The biggest unknown questions this season will surround Arizona’s defensive unit and whether or not the group will improve mightily under first year Defensive Coordinator Marcel Yates, but fourth year linebacker DeAndre Miller already spots a difference.
“As a defense I just think we are more attuned and focused than ever before,” Miller said. “We’re a more physical group but at the same time we have to go out there and give it our best. The first game always sets the tone for the season and we have to get off to a good start.”
Miller admits aggression has been the vocal point of Marcel Yates’ defense.
“When you work for seven months straight as a player, you have to invest all of our trust into the coaching,” he said. “I know Marcel and his staff have made me and everyone else a better player.”
“We’re doing some new things that most people aren’t expecting on defense. I feel like we haven’t been as aggressive in year’s past and that’s something we are all going to work to prefect all season long.”
“I feel really good about all of our linebackers,” Miller said. “Michael Barton is a new guy who has brought some intensity that our team needs. I’ve become real close with him and everyone else which has kept us on the same page.”
“Obviously we all know what Paul is capable of and he will a great hybrid guy for us in all parts of the field. The same praise goes for Jake, Cody and John. I think every single one of our linebackers can go out there and play ball.”
With BYU’s Taysom Hill under center and senior running back Jamaal Williams, whom is on the verge of breaking the school’s career rushing mark of 3,455 yards, Miller understands generating pressure and performing his individual role well this week is vital.
“Taysom and Jamaal are both really good football players,” Miller said. “We have to win the battle on defense and it all starts with stopping those two guys.”
“I know what my role is for this team and if myself and everyone can execute that to the best of their ability, our defense will have gotten us the win. People are going to see a completely new style from our group and I can’t wait for it.”