As much as Arizona has consistently struggled in the secondary this season, defensive backs coach Donte Williams couldn’t be more proud of the competitive mindset demonstrated from the unit’s corners week in and week out.
“The one thing I will say about our guys right now is that they’re competing all the way until the end,” Williams said. “That’s one thing I’m really proud of regardless of how many games we’ve won.
"We’ve done so many things this year and a lot of it we didn’t have on film to go over based on the year before. That’s just how it goes as a first year coach. We’re getting better and guys are learning more each day.”
Williams acknowledges that the unit has made significant progression from week one, which is something that is not easily spotted sometimes.
“I wouldn’t say that anyone in particular has really struggled individually,” he said. “That’s because a lot of the things we do may look like the ball is getting caught on one guy sometimes, but in fact we are actually in zone or some other different coverage.
"Being around the ball nowadays if you play DB or even linebacker, everyone assumes that it’s your fault if the other guy catches it or makes a big play. A lot of times that’s not always the case.”
Not many anticipated Jace Whittaker to have a significant role throughout the season, but Williams attributes his impact to positive attitude on and off the field.
“One thing that I love about Jace is that his personality reminds me of myself as a player,” Williams said. “Whenever you have a player that reminds you of yourself it makes a coach happy.
“I’m an energetic and positive type of person and he provides exactly that for us. I can only see his future getting better and once he spends more time in the weight room during the offseason and everything else we have these guys do, he’ll be bad news for a lot of teams.”
Williams couldn’t be more thrilled about the future of the team, which all starts with recruitment and development.
“We’re flat out going to play the best players here,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior we’re just going to play the best guys.
"As long as we continue to recruit the way we have as a staff, the future is going to be bright considering the new guys coming in and how many we are bringing back on defense. This is going to be a talented group of players.”