First Quarter Offensive Grades

Arizona is four games into the season and the offense has played well for the most part. Read on to see how we grade each unit of the offense and why.

Quarterback

It’s tempting to grade on somewhat of a curve because Anu Solomon is a freshman, but he has been so impressive in the first four games of the season that we don’t really need to. If we would have told you Solomon was going to have completed 63 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and three interceptions and an average of 363.5 yards per game, you probably would have taken it.

Sure, he has had his struggles. He was downright bad at times against UTSA and played poorly for a half against California. However, people are quick to forget that even though he is a redshirt freshman, there’s still no experience beyond what Solomon has seen so far.

The key here is that Solomon has played well enough to win and Arizona is undefeated for the first four games of the season. There’s a ton of room for growth and that is something that coaches dream of in terms of being able develop players. Again, Anu has struggled at times, but he deserves a ton of credit for where Arizona is at now.

Grade: A-



Running backs

I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so. Nick Wilson has come in and automatically become one of the best backs in the conference, if not the country. Now, I have to admit that even I didn't think that Wilson would be averaging 6.3 yards per carry for 487 yards and four touchdowns, but this system is as good as it gets for a top notch running back.

We obviously have questions as to how well he will do against the better competition, due in large part to the fact that he did not put up numbers against Cal. He may have wound up with a more respectable day if he had not gotten hurt, but again, he is freshman and his numbers are some of the best in the country.

Wilson has not done it alone though, as Terris Jones-Grigsby missed two games and still has 18 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns. His performance against California is going to be overlooked because of the late game heroics, but he had 5 carries for 28 yards and a huge score. Without him, it’s possible Arizona does not win the game.

With Wilson and Jones-Grigsby, Arizona has two running backs it can win with and while neither is Ka’Deem Carey, the run game has been more successful than even the coaches likely thought it would be at this point of the season.

Grade: A



Wide Receivers

This seems to be a no-brainer. You can argue that Arizona has the best receiver in the conference in Cayleb Jones, who currently has 29 grabs for 475 yards and six touchdowns. Of those 29 catches, 20 have gone for a touchdown or first down. Cal tried to stop him in single coverage and Solomon kept going back to him with success.

In addition to Jones, Austin Hill survived two medicare games to remain second on Arizona in receiving with 15 catches for 263 yards and three touchdowns, including the miracle against Cal.

The second best receiver Arizona currently has is Samajie Grant, who has 14 catches for 205 yards and a score in three games.

You get the picture.

The Wildcats have five receivers with ten catches or more and that probably extends to eight players after the next game. The receivers are probably exactly what we thought they were going to be and it’s made Solomon’s job much easier.

Grade: A



Offensive Line

The line had generally done well until the game against California when it was apparent that it was the weakness for at least one night. The streak of individual 100-yard rushing games ended because the line couldn’t get any push until late in the game.

Solomon also found himself scrambling numerous times because pass protection completely broke down and he had no choice.

The overall rushing and plays for loss numbers are fine and it is difficult to criticize the offensive line too much, but Jim Michalczik isn’t lying when he says it still has plenty to clean up before he considers it to be playing well.

Grade: B


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