Spring Viewing Guide: Offense

Spring drills begin for the Wildcats on Wednesday. While the team returns a host of starters, there are still some great battles and some new players trying to win jobs. We take a look at the offense first.

What To Watch: This is Willie Tuitama's team, so there won't be much of a controversy or a battle. The big thing is how quickly the quarterbacks adjust to the new offense. All of the players are learning the system, but no position is more vital to implementing the spread than the quarterback.

All Eyes Are On: Willie Tuitama With last year's concussion issues and the recent legal issue, a lot have to wonder how Tuitama will respond. Add to that the new offense and a lot of folks will be watching the junior quarterback.

The Pressure Is On: Tyler Lyon I am not sure anyone has too much pressure on this spring. Lyon was recruited by the old offensive staff, and he has not been handed the No. 2 job, but will have to battle Kris Heavner to back up Tuitama. You have to wonder what his future will be if he can't lock up the No. 2 spot.

Name To Learn: Jimmy Bevell He may be a walk-on, but he has a great lineage. He may be rusty after taking his LDS Mission, but he could be the next walk-on QB to earn a scholarship.

What To Watch: No one has the job. Chris Henry is gone and there is a battle for the starting running back job. Right now it seems to be between Chris Jennings and Xavier Smith, the Cats will be auditioning any and all candidates for the job.

All Eyes Are On: Xavier Smith We've heard for two years how impressive Smith has been in practice. Players and coaches have raved about the Sunnyside product, but he was the third stringer a year ago. He did average over five yards a carry, but had some issues in the passing game and playing well in the passing game will be vital in the spread offense.

The Pressure Is On: Terry Longbons The sophomore has had a hard luck start to his college career. He suffered an injury his senior year in high school and followed that up with a shoulder injury his first year in the program. He came in with a lot of hype out of the Centennial High School in the Phoenix area, but so far he does not have a collegiate carry. With two talented freshmen coming in, it may be now or never for Longbons.

Name To Learn: Glyndon Bolasky Many overlooked the Tucson product in the 2006 recruiting class, but he had a very solid fall camp. He was slated to redshirt and wound up hurting his knee, but if he can build on last fall's performance he could be a factor.

What To Watch: Take Mike Thomas out of the equation and everyone is fighting for a job. The position is more wide open than the offense will be.

All Eyes Are On: Three Amigos Arizona brought in three highly touted receivers last year and they did not have a huge impact. Terrell Reese and Delashaun Dean redshirted and Terrell Turner saw limited action. The three will now get their chance to shine, though Dean may be limited this spring.

The Pressure Is On: B.J. Dennard Dennard has had a rocky career. He played two positions for his first two seasons, and mastered neither. Last year he moved to receiver full time. He had a tough fumble against LSU and briefly left the team before being injured after his return. This is his last shot to make an impact as a Wildcat.

Name To Learn: Delashaun Dean He may be limited this spring, but he's clearly a kid to pay attention to. As much potential as Reese and Turner have, Dean may have the most potential.

What To Watch: Just how will the Wildcats be using the tight end? No one is quite sure what the Arizona version of the spread will look like and how they will use the position. All indications are that the Cats will resemble BYU to some extent and the Cougars certainly used the position.

All Eyes Are On: Travis Bell Bell was a favorite target of Tuitama two years ago, but injuries really slowed him last season. He should be healthy and ready to contribute.

The Pressure Is On: Brandyn McCall The lasting impression for many is of McCall dropping a sure touchdown against Cal last season. With fullback Earl Mitchell being a pass catching threat and big time recruit Rob Gronkowski joining the team in the fall, McCall will have to prove that he can be a top pass catching option in this offense.

What To Watch: New offense, new coach and a new philosophy. The splits will be wider, the emphasis will be altered. Although the unit was relatively good at pass protection last year, when there was a breakdown it usually meant Willie Tuitama was getting hurt. They'll have to do a better job protecting him and setting up the run.

All Eyes Are On: Daniel Borg Borg was in and out of the line-up last year and played pretty well. Fellow freshmen Eben Britton and Blake Kerley started every game and Borg will get a chance to join them with a good spring.

The Pressure Is On: Pete Graniello Graniello was a freshman All-American three years ago but has failed to become a full blown star. He has been a solid starter but has never been more than an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection. He has one more chance in his senior year.

Name To Learn: Conan Amituanai Amituanai came to Arizona as a TE/DT but was moved to the offensive line after the season. Although he traveled with the team on several occasions, he preserved his redshirt and will battle with several other redshirt freshmen in an attempt to unseat older players.

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