The Arizona Wildcats football team shined offensively during their second scrimmage of the season…and that’s not a good thing.
The offense was impressive once again, despite missing a handful of starters, most notably, junior quarterback, Nick Foles. Foles sat out of Saturday’s scrimmage at Buena High School in Sierra Vista with a groin strain. Have no fear Wildcat fans, the day off was considered a precautionary measure. He has since returned to practice.
Back-up signal callers, junior Matt Scott and sophomore Bryson Beirne, each tossed a pair of touchdowns on their way to completing more than 70 percent of their passes. Good news for the depth on offense, bad news for a defense trying to replace seven starters this season.
The wide receiving core still hasn’t missed a beat since senior Delashaun Dean’s arrest-transfer in late June. Nine wide outs recorded at least one catch, six hauled in two or more. Three players pulled down four or more grabs.
(Jr.) David Douglas 6-78-TD
(Jr.) David Roberts 4-48
(Sr.) Travis Cobb 4-38
The growing pains continued for Arizona’s defense over the weekend. Sure they can’t go all out but even without Foles under center, the unit failed to record a turnover and gave up 367 passing yards and four scores through the air. That’s never good, especially when three starting offensive linemen were watching from the sideline, including guards Vaughn Dotsy, Conan Amituanai and tackle Phillip Garcia.
The lack of pass break-ups (2) and sacks (3) combined with bad open-field tackling is not a good sign. The Pac-10 has some of the nation’s top playmakers (Jack Locker, Andrew Luck, the Rodgers brothers). Arizona can’t afford breakdowns this season.
Stoops initial reaction after practice, “Defensively we just have to get better. We’re young in some areas. We’re still not sure of ourselves and that translates to not playing fast like we should. Too many busted assignments, we need to get a lot better defensively. We’ve got a-ways-to-go and have about three weeks to do it.”
You better believe the co-coordinators (Greg Brown, Tim Kish) and Stoops will get the defense figured out. It’s just a question of which approach to take. Is the answer a tweaking of schemes and depth chart in an attempt to clean things up or are more reps and familiarity for all the fresh faces the way to go?
The Wildcats are one defensive injury away from hitting the panic button.
On a positive note, the unproven run-stop appears to be coming together. The defense held the offense to just 88 yards on 24 carries (3.6 yards per). Not bad for a ‘don’t hurt your teammates’ scrimmage. Although, those numbers may be slightly skewed considering the Wildcats lone fullback, Taimi Tutogi has been out since last week with a sprained left ankle.
Arizona better hope they can return to last year’s top 25 form before Iowa comes to town in week three.
Kicker, Alex Zendejas, connected on everything that left his foot. A good sign after going 2/4 in last week’s scrimmage.