Game Analysis

It is hard to find too many negatives after Arizona's 47-20 win over Washington State. At the same time it is hard to get too excited by a team that has rarely built on success the past few years.

While it was one of the two best wins in the Stoops era, it is reminiscent of the win over UCLA two years ago. The Cats stunned the Bruins, but turned around and laid an egg against a bad Washington team the very next week.

Let's look at how the units did.

Quarterback: In my mind this was the best game that Willie Tuitama has played. He made great decisions and great throws. He was confident, concise and showed great decision making. He moved well in the pocket and never seemed to panic.

He did not try to thrown downfield too much, nor did he hit the dump off pass over and over. He generally threw the ball past the down marker on third downs and showed confidence in marching the team down the field after the Cougars tied the game at 20.

His worst throw of the night came on the first drive where a Cougar defensive back jumped the route and would have scored easily had he not dropped the pick. Who knows what would have happened if Tuitama had been picked off, but we won't have to. Although he had to settle for a field goal, he learned from the mistake and went on to have one of the best passing nights in school history.

Running Back: We can now usher in the Nicholas Grigsby era. He got his second start and had one of the best freshman offensive performances in school history. He put in the NCAA's third best rushing performance and also showed he can be a weapon in the passing game.

He could stand to gain some weight and lost a fumble in the second half, but those would just be nitpicking. He not only has nice moves and a great busts, but he showed he has terrific instincts as well.

Wide Receivers: For some reason Mike Thomas is not getting a lot of run but he is putting together a dominating junior season. Although Delashaun Dean was really not a factor, Terrell Turner had a great game and really could become the team's best deep threat.

I was especially pleased to see a lack of dropped passes and some good downfield blocking.

Tight End: What needs to be said about Rob Gronkowski. He is already among the best tight ends in school history and his 57-yard touchdown catch that left a would be tackler wondering what day it is, will be seen for years. Imagine what happens when he gets a good grasp of the offense?

Offensive Line: They opened holes, protected the passer and exerted their will on the Cougars. Sure WSU may have one of the worst defenses in the Pac-10, but the offensive line did everything that was asked of them. Early on the Cougars dared the Cats to run on them and the Wildcat linemen manhandled their crimson helmeted opponents.

By the time the Cougars put eight in the box it was too late. They were able to protect Tuitama in the pocket and maintained the running game into the second half.

Defensive Line: The Cats shuffled their tackles in and out of the game a lot more. Louis Holmes continues to be a bit of a disappointment. He needs to show more nastiness in the trenches.

While he may lack Holmes' physical gifts, Ricky Elmore is aggressive and tough. He was all over the field and you feel good about his future. Jason Parker continues to play well and Johnathan Turner is playing very well the past few games.

Linebackers: The linebackers were better, but still had trouble covering the Cougar tight ends. The tackling was better and I liked the fact the backers were being asked to blitz more.

Defensive Backs: Coverage was okay but not great by the defensive backs. A few times Alex Brink made perfect throws into good coverage, but the defensive backs are still not yet at last year's level. Devin Ross is seeing more time and after Dominic Patrick left with a knee sprained the defense seemed to play a little better. I don't know if that meant his replacements were playing better than he was, or if the defense just rallied around the injured starter.

Like the linebackers, the DB's were asked to blitz and even if they did not rack up high sack totals, the new wrinkles shows me a staff that is making adjustments.

Special Teams: Keenyn Crier attempted just one punt and you can hardly blame Jason Bondzio for missing a 59-yarder.


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