Hotshots’ defense delivering big plays
By Jose M. Romero, Arizona Hotshots Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — As the Arizona Hotshots continue to install an offense, the defense is making big play after big play in training camp.
Defensive back Jaleel Wadood, who is making an impression early in camp, intercepted a pass Thursday, as did defensive back Shaquille Richardson and linebackers Ryan Langford and Edmond Robinson.
Robinson’s pick came after teammate Rahim Moore batted a thrown ball up in the air for him to grab. Every turnover was celebrated with gusto, as the defense has set the tone in the early days of practices.
“We need to make plays on defense just like we need to make plays on offense, and playmakers is what we’re looking for,” Hotshots head coach Rick Neuheisel said. “There’s a ton of guys that have done some really cool things so far. But when the ball’s in the air, it’s got to belong to one of the white shirts (defense). But as the head coach who’s spending the time on offense, I need to make sure that I participate in their celebration when they get that turnover.”
While Thursday was the most prolific day of forced turnovers for the defense, the Hotshots defense has been making plays from Day 1. Defensive back Robert Nelson Jr. has two interceptions — and almost a third.
The words “flying around” have been used to describe the action at other teams’ training camps. The Hotshots’ pass coverage is providing its share of highlights, and hasn’t been shy about flaunting its success with all of the good-natured banter between receivers and quarterbacks.
“Us being the defense, we feel like we need to control the tempo in practice and how the game goes,” Wadood said. “So every time we step on that field it’s all tilt. Green light.”