Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Outlook - Defense Part 1
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 10, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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The Front 

More Pressure and Drive Expected


Coaches: Mike Tuiasosopo, Joe Robinson


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Arizona’s 2007 defensive front has some veterans, some talented young players to push and its best depth in the Stoops’ era.  


Head coach Mike Stoops says one key here, as for all defensive units, is that players know the system well enough now to be able to fly around without much thought. Not thoughtlessly, but with a purpose infused by familiarity.


The nucleus returns in ends Louis Holmes and Johnathan Turner and returning starting tackles Yaniv Barnett and Lionel Dotson, all but junior Turner in the senior class. Two coaches, Mike Tuiasosopo with the tackles and Joe Robinson with the ends work with the group, plus it gets a lot of attention from the Stoops to make for a superb student-teacher ratio for every guy on the field.


Holmes earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in his first year last season after an All-American junior college career, and most coaches believe he's capable of the AA goods at the top collegiate level. Few players of his stature and position nationally have more or even the same physical credentials. At 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, he's poised for a bright future and UA thinks 2007 is the break-out phase.


Substitution is the key here, especially in the Pac-10, and Arizona will welcome more play from sophomore tackle Donald Horton and

Coaches Mark Stoops (r) and Joe Robinson

Redshirt freshman Lolamana Mikaele inside, with Jason Parker and redshirt freshmen D’Aundre Reed and Ricky Elmore outside. Junior letterman Dave Bertrand also can help in the middle. UA coaches hate to sub if there’s much drop-off, but this group should make it easier to do so.


Robinson describes Reed as a difference maker of note, with skill-infused power that makes him among the strongest players on the team. “Not necessarily in the weight room, but D’Aundre's strength and leverage is unreal.”  Elmore, too, had some moments in spring ball where his first-step and strength on the edge showed solid promise as another weapon.


That’s the kind of news UA needs, because its sack attack from the edge has been way down since Dick Tomey’s Arizona teams played unreal defense. The team had 15 sacks in 2006, its lowest in Stoops’ three years and second-lowest since Tomey’s final team had 38 sacks in 2000.


Stoops said defensive end Holmes should help, and make people understand why he was such a renowned junior college player in the ’06 class. “Playing against junior college competition is nothing like at this level. Louis will be twice as good this year,” he said.


Holmes led the squad with four sacks in his first year and should make that a footnote his second time around, Stoops said. Graduated end Marcus Smith had three, Parker had 2.5 and Dotson chipped in one. Barnett and departed tackle Paul Philipp shared another.  The other 3.5 came from linebackers. No corner or safety blitzes hit home. The Cats should improve in 2007.


DE Johnathan Turner DT Lionel Dotson DT Yaniv Barnett DE Louis Holmes


Top Defenders up Front


Louis Holmes, 6-6, 270-, Sr., 1L

Johnathan Turner, 6-3, 260, Jr., 2L

D’Aundre Reed, 6-4, 220, Fr-RS

Ricky Elmore, 6-5, 235, Fr-RS

Mike Shelton, 6-3, 240, Jr., 2L


Jason Parker, 6-3, 260, Sr., 2L

Yaniv Barnett, 6-2, 285, Sr., 3L

Lionel Dotson, 6-4, 278, Sr., 3L

Donald Horton, 6-0, 259, So., 1L

Dave Bertrand, 6-0, 285, Jr, 2L

Fall Recruits: Kaniela Tuipulotu, 6-2, 280, DT, Fr.; Ron Jackson, 6-3, 210, DE, Fr.; Levar Brown, 6-3, 240, DE, Fr.; Hans Philipp, 6-1, 282, DT, Fr.


Position Notes... Holmes, a second-team All-Pac-10 honoree, led defensive linemen with 36 tackles in his transfer year, followed by 31 from Dotson and 22 from Parker, who’s been a solid player in three seasons as a top reserve and occasional starter... Barnett missed three games with injury and chipped in 18 tackles... Holmes knocked down four passes and forced two fumbles... Horton missed four games with a shoulder injury in 2006 but turned in credible support as a backup inside, plus started the Stephen F. Austin game... Tuiasosopo says redshirt Lolomana Mikaele is another guy who will step up and contribute this year... Walk-on Dave Bertrand always seems to work his way into some game action, and has lettered his first two years... One of Tuiasosopo’s top recruits, incoming tackle Kaniela Tuipulotu of Kahuku High School, should get a quick look in camp to see if he’s strong enough to factor as a true freshman... Also to join the front are Texas ends Ron Jackson and Levar Brown and tackle Hans Philipp of San Bernardino...Junior end Mike Shelton missed spring ball for personal and disciplinary reasons... He played as a true freshman in ’05 and could redshirt if the new guys work out...

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