Football Midseason Grades

The regular season is now half over and the Cats are not where they want to be. Surprisingly enough, the offense has actually been an improved unit and it is the defense that is scuffling.

Quarterback: Willie Tuitama is on his way to a record setting season, yet he could still do more. If he stays healthy he will easily break the single season touchdown mark and could challenge for yardage and completions.

Despite the great numbers. Tuitama has not always been sharp. He was unbelievable against WSU, but struggled against BYU and Oregon State and was inconsistent against Cal. Tuitama is making big plays, but has occasionally locked in on receivers and failed to recognized down and distance.

Although he has not be perfect, he's been very good. In four of the six games he's put enough points on the board that a solid defensive effort should have gotten the win.
Brad's Grade: B

Running Back: Although the offense has been better, the running game still leaves a lot to be desired. Nicholas Grigsby has given them a spark and had solid back-to-back outings, with his performance against WSU being one of the best ever for a Wildcat freshman.

Although he's been a good rusher and decent receiver, but has to improve his pass blocking, especially if the Wildcats are going to throw 40+ times a game.

Chris Jennings and Xavier Smith have not done a lot in their limited chances. Jennings remains the back-up to Grigsby, while Smith has seen his role really reduced. Earl Mitchell has not gotten many opportunities to touch the ball, but has been a very good lead blocker.
Brad's Grade: C

Wide Receiver: Take away the drops and this has been an amazing unit. Michael Thomas, Terrell Turner and Delashaun Dean have all had monster numbers, and Terrell Reese played very well last week against OSU.

Unfortunately you cannot ignore the drops. They really cost the Wildcats and New Mexico and Oregon State. Anthony Johnson has been the receiver most point to about the drops, but he's hardly the only one.
Brad's Grade: B

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski has been about as good as advertised. It is not his fault that he's not been getting thrown to.
Brad's Grade: A-

Offensive Line: Heading into the OSU game the offensive line would have received a higher grade. Unfortunately they struggled against the Beavers. They seemed confused about the blitzes and allowed Willie Tuitama to be sacked more than the previous five games combined. This unit is still better than they were a year ago.
Brad's Grade: B-

Defensive Ends: As a whole the unit has been wildly inconsistent, but there have been some good performances. Louis Holmes has failed to love up to the hype, but Jason Parker and Ricky Elmore have exceeded expectations. They have been okay against the run, but have not put enough pressure on the opposing quarterbacks.
Brad's Grade: C

Defensive Tackles: They have done a good job against the run and an okay job against the pass. In the Wildcats scheme the tackles are not really called upon to do a whole lot in terms of tackles and sacks, so they can be tough to judge. Overall, the group have done what has been asked.
Brad's Grade: B-

Linebackers: A talented group to be sure, but they have had trouble in pass coverage and have not tackled as well as last year.
Brad's Grade: C

Defensive Backs: The DB's have not been as bad as the stats might suggest. Sure there have been some real coverage breakdowns, but a lot of the completions have come because of the lack of a pass rush. Even the best defensive backs can cover a speedy receiver for so long.
Brad's Grade: C+

Kicking Game: Keenyn Crier and Jason Bondzio would get high marks even if they weren't first year kickers. The fact they are rookies makes it even better.
Brad's Grade: A

Return Game: Cason has the td, but has also had some short returns. Ross seems poised to break one at any time, but had the bad out of bounds against OSU. When the ball is kicked the fans are in a state of anticipation, that is a good sign.
Brad's Grade: B+

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