The most amazing part of Arizona’s 44-20 win over Colorado last week wasn’t B.J. Denker’s 54-yard run, Ralphie’s pregame jaunt around Folsom Field or Ka’Deem Carey’s four touchdowns.
It came when Wildcat linebacker Marquis Flowers was penalized 15 yards for “abusive language.”
No, really, that happened. Flowers, the UA’s starting weakside linebacker, was punished for using foul language when he was jawing with Colorado receiver Paul Richardson.
“I didn’t even say anything that bad,” a smiling Flowers said this week. “I promise, it wasn’t that bad. He was saying the same stuff to me.”
Either way, Flowers got flagged. UA coach Rich Rodriguez said it was a first for him to see a player called out for cursing.
Flowers finished with six tackles — one for a loss — against Colorado and has 43 tackles on the season.
We caught up with him this week.
What’s been the biggest reason for the improvement by the UA’s defense this year?
A: “I think you have to give credit to the back end and the guys that put in work in the offseason. They’ve been listening to the coaches and have been learning the scheme a little bit better. There’s still room for improvement. I think the whole defense was tired of hearing about last year. It wasn’t just the back-end guys. Everybody had a chip on their shoulder. Everybody went to work.
“We’re improving and we still have a long ways to go, but we’re getting better every week and I think that’s important.”
How important is it to improve the pass rush as the season progresses?
A: “That’s a big thing. There’s a lot of good quarterbacks in the Pac-12, but when the quarterback has some pressure in his face, they have a tendency to make some mistakes and that’s why I tell the back-end guys that if we don’t get enough pressure then I’ll go back there and apologize, especially if I’m on a blitz. That’s all I want to do is get pressure on the quarterback because then you don’t know what can happen, he could throw it up to one of our guys.”
What’s the biggest key to getting a road win today?
A: “We have to come out and play our football. We can’t fall into what their record is because they’re way better than that and they have athletes and their offense is really good. They can make things happen. We just have to come ready to play and keep playing the way we have and keep improving.”