When Anttaj Hawthorne watched Arizona film earlier this week, he was relieved that while the Wildcats have a strong offense, they don't appear to be a unit that will do anything too out of the ordinary.
"We're going into this like it's a Big Ten game already. This is a Pac-10 team, and everybody wants to defend their (conference)," Hawthorne said. "They line up and come after you. I prefer that. This is pretty much what I've seen in the Big Ten."
Hawthorne is looking forward to tangling with quarterback Jason Johnson and tailback Clarence Farmer, a big, bruising tailback that is rumored to be heading into the NFL Draft following this season.
"They're pretty good," Hawthorne said. "But I'm not really too sure about how their offensive line is. They look big and slow. They are pretty big guys, and they will get in there and bang with you, but I'm not really sure how fast they move. We'll see on Saturday."
While there's no question the Badgers played their worst game of the year last week against Northern Illinois, the defensive line was one exception to that rule. Hawthorne and Darius Jones, in particular, came alive and had their best games of the year.
"It was my best game so far, but I can also play a lot better," Hawthorne said. "I had a couple of mistakes with footwork, my pads not being out, those types of things. But I'm stepping it up."
Hawthorne said the line is gaining confidence with each passing week, as everyone has stepped it up at one point or another. Erasmus James, Jake Sprague and Jason Jefferson have also performed extremely well over the last few weeks.
But the unit is determined to perform at a higher level, particularly when the Big Ten season arrives.
"We're getting pressure (on the quarterback), but we're not getting back there as much as we want to. We don't want guys to be able to throw the ball at all," Hawthorne said. "I think you'll see us get back there a little more than we have."
While there are still some problems to be resolved defensively, Hawthorne said the locker room has been one of brimming confidence with the 4-0 start.
"We've seen a lot of different styles and I think we're ready for everything now," Hawthorne said. "I think we have a lot of character on this team. When the team needs to step up and play hard to win, it does…we have to clean a couple of things up, but I definitely think we're coming together and we're going to be a good defense."
Hawthorne talks about Arizona
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