The offensive side of the ball should prove to be the strength of the Arizona football squad in 2011. After all – aside from an inexperienced offensive line – the majority of the contributors from the Wildcats' offense return from a season ago.
A couple of positions that should be more of a factor in the upcoming football season are fullback and tight end. Generally those two positions tend to be afterthoughts at times for the UA offense, but with the athletes that stand at those positions, it's hard to see them not making a more sizable impact in some fashion in 2011.
The tight end position has been seemingly looked over by Arizona since Rob Gronkowski last stepped on the field. Granted, UA hasn't had anyone quite on the level of Gronkowski at the position, but there is at least one player that could develop into a force if he continues to develop.
Jack Baucus is a player that seems to make positive things happen whenever he steps foot onto the field. Last year as a redshirt freshman, Baucus caught only four passes for 22 yards and a touchdown, but his big frame makes him a large target for Nick Foles to utilize over the middle and his blocking is exceptional for a tight end.
Baucus' blocking provides a little assistance to the inexperienced linemen in running and short-yardage situations. Given his ability to help as both a receiver and a blocker, expect Baucus' workload to increase significantly as a sophomore.
Arizona also brought in a couple of players that could potentially relieve Baucus as well. Drew Robinson is another big target who could be utilized in Arizona's offense. At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Robinson already has the size necessary to compete at the Pac-12 level and if he proves enough in offseason practices and camps, he could see the field early in the season.
Michael Cooper, who is also a defensive end, played tight end in high school as well. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, he also has the frame to play the position at the Pac-12 level, but with the uncertainty at defensive end, Cooper may or may not factor in at tight end depending on how the rest of the players at the position progress throughout the course of the offseason.
At fullback / H-Back there are a couple of players that could factor in.
Taimi Tutogi returns in hopes of making the type of impact many thought he would make as a sophomore after having a very impressive offseason a year ago. Tutogi had somewhat of a disappointing season as he only carried the ball one time and caught a mere five passes.
Tutogi struggled more once the games mattered, but the hope is that he has put his shortcomings behind him and is ready to make a much bigger impact in 2011. If he is able to produce on the level many had hoped he would in 2010, the UA offense will receive a tremendous boost.
Moving from the quarterback position to H-back is Ross Oltorik. A season ago, Oltorik sat out after transferring from Ohio State and was originally brought in to provide depth at the quarterback position. That depth was no longer needed when Daxx Garman arrived a semester early and Tom Savage announced he was transferring to Arizona from Rutgers. Those moves allowed Otorik to move positions.
At 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, Oltorik has the mass to be a solid blocker at the Pac-12 level, but his play during practice will determine just how much of an impact he can make once the season begins.
Neither of these positions have been highlighted much in the UA spread offense since the departure of the Gronkowski brothers, but with the talent at both tight end and fullback / H-back, it wouldn't be a surprise to see both positions implemented a bit more in the upcoming campaign.
The more players quarterback Nick Foles can get involved the better and if players such as Baucus and Tutogi step up, the Wildcats' offense could be even more deadly.
Evaluating the Roster: H-Back, Fullback, TE
Wildcat Authority Top Stories
Updated Scout 300 Trend Meter For 2017The updated Scout 300 Trend Meter for the 2017 class takes a look at which schools are trending for each uncommitted member in the Scout 300.
Scout Football5:40 AM
10/24 Notebook: UA Prepping for StanfordRich Rodriguez discusses personnel changes, the bye week, and more.
Wildcat AuthorityYesterday at 6:27 PM
Arizona focusing on Christian McCaffreyIn order to defeat Stanford, Arizona will need to contain Christian McCaffrey. Read on to see what Rich Rodriguez has to say about Stanford's star running back and more.
Wildcat AuthorityYesterday at 6:14 PM
By the Numbers: Arizona vs. StanfordArizona will face Stanford for Homecoming. Read on to find out more about the two teams statistically.
Wildcat AuthoritySunday at 3:12 PM