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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona Wildcats football guide: Offense and Defense 101

Zach Rosenbaltt / Arizona Daily Wildcat Football coach Rich Rodriguez addresses the press during a regular spring practice on Wednesday.

3-3-5 defense

The 3-3-5 “odd stack” that defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel is relocating from West Virginia will give Arizona a very unique and distinctive look on defense. Last season the Wildcats ran the commonly-used 4-3 defense (four defensive linemen, three linebackers, two corners and two safeties). Now, Casteel is taking one of the linemen and switching him with a safety, then lining up the linebackers behind the linemen, hence the stack. This gives the Wildcats more speed on the field, which is a necessity in the Pac-12. Because of the added defensive back, the safety roles have been modified. Casteel implements a spur (a hybrid outside linebacker), a bandit (more of a coverage role) and then the typical free safety. Tra’Mayne Bondurant will start at the spur, while Jared Tevis will play the bandit.

The additional speed on the field allows for different blitz packages, creating more confusion, but it also makes the unit smaller as a whole.

Kyle Johnson

Spread option offense

The spread-option offense is a variation on the more traditional spread offense, which is typically pass-oriented and has the quarterback in the shotgun formation. The spread offense, which the UA ran under Mike Stoops, involves spreading the field horizontally using 3, 4 and sometimes 5-receiver sets.

The spread option, which Arizona will run under head coach Rich Rodriguez, will focus on running the ball more and will typically have Matt Scott running out of a shotgun in a 3-to-5 receiver set. Scott will either hand the ball off, fake the hand-off and run himself or throw to the receivers within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage or deeper down the field. The mobility of quarterbacks like Scott, Michigan’s Denard Robinson and former West Virginia quarterback Pat White make them perfect fits for the system because of the need for the quarterback to carry the ball himself more often than not. Rodriguez also likes to run a no-huddle offense, which often calls for smaller, more athletic offensive lineman because of the fast pace.

— Zack Rosenblatt

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