Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles has been a major solidifier of Arizona’s aggressive play in the secondary, but the sophomore understands the unit is still a work in progress.
“I feel like we’ve surprised a lot of people but I still think we need to play better as a whole defense,” Flannigan-Fowles said.
“All of our guys feel that our group should be closing out games instead of just keeping us in games. We did that against Washington and that’s not how you play to win. We have to do better.”
Flannigan-Fowles leads the team in takeaways with two interceptions, which is something Arizona’s defensive coaching staff has emphasized for players to create more of.
“From day one our new coaches have said to all the guys on defense see ball, go get ball.” Flannigan-Fowles said. “They’ve made hard play on that from day one and I think we’ve grown off that and have been more aggressive.
"You can’t win games without forcing turnovers and once we start doing that consistently, we’ll be good.”
In addition to improving upon physical efforts on the field, Flannigan-Fowles is not one to slack when it comes to studying game tape and feels that aspect has helped his play significantly.
“Film, film and more film,” Flannigan-Fowles said. “That’s what has really helped me take that next step. Watching film, breaking it down and doing those extra things with my coaches has set me up well.
“When you watch the film close and break it down, you can see things a lot better and a little bit faster. I think starting to take that seriously last year has helped me a lot as a second year player. I can see things happening on the field a whole lot faster and learn from it.”
Flannigan-Fowles understands great challenges lie ahead against UCLA.
“Our guys think this is the best wide receiver core we are going to face,” Flannigan-Fowles said. “Josh Rosen can make all the throws so that’s also going to keep us on our toes.
"I feel like when you face a quarterback like him and everyone on that offense, the key is to watch as much film as you can and really be on top of what their offense is going to run.
“You always have to be ready when you’re up against guys who have the best chance to be NFL players. We have to stay focused and you do that by game planning the best we can. We just have to keep them from making big plays and if we can limit that, we’ll be fine.”