Defense faces tough week

After two walkovers, Cats know it's time to see what they have
2010-09-12T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:49:28Z Defense faces tough weekPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 12, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Forget the smiles and good feelings that came with a 52-6 win against The Citadel on Saturday night.

Mike Stoops will.

"I was telling some of the guys, 'If you haven't seen coach Mike mad, you're going to see it this week coming up,' " said free safety Joseph Perkins. "Just getting ready to be physical."

This is Iowa week.

The Arizona defense, dominant in his first two games, will see whether it's ready.

"We haven't been stressed like we're going to be stressed, obviously, next week," Stoops said.

After giving up 183 yards in Week 1, the UA defense did itself 12 yards better, allowing 171 to Citadel's triple-option offense. For the second-straight week, the Wildcats didn't allow a touchdown.

In two games, the defense has given up six points - two second-half field goals to the Bulldogs' Sam Keeler.

"The first two games have been pretty good," Perkins said. "We're more excited about this third game coming up."

Combined, the Wildcats have won, 93-8.

"Every defense in the country doesn't want to give up touchdowns," linebacker Jake Fischer said.

The No. 9 Hawkeyes present a completely different challenge, as different as the Iowa farmland is from the lowlands of Charleston, S.C.

Fischer said he planned on watching film of Iowa this morning. The Hawkeyes "run downhill," he said, the highest compliment for a running football team.

"When you're on defense, you have to take every possession, every play personally," he said.

The Wildcats defense has starred to start the season before.

Last year, it gave up a combined 23 points over the first two games, against Central Michigan and Northern Arizona.

In 2008, it allowed 16, total, to Idaho and Toledo.

Average the scores of the Wildcats' first two games over the past three seasons, and you see a picture of dominance - a 44-8 victory.

The third game has proved trying the past two years - a 27-17 loss in Iowa City last season and a 36-28 defeat to New Mexico in Albuquerque the year before.

In both instances, the Wildcats allowed more points in Game 3 than they had the previous two combined.

The difference between this season and the past two is the UA's defensive youth, namely at linebacker, where it started three players for the first time this season.

"It doesn't matter how young you are, how old you are," Fischer said. "Once you start you're not a rookie anymore."

Still, that makes the concept of the leap more daunting. Stoops called Fischer and linebackers Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo "very good players for playing a small amount of time," saying that they're "really starting to get it."

He then praised the rest of his defense.

"Our ends are unbelievable players - just their speed and their ability and their experience," he said.

Stoops said that "it's not like we're lacking good players."

After the Iowa game, though, the UA might have an idea of just how good.

"It'd be really good for us nationally," Fischer said

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