Tidbits 09/27

After talking hoops in Tuesday's Tidbits, we turn out attention to the gridiron. The Cats have a good one on Saturday against Washington State, one that could be very important to the program.

After watching Tony Gonzales of the Chiefs and Jeremy Shockey of the Giants over the weekend, it is clearer than ever just how potent a big time tight end can be to an offense. That is why I am chomping at the bit to see how the Cats can further utilize Rob Gronkowski. The big tight end could become the answer to the Wildcats' problems in the redzone.

While many have called out the coaches for not using him more, I am not there yet. Frankly, it is not easy game planning for a player who will be playing his fifth college football game on Friday. Add to that the fact that Sonny Dykes comes from two systems that did not use the tight end a whole lot.

If by the end of the year, by the time Gronkowski really learns the system, he is not a prominent part of the offense I'll be surprised… One big concern this week is the defensive players talking about a lack of communication. It is not so much that they stated there is a communication problem on the field, that is obvious from the blown coverages. What concerns me more is that fact that a few players said that other Pac-10 teams talk a lot more before the snap and that "we need to start doing this".

Either the players are not doing enough talking, or the coaches have not made talking a big enough point of emphasis. Either way, I'd expect the defensive communication to be much better this week…

Nick Grigsby will get his second straight start at running back. The true freshman is trying to boost the running game which has been anemic to date. He showed flashes against Cal, but will need to be better to bring some balance to the Wildcat offense…

Not to be a pessimist, but I think this weekend's game against Washington State is as close as a "must win" as you can get. Frankly, I am not sure the team moral can rebound from a 1-4 start. This has been a fragile team since the John Mackovic days and another loss to a team that they feel they "should" beat could be too much to recover from.

If they don't get a win here, salvaging the season could be tough. They beat Wazzu, suddenly there is a boost of confidence and that could lead to a run like the Cats had last year after the win at Pullman. A loss and things could continue to spiral downward.

The Cats also need a win from a recruiting standpoint. One Wildcat recruit has been rumored to be telling people near him that he is thinking about de-committing until he sees evidence of the Cats going in the right direction. Other recruits want to see the Cats fare well before they put Arizona in their final mix of teams. The job the staff did over the summer was amazing, but it could take a stellar finish to close out the class on a high note…

No one can deny Mike Stoops has done a great job bolstering the talent base after the John Mackovic era. He has upgraded at nearly very position. One spot that Mackovic currently has the edge on Stoops is at the running back position. Although it is still early in the current crop's careers, the trio of Mike Bell, Gilbert Harris and Chris Henry have outperformed Chris Jennings, Xavier Smith and Terry Longbons. Smith still has a chance to have a really good career, while Grigsby and Joseph Reese have hardly scratched the surface of what they can do at the University.


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