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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Three ways to win, three ways to lose: Arizona vs. Oregon State

The+defensive+line+prepares+for+a+play+from+UCLA+at+Arizona+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+26.+The+Wildcats+were+defeated+by+the+Bruins+56-30.

The defensive line prepares for a play from UCLA at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 26. The Wildcats were defeated by the Bruins 56-30.

Three ways to win

Anu Solomon must produce

Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon will return this weekend from a concussion he suffered in the first half of the game against UCLA. He then watched the rest of the game from the locker room and was out against Stanford.

Solomon’s absence revealed his true talents last week against the Cardinal, but Solomon could finally get the squad back on track this week.

The passing game has been missing in action the previous two weeks with Jerrard Randall behind center, so with Arizona returning to a two dimensional offense with Solomon’s arm and Nick Wilson’s feet, the Wildcats should be fine during Family Weekend.

Defensive backs exceed recent performance

Arizona defensive backs have received a bad rap this season, as expected considering the new batch of role players besides safety Will Parks.

Arizona’s defense has surrendered 111 points the previous two games and is No. 116 in the country in total team defense.

Oregon State is a pass first team behind true freshman quarterback Seth Collins; the Beavers will put Arizona’s defensive backs on skates. It’s up to DaVonte’ Neal, Will Parks, Cam Denson and company to handle their business.

Reggie Gilbert has a break out game

All-American linebacker Scooby Wright III was the only form of pass rush before tearing a lateral meniscus in his left knee and spraining his right foot.

As soon as the Heisman hopeful went down, the fingers for pass rush were pointed right to fifth-year senior defensive end, Reggie Gilbert. He stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 260 pounds.

With size like that and his ability to use speed, getting to Seth Collins shouldn’t be an issue. This is the first quarterback with a set of wheels Arizona has faced this season, so Gilbert’s size and speed should contain the true freshman.


Three ways to lose

Giving up too many points

Unless it’s Texas Tech, TCU or Baylor, a team will not win if the defense gives up more than 50 points.

If Arizona lets the Beavers’ offense get rolling, then Oregon State will continue to score. Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez thrives on offense and the offensive side of the ball will handle its business, but the biggest concern lies on defense. Arizona must force turnovers and produce them early.

If not, thousands of parents in Tucson for Family Weekend will leave disappointed.

Giving Randall the cold shoulder

Backup quarterback Jerrard Randall is a key component in Arizona’s spread offense. Randall and Nick Wilson were constantly compared to Steve Slaton and Pat White, but now Anu Solomon is back in the mix.

With Solomon starting for Arizona, what’s going to happen to Randall? If the “Wildcat” offense can make an appearance with Randall taking a direct snap and running straight off the tackles’ hip and switching to fifth gear for a touchdown, it could be the difference maker.

Rodriguez will try to utilize Solomon as much as he can, but not using Randall for a few packages could result in a loss.

Skowron’s kicking struggles

Arizona kicker Casey Skowron went through the worst possible week after missing the game-winning field goal last season when the Wildcats hosted USC.

It’s been a year since his infamous miss and if Skowron falls into the bad habits of last season, the Beavers might be the ones jumping for joy. However, if Arizona’s offense can bail out Skowron by actually scoring the ball, then it shouldn’t be an issue. Regardless, if Skowron is kicking, Arizona fans should be biting their nails.


Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.


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