All eyes on defense for Wildcats first big test of 2013

Arizona Sports News online

The Arizona Wildcats have skated through the first three games on their schedule as expected.

But now begins conference play and a tough conference road game at that.

The Washington Huskies have been off to a sizzling start this season including a statement win over then ranked Boise State at home for their season opener. With the Wildcats traveling to Seattle this weekend, the importance is self-explanatory.

“They all know how important this one is and obviously, conference play begins,” said Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez. “It’s a great challenge for us, up there in a tough environment against a very good team. We have to have a good week in practice. I told our players that we need our best week of practice. Hopefully, we will do all that starting tomorrow.”

Leading the way for the Huskies on offense is their quarterback Keith Price who is in his third season now running the show for them under center and is off to a great start in 2013 with 879 yards passing, seven touchdowns and just one interception through three games. All eyes will be on Arizona’s SWAT defense being able to contain Price in this game.

“It will put pressure on Keith Price,” explained Arizona linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson. “We need to get him rattled in the pocket and get him to scramble, so we can force him to turn over the ball. SWAT helps out the defense a lot.”

“Mobile and athletic quarterbacks, any coach will tell you, that they are tough to go against,” said Rodriguez. “Keith Price will make plays on schedule, but he will make the unscheduled ones, too. He will extend the play, so you have to be disciplined in your coverage downfield and you have to keep it contained. Here’s a quarterback who has started for at least three years, the guy has played a lot of football; he’s very talented. He’s comfortable with what they’re doing now.”

Last season, the Wildcats defense handled the Huskies offense with relative ease. Price  struggled to get into a rhythm and threw two interceptions in the game with resulted in a 52-17 Wildcats win in Tucson.

“We got after the quarterback,” Jackson mentioned. “He had an interception, and Marquis Flowers forced a fumble last year. We just have to get after him, he’s the leader of that team, and if we get after him, we will affect them all.”

You can check out more of the Wildcats defensive perspective with Arizona Wildcats defensive tackle Tevin Hood who was a guest on the ‘Brad Cesmat Show’ on Tuesday. Listen to the full interview here.

The Wildcats have had eight takeaways in just three games so far and will look to continue that turnover rate this Saturday. Kick off between them and Washington from Husky Stadium is at 7:00 pm on Fox.

A born and bred Arizonan, Jared has had great passion for the hometown teams all his life. He now channel's that passion into covering the pro, college and high school teams around the state as a Multimedia Reporter for Sports360AZ.