D-line improvement will determine season

Before the Stanford game, I was criticized on the WildcatScoop.com message boards for saying that Arizona's defensive line had to step up and that it wasn't as good as the statistics had maybe said.

Before the Stanford game, I was criticized on the WildcatScoop.com message boards for saying that Arizona's defensive line had to step up and that it wasn't as good as the statistics had maybe said.

Well, it looks like I wasn't critical enough.

Arizona gave up 286 yards rushing against Stanford on 48 carries; good for 6 yards per carry. In another words, if every defensive line Stanford went up against in one season was as bad as the U of A's on Saturday, the Cardinal would easily win the national title.

Furthermore, the Wildcats had just one sack the entire game, and even worse, couldn't find a way to stay in front of Stanford's third-string quarterback as he and Toby Gerhart easily made their way downfield in the final five minutes to win the game.

Guess what, it only gets more difficult from here, as Arizona takes on California and then USC, two teams with extremely strong running games.

If Arizona's defensive line can't either stop the run or put pressure on the quarterback in either game, you can forget about the Wildcats having a chance to win.

The blame is across the board. Arizona's coaches must find a way to get the best players on the field and make sure they're playing at the top of their game.

Whether that means benching someone – what a novel concept – or putting the positions out in the open again for competition, something needs to change because performances like the one against Stanford should be inexcusable.

It's not too late for Arizona to turn things around, but it's essential that the defensive line is a key figure in any turnaround.

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