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UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, who leads the Pac-12 with 1.62 tackles for lost yardage a game, offered his analysis on the Pac-12 Networks this week for what it will take to stop Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey. Barr talked about filling the gaps and staying assignment specific.
“It’s going to be tough any time face a running back like Ka’Deem,” Barr told studio host Michael Yam. “It’s going to take a full team effort to slow him down, and I think you do that by playing the gaps and trust the guy next to you.
“A lot of times guys try to make plays that maybe aren’t theirs. You usually want to feed the play to the inside linebacker who’s Eric Kendricks or Jordan Zumwalt, guys who can fill those holes. So I think if we play our gaps and let those guys make those tackles, we’ll be able to limit (Carey).”
On what it will be like to match his skillset as one of the best defenders in the nation against the nation’s top running back:
“These are the games you want to play against big-time opponents and big-time playerrs. It’s going to be a great challenge for not only myself but the entire defense. We get up for these types of games because of the ability he possesses and the ability he has to get loose at any moment. It’s pretty fun.”
On challenge of defending multi-threat B.J. Denker:
“He’s been great for them in both aspects, running and passing. He’s had some success rolling out to his left where he’s more comfortable throwing the football that way. So that’s going to be something we have to focus on, limiting him in his rollout situations. And also in the quarterback zone-read, he’s been awesome for them in that he’s their leading rusher in the red zone. He’s their leading rusher in terms of touchdowns. We’ll have to try to keep him in the pocket and make him throw those deep passes.”
On what it will be like playing at Arizona Stadium:
“Unfortunately, I have never played in Tucson. The one time that we did while I was here I was injured (in 2011, when Arizona won 48-12). I heard it gets pretty crazy down there. Those are the environments I think I thrive in. I like it when the crowd is roaring and talking to us. It gets us fired up a little more.”
Pac-12 football analyst Rick Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback and coach, said the key to limiting Arizona’s offense starts with Carey and extends to shadowing Denker on every play.
“I think any time you play Arizona you have to stop Ka’Deem Carey. Everything will start there. You’ve gotta take away No. 25. You saw California do that. And when they do it, you can limit Ka’Deem to three or four yards a carry and call that a win. But then you have to stop B.J. Denker. The only way you do that in that read offense is to make sure you assign somebody to him. If that somebody is not good enough, you are in harm’s way.”
Neuheisel added that UCLA has the athletes with its linebackers and safeties to master that task against Denker and force the quarterback to throw deep.