Arizona held a scrimmage in Glendale on Saturday. Read on for a closer look at who stood out, who did not, and more.
The scrimmage went how we thought it would be for the most part, as it was ugly at times, but also showed some potential. The pace was much faster than we have seen in the past, but the general consensus after the scrimmage is that it still was not nearly fast enough. We expect the coaching staff and players to really work on this and would be surprised if the pace is not considerably faster by the time the next scrimmage comes along.
The offensive line definitely could have been better, but Lene Maiava and Jacob Arzouman did a decent job at tackle. There were times in which there were decent holes and the running backs missed, but the reality is that there needs to be bigger holes on a more consistent basis. It is hard to be too down on the offensive line because there is so much time to grow but, like most of the team on Saturday, it had its bright spots.
The pecking order for running backs seemed to be difficult to pick out, but Kylan Butler, Ka'Deem Carey, and Daniel Jenkins were all competing for the top spot. Jared Baker is last in that order and did not do anything to really separate himself or make us believe that he moved up. Jenkins was pretty average until he had a 51-yard touchdown run and the most impressive back was probably Butler. Butler has a place in this offense because he is a smaller back and although he was not spectacular, he showed glimpses of major potential and we would be surprised if he did not play much more than he has in the past at Arizona.
Matt Scott did just fine, finishing with about 150 yards and two touchdowns. There was a holding penalty that would have given him another 50 yards and a touchdown, but it seemed apparent that Scott is the best option behind center. Richard Morrison tweaked something and Rodriguez seemed frustrated, telling Morrison that he was done for the day. In terms of backups, Alex Cappellini was better than Tyler D'Amore, but neither to the point of being comfortable. Our guess is that Javelle Allen will come in as a freshman and have a good chance of being the second quarterback on the roster.
Kicking was a huge problem on Saturday, as it seemed that the kickers missed half of their attempts, whether it was field goals or extra points. In fairness, the field goal drill is a bit of a rush, as the coaches make the kicker and linemen run from one spot to another and kick. Still, it is going to continue to be a major concern until we see otherwise.
Arizona had major struggles in the redzone under Mike Stoops and that seems more likely than not to go away with this new offense. When Arizona got close, it scored and when it ran the overtime drill, the offense converted more often than not. This offense is built to be successful and whether it was Butler or Taimi Tutogi, Arizona had no problem getting some push and getting the ball in the end zone. It will be interesting to see if this can continue against a different team, but it was a positive sign this early in the spring.
Tyler Slavin and Austin Hill stood out as receivers, with Dan Buckner making a grab or two. Arizona went deep a few times and the receivers did a good job of making plays. While this is definitely a run-based offense, Arizona has the receivers to extend the field and open things up for the running game.