Tuesday, August 24, 2010
PAC 10 2010-Arizona Wildcats
2009 Record: 8-5 (6-3)
Head Coach: Mike Stoops (7th season, 33-39)
Offensive Coordinator: Seth Littrell (1st season) and Bill Bedenbaugh (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Tim Kish (1st season) and Greg Brown (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl, lost to Nebraska 33-0
Offense: 9 starters return on a unit that made incredible strides last season, until the bowl game. Nick Foles returns at QB , but he has some push coming from Matt Scott, who is considered to be a better run/pass package. Both may play as a switch up package. Nic Grigsby returns at TB, but he has to stay on the field, as injuries derailed him at times last seaosn. There is crazy depth at the RB spot, and it also has a variety of types of backs for different looks, big and small. WR Juron Criner had a big spring and will lead the WR corps. 4 starters return on the line.
Defense: Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed return at the DE spots, but there are new bodies at DT, including JC transfer Willie Mobley. There is plenty of size and athleticism in the middle, but not a ton of experience. Nobody returns to start at LB, but the cats went the JC route in bringing in Paul Vassallo and Derek Earls, and both expect to start. Cb Trevin Wade will be a pre season AA, and Robert Golden returns at SS, but both of the other secondary spots are open.
Special Teams: Alex Zendejas is back at PK, but you can't depend on him from long range. If you have him from inside of 35 yards, he's automatic. Keenan Cryer is back at punter, but his average dropped almost 2 yards per punt in 2009 from 2008.
Wins: 9/3 @ Toledo, 9/11 Citadel, 10/16 @ Washington State, 12/2 Arizona State
Toss Up Games: 9/25 California, 10/9 Oregon State, 10/23 Washington, 10/30 @ UCLA, 11/6 Stanford, 11/13 USC
Losses: 9/18 Iowa, 11/26 @ Oregon
The schedule is not a bad one, but there are two major losses coming against Iowa and Oregon. The Wildcats should be embarrassed to have Citadel on the schedule. The toss games are loaded with traps along the way, but Arizona could post as many as 10 wins, with somewhere around 8 being realistic.
Outlook: Mike Stoops finally got Arizona over a hump of sorts last seaosn, but the bowl game was an ugly joke. There is still much work to be done, and the Cats cannot rest on their laurels in 2010. The PAC-10 is winnable for anyone who can show some teeth this season, so now is the time to be aggressive, and if they fail badly, than Stoops could wind up right back on the hot seat with his overall record dragging him down.