The Arizona Wildcats have been one of the worst defensive teams in the country under Kevin Sumlin and the struggles start up front.

The Wildcats have been dead-last in the Pac-12 in sacks the past two seasons. Last year they only recorded 17 sacks in 12 games, five fewer than the next Pac-12 team (Colorado).

With an inexperienced secondary and a revamped linebackers corp, Arizona’s defensive woes will continue this season if it cannot get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

JB Brown, DL, Sr.
Actually, let’s start with a guy Arizona won’t have at its disposal. Brown opted out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns. The versatile defensive lineman was second on the team in sacks last year, racking up three in 12 games. A notable loss, for sure.

Jalen Harris, DE/LB, RS Jr.
With Brown out of the mix, Harris is easily Arizona’s most notable pass rusher. He already led the Wildcats in sacks last season with four. He’s added a lot of weight to his long 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame. That plus a new coaching staff—one that has a coach (Andy Buh) assigned specifically to the outside linebackers—may help Harris unlock even more of his potential.

“Last year I was playing more hand in the ground, but this year they got me playing hand in the ground, but also off the ball a little bit so I’m able to drop coverage and rush the passer and keep the offense on their toes because they don’t know if I’m coming or dropping,” Harris said during fall camp. “Last year I did it a little bit, not much. It’s kind of a new thing, something I’m still learning.

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