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Unlike the offensive side of the ball where much of the focus will be on the newcomers on the field, much of the focus for the defensive side will be the new coaching staff.
It was difficult to find much fault in what defensive coordinator Don Brown did last season as he generally fielded a middle of the road defense without middle of the road talent.
And unlike previous defensive coordinators, Brown didn’t willingly allow ten yard outs while refusing to bring pressure.
But Brown has moved on to a head coaching position which means new defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen gets his first stab at play calling.
Nansen is a bit of a wildcard but it would make sense that he will try to remain aggressive with this defense.
And there are newcomers and young players that fans should keep an eye on.
For a team that couldn’t generate a pass rush last season, it would be helpful to develop some players who can win one on one battles.
Everyone knows about returning defensive end Jalen Harris, but it was his younger brother Jason, who Fisch signals out for adding thirty pounds of muscle and being ready to contribute
Much of the rest of the defensive line is a question mark.
At the linebacker level the player to keep a close eye on is Michigan transfer Anthony Solomon. With Jerry Roberts out, Solomon is going to get every opportunity to start and with his speed and coverage ability it wouldn’t surprise if he becomes one of the leaders of the 2022 defense.
Another player brought up for praise was sophomore cornerback Traydan Stukes. Fisch volunteered that Stukes was one of the more talented young players that he’s come across and it certainly sounds like the Stukes will be a staple of the Arizona defensive backfield.
But unlike the offense it’s difficult to gauge who to really keep an eye on. We should all have a much better idea about that in the coming weeks.
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