Thoughts, numbers and opinions

Just some stuff to think about on a Thursday afternoon. I'm touching on a little hoop a little football today. Just throwing out some stats, some numbers and some opinions.

Mike Stoops is not, and will not, name a starting quarterback until game time. It is a nice bit of gamesmanship but will it make any difference? By not naming a starter Stoops has ensured that WSU coaches have to watch a little bit more film. While it is always good to add a little more work or confusion, it does not make too much more work because Adam Austin and Willie Tuitama are not all that different. Tuitama has a stronger arm, but Austin is a tad more mobile in the pocket. If anything, using wide receives in the backfield each of the last two games would create more work because they give you a totally different look.

The Wildcats have gotten teams on their best days, or at least coming off good wins. Of their eight opponents, five were coming off wins. BYU was the opening game, but their last game was a bowl loss to Cal. Stanford and Stephen F. Austin were coming off of loses, but Stanford was actually coming off of one of the best games of the season, the 31-10 loss to Notre Dame. The rest of the teams were coming off of wins. USC, LSU and UW had two game win streaks. Interestingly enough, two of the five teams went on skids right after playing Arizona. Both UW and UCLA came in on winning streaks, but have not won since. Both of those teams also lost their quarterbacks. UCLA lost Ben Olson in the Arizona game, while UW lost Isaiah Stanback the next week.

Arizona has indeed been a bad rushing team, but the numbers are just a tad misleading. The Wildcats average a miserable 71 yards per game, but that includes sacks. Take out sacks and the Cats actually average 97 yards per game. However, if you take Stephen F. Austin and Stanford out of the equation, the Cats average just 48 yards per game AND THAT IS BEFORE FACTORING THE SACKS BACK IN. Over half of the Wildcats rushing yards came against those two terrible defenses.

The basketball team has been using fairly traditional line-ups for the most part during the preseason, but one has to wonder how often they may go small. The team studied the Phoenix Suns over the summer and there seems to be some interest in mimicking the tempo. After two nights of watching the Suns it is apparent that they prefer to go with smaller PF in an effort to run. With tall wings, the Cats could easily slide Marcus Williams, Chase Budinger or Fendi Onobun to the four and not lose a ton of height. They may lose some bulk, but may not be affected to much on the boards because of athleticism.

I love ESPN, but sometimes they just get it wrong. All during the preseason they kept listing Willie Tuitama as a running quarterback. While he certainly likes to roll out, no one would confuse him with Michael Vick. Now they keep listing Budinger as a big. In both their on-line edition and in the Magazine they talk about Budinger playing down low. While the freshman could steal minutes at the four if the Cats go small, he is clearly a perimeter player. He can actually play any of the three backcourt positions if needed. I'm not sure if I have seen a player get misrepresented as much as Chase. Throughout his recruitment he kept getting compared to players who were not athletic. Anyone who saw Budinger in the McKale Madness slam dunk contest can attest to the fact that Chase is an athlete.

Nic Wise may not be an instant impact guy this season, but he will likely be one of the most popular players to come through the program in the past few years. He's short, aggressive and quick. The kid has a great attitude and wanted to be a Wildcat.

If the season ended today, the Wildcats would not be well represented on the All-Pac-10 team. Spencer Larsen is probably the only player with a legitimate shot at the first team. Antoine Cason looks like a second teamer. Guys like Louis Holmes, Yaniv Barnett, Nick Folk and Syndric Steptoe should make the Honorable Mention list.

One thing you can't ignore with the offense is the lack of production from Mike Thomas. He's got 34 catches for just 378 yards, but has yet to make a really big play. Last year he averaged almost 15 yards a catch and had five scores. This year he's barely getting 11 yards a catch, has scored just once and his biggest play is just 31 yards.

The Cats just don't spread the ball around on offense. Thomas and Steptoe have caught 51% of the Wildcats' passes and have 56% of the receiving yards.

If you like football and good drama make sure you watch "Friday Night Lights" on NBC. The show gets about half the audience of Dancing with the B-List Celebrities, but is really good. While you are at it, watch "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip". Another really well done show. In this day and age of crappy television for idiots, these two shows are smart, funny and compelling.

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