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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona Wildcats football guide: Staff Picks

Go here for links to of all Daily Wildcat football guide content: http://bit.ly/OAjFC3

By: Kyle Johnson

The Wildcats have a lot of exciting things happening as they enter the 2012 season — a new head coach, an inventive defensive scheme, the north end zone project and a fast-paced offense. But the one thing they don’t have is depth or talent in several key areas, especially at linebacker and on the defensive line.

This team has the ability to surprise some people, both with some hidden gems on offense and with their completely new systems.

Still, even if Arizona gets an upset here or there it would be a huge accomplishment for this team to be eligible for a bowl. An experienced offensive line, weapons at the skill positions and quarterback Matt Scott will make the Wildcats competitive in most games, but don’t expect a winning record.

Prediction: 5-7
Bowl Prediction: No Bowl
Offensive MVP: Matt Scott, quarterback
Defensive MVP: Marquis Flowers, linebacker
Impact freshman: Keoni Bush-Loo, linebacker/defensive end
Overrated Player: Shaquille Richardson, cornerback
Underrated Player: Dan Buckner, receiver

By: Zack Rosenblatt

When Rich Rodriguez was hired, there were a lot of good vibes in the air, and a positive feeling toward the football program that Tucson hasn’t seen in a few years. Optimism, unfortunately, doesn’t translate to victories. If I had a nickel for every time Rodriguez told the media how his team was out of shape, I’d have, like, five dollars.

But really, the personnel in place is still adjusting to the new schemes, both offensively and defensively, which is an adjustment period that has always lasted at least two years through Rodriguez’s coaching career. Although, at his previous head coaching stops, Rodriguez never inherited a quarterback like Matt Scott, who fits into his spread option offense like a glove. Armed with Scott, Ka’Deem Carey and an experienced offensive line, the scoreboard will light up for sure.

Prediction: 5-7
Bowl Prediction: No Bowl
Offensive MVP: Ka’Deem Carey, running back
Defensive MVP: Tra’Mayne Bondurant, safety
Impact freshman: Keoni Bush-Loo, linebacker/defensive end
Overrated player: Shaquille Richardson, cornerback
Underrated player: Jonathan McKnight, cornerback

This season, the Wildcats will debut a new offense and defense with a revamped coaching staff.

Fifth-year senior Matt Scott will lead an offense that is sure to excite, as Scott is familiar with the offense, having run a similar version of the spread option in high school. A focus on the run game with a deep running back corps will give the Wildcats a balanced offense.

While the offense will be fast and put up a lot of points, the key to Arizona’s season will be the progression of a defense that was one of the worst in the nation in 2011. A schematic switch from the 4-3 to the 3-3-5 odd-stack will allow Arizona to disguise its blitzes more and should help confuse quarterbacks enough for the Wildcats to improve on their 10 sack total.

Looking at the way the defense played last year and the way the Wildcats stumbled out of the gates to a 1-5 start, this prediction may seem a bit far-fetched. The Wildcats will only go as far as their defense will take them, but an experienced group will be able to make enough stops to allow Matt Scott to put more points on the board.

Prediction: 7-6
Bowl Prediction: Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Offensive MVP: Matt Scott, quarterback
Defensive MVP: Tra’Mayne Bondurant, safety
Impact freshman: J.T. Washington, running back
Overrated Player: Justin Washington, defensive lineman
Underrated Player: Taimi Tutogi, fullback/linebacker

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