front."

On the linebackers:

"At the whip, we have Joe Siofele and Matt Molina. We are solid at this position. Joe is going to be our next outstanding defensive player. He is a good linebacker, he is smart in what he does, and he enjoys the contact. Matt was one of our most improved players heading into the fall.

"At inside linebacker, Lance (Briggs) is Lance. He is one of the rare players who can run from sideline to sideline. He enters the hole, makes contact, and he makes a lot of tackles.

"Shelton Ross has been out with a bruised thigh, but he is anxious to get back. Ray Wells is doing a nice job, and he has a firm hold on the position. But, Shelton is a senior, and he will get on the field.

"We moved Kirk Johnson from defensive back to linebacker for now, and he is a freshman who can play this year. He has a real nose for the football, and he should be a stalwart on special teams as well."

On the cornerbacks:

"We have a nice group of players in the secondary. I was a little disappointed with their conditioning because they struggled the most in the mile run, along with the receivers, but they have worked to make up for that.

"Michael Jolivette is a terrific corner who can cover and who loves the competition. On the other side, it's a bit of a toss up as to what will happen. David Hinton and Jermaine Chatman are really battling it out. David has taken most of the snaps. Anthony Banks is working hard to finish some work from the second semester so he can be eligible. David Laudermilk also has done very well. So, we will have four, maybe five corners."

On the safeties:

"Jarvie (Worcester) and Clay (Hardt) are a terrific tandem, and both will play. I don't think you can sit either one of them. Both have experience, and both know the system very well. You also have Brandon Nash, Zaharius Johnson and Tony Wingate, who is a good young player."


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