Scouting Report: North Texas

The Wildcats are trying to rebound from a thumping at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers. After losing 21-10 in Madison, the Wildcats are looking for some momentum before the Pac-10 season begins. Enter North Texas, a team that is 1-3 and struggling offensively.

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"This game will mean a lot to get things improved," John Mackovic said.

When North Texas has the ball:

To be frank, North Texas is not a good offensive ball club. The Mean Green average just 195 yards a game. They average just 10 points a game, and have scored only 17 points against Division I-A opponents.

Andrew Smith has struggled at quarterback this season. The sophomore signal caller has scuffled all season completing just 39% of his passes. While he has trouble finding the open receiver, Smith has been very good at keeping possession of the ball. He has yet to throw an interception in 61 attempts this season.

Coming into this season running back Kevin Galbreath received all the publicity, but so far this season he has split time with Patrick Cobbs. Galbreath has 57 carries for 222 yards, while Cobbs has 160 yards on 43 rushes. As a team the Mean Green only gain 101 rushing yards each time out.

The Wildcats will probably use this game as a way to further tweak the defense. Expect the team to go out and try to iron out wrinkles and use a combination of various personnel in an attempt to prepare for the rigors of conference play.

Arizona must tackle better and work on getting good penetration on the line. The Badgers exposed a number of weaknesses that the Cats want to shore up. Add to that the number of injuries the Cats must address. You can bet they are going to use this game as a chance to audition a replacement for the injured Michael Jolivette. David Hinton had troubles against Wisconsin and this game may be a chance for Gary Love and Luis Nunez to make a splash.

When Arizona has the ball:

After struggling last weekend, the Wildcats need to further fine-tune the offense. Jason Johnson had one of the worst games of his career and would love to rebound with a big outing.

"I think you'll see a different Arizona team out there," Johnson said. "This game is extremely crucial. We want to be 3-1 and build some momentum."

That won't be easy for the Cats. North Texas has a very good defense. They have limited opponents to just 275.5 yards a game and 19 points. In the season opener they did a great job against Texas. The Longhorns rushed for just 28 yards and threw for only 186. Alabama was the lone team to move the ball against North Texas. The Tide picked up 336 yards on the ground and just a hair under 200 in the air.

If Arizona wants to run against North Texas they must deal with DT Brandon Kennedy. The 5-10, 315 pounder is a plug in the middle who is as good as anyone. While the team is good at stopping the run, they are also very good at getting to the passer. The team has 15 sacks, led by Adrian Awason's five and Kennedy's three. The team also has five picks.

The Wildcats want to continue to improve the running game. Clarence Farmer had a good game against the Badgers but the team needs to be able to grind out the yards, sustain drives and punch it in when inside the redzone.

Additionally, the Cats need a better game from their receivers. The unit was plagued by drops and also had a number of routes run a yard or two short of the first down markers.

OUTLOOK: The Cats really need to come out and play well in all facets of the game. The Wildcat defense should more than handle the Mean Green offense and the team needs to get the offense back into a rhythm before Oregon comes to town. Arizona is the superior ball club and should win the game. How easy or hard that will be is the key question.

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