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Arizona Football: Jeff Casteel Has Reinvented Desert Swarm

Arizona Wildcats defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel has his limited defense doing the most with the least.

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

How would you describe the Arizona defense? They seem to give up a lot of yards, but they also manage to produce plenty of good results.

Adam Butler, Pac Hoops & Pacific Takes: Leantastic. I use lean as somewhat of a pun as their efficient with what they do and they accomplish; but this is also a group that has some terrific pieces but is really thin. Additionally, they're learning. The offensive pieces Stoops left over had at least a semblance of this offense. The defense? Totally different story with the implementation of Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5.

Kyle Kensing, Arizona Desert Swarm: Heart is the one word I'd use to summarize the defense. There's zero depth, but a lot of guys have stepped up playing new roles, playing for the first time, etc. Consider Taimi Tutogi, someone who was an emerging asset at H-back who converted to defensive end. He's been a leader on the pass rush. Marquis Flowers and Tra'Mayne Bondurant are a little bit safety, a little bit linebacker. Jared Tevis is all over the field and maybe the defensive MVP (it's between Tevis and Fishcer) -- not bad for a walk-on Mike Stoops couldn't figure out how to use.

Kevin Zimmerman, Arizona Desert Swarm: They're small, in great shape and well-coached. The talent is spotty, and I think Jeff Casteel's mission to go with speed is a good way to make up for that. But whatever what you pitch it, the guys are making the most of their abilities. There aren't too many plays -- like last year -- where you can't understand why a player didn't make a tackle. Credit must go to the strength program and also the coaches putting the players in the right positions.

Scott Coleman, SB Nation Arizona: This year's defense is so young and inexperienced that it's tough to really get too frustrated when they struggle. A national pundit called them "scrappy" the other day, and I think that's a pretty fair assessment. They are undersized at nearly every position and don't have the depth to properly run the 3-3-5 stack scheme. There have been some ugly moments for sure, but they really shined last week against Washington.