Pressuring QB gets a lot of emphasis

2013-07-14T00:00:00Z 2013-07-31T22:32:55Z Pressuring QB gets a lot of emphasisDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It's not that Arizona Wildcats defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich enjoys yelling.

It's more that the veteran coach, who has been known to raise his voice a decibel level or two during practice, had to yell during last season. The production from the defensive line wasn't exactly what he hoped it would be.

The biggest issue for the UA's three down linemen was they didn't generate enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

It was a huge point of emphasis for the unit this spring, and if he's being honest, Kirelawich didn't see enough improvement.

"We're not getting enough pressure, not near enough as we should be," said Kirelawich during spring practice.

The position group does return several players from last year, and they should all be more comfortable in Year 2 under Kirelawich and working in the 3-3-5 odd stack defense.

Dan Pettinato, the line's leading tackler from last season, missed spring practice recovering from a serious knee injury. The UA is hopeful he'll be ready for this season.

Sione Tuihalamaka and Tevin Hood, who combined for 55 tackles last season, are both back and healthy.

Here's our reset of the defensive line:

What the group looked like before spring practice: Reggie Gilbert, Jr.; Tevin Hood, Sr.; Kyle Kelley, Fr.; Dwight Melvin, Fr.; Dan Pettinato, Jr.; Kirifi Taula, Jr.; Sione Tuihalamaka, Sr.; Justin Washington, Sr.

What it looks like now: There have been no changes since the spring.

Help on the way: Calvin Allen, Albuquerque; Jack Banda, Loganville, Ga.; Luca Bruno, Oak Park, Calif.

By the numbers: 6 1/2: Sacks by the UA's defensive line last season in 13 games.

The lowdown: Bruno and Allen are both three-star recruits according to the Scout.com recruiting service, and Banda is a two-star prospect. It's possible at least one of the three plays as a true freshman. Kelley and Melvin both redshirted last season and could add depth and talent to the line.

Summer stock

The Star will preview the UA's position groups over the next four weeks. Today, we look at the defensive line.

• Coming Thursday: Safeties

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

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