Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats reach most defensive starters — 21 — in season under Rodriguez


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NUMBER OF ARIZONA DEFENSIVE
STARTERS IN RODRIGUEZ ERA

Research by AllSportsTucson.com. Information provided by Arizona media relations.
*At least six games remaining
[table “” not found /]

The first career start Saturday of junior college transfer Paul Magloire at weakside linebacker and the first start of the season for cornerback Jarvis McCall Jr. against Oregon State means Arizona has reached the highest number of defensive starters — 21 — in a season under Rich Rodriguez.

Rodriguez still has at least six more games to coach in his fourth year at Arizona. The previous high number was 20 in 2012, his first season. The Wildcats used 19 different players as starters last year in the Pac-12 South title season.

The lowest number is 14 in 2013 when five players started the entire season — DE Sione Tuihalamaka, DT Reggie Gilbert, WLB Marquis Flowers, CB Shaquille Richardson, CB Jonathon McKnight and FS Jourdon Grandon. Three other players that season started all but one game — NT Tevin Hood, SLB Scooby Wright and SS Tremayne Bondurant.

This year’s defense lacks that kind of stability.

The starts of Magloire and McCall on Saturday were predicated by injuries at the linebacker and cornerback positions.

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Magloire’s move from reserve “spur” safety to starting weakside linebacker was a result of the shuffling of the defensive lineup with middle linebackers Scooby Wright, Cody Ippolito and Haden Gregory out with injuries.

Derrick Turituri, Arizona’s regular starting strongside linebacker, missed his second straight game with an injury.

Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel shifted Jake Matthews from the weakside linebacker spot to the middle, making room for Magloire. Casteel and Rodriguez decided to give Magloire a try after senior Sir Thomas Jackson and redshirt freshman walk-on Tre Tyler started previously this season.

DaVonte’ Neal, who started the first five games at cornerback, did not suit up because of a reported hamstring injury. That paved the way for McCall to make his first start after starting 12 games last year.

Magloire, 6’1″ and 210 pounds, made the most of his first start, leading Arizona with nine tackles after entering the game with only eight. Two of his tackles were for lost yardage.

“We were just trying to get our best athletes on the field,” Arizona assistant coach Matt Caponi was quoted as saying at ArizonaWildcats.com. “He’s a physical kid, can separate from blocks and put himself into positions to make plays just by studying film and getting the reps there in practice.”

Jackson (6’0″ and 222 pounds) started at Stanford last week, his first start since starting 12 games in 2012.

Four players on defense have made their first career start this season including Tyler, Magloire, Gregory and strongside linebacker R.J. Morgan. Eight of the 21 defensive starters have started only once this season.

Despite the defense continuing to be influx, the Wildcats held Oregon State to 249 yards in total offense. The Beavers had 386 yards against a stout Stanford defense two weeks ago in a 42-24 loss at home.

The Beavers had a week off before playing Arizona, which is not afforded that opportunity all season. The Wildcats looked more crisp, including on defense for the first time this season.

2015 ARIZONA’S DEFENSIVE STARTERS
Source: Arizona media relations
*Fuimaono started twice in 2011
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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