Q: The Wildcats are having a difficult season, losing their last seven games. What has been the biggest factor for the disappoingint season?
Jason Scheer: It’s been a mixture of factors. Arizona has been hurt by injuries at numerous key positions. It’s been forced to play a wide receiver at running back after starter Nick Wilson hurt his knee, J.J. Taylor broke his ankle, and Orlando Bradford was dismissed. Anu Solomon missed a good chunk of the season with injuries, Arizona has lost a few offensive linemen at times, and linebacker has been hurt by injuries as well. It’s not just that though. Arizona simply isn’t very talented this season and with a lack of depth and options, it’s basically all come together to form a giant mess.
Q: What playmakers on offense should Beaver fans be aware of? How about defense?
JS: Samajie Grant has been playing well at running back despite only being there for a few games. Trey Griffey and Shun brown are solid receivers, but the passing game has been inconsistent. Cam Denson seems to be Anu Solomon’s favorite player, so he is a guy to keep an eye on as well because he has big play ability. On defense, Michael Barton and Paul Magloire are solid linebackers, but not spectacular. The biggest issue there is the fact that the defense really does not have a major playmaker.
Q: What is the injury report heading into Saturday's match-up?
JS: If you take away the injuries that have put players out for the season, Arizona is generally healthy. If not, Arizona is missing the running backs stated above, starting linebackers Cody Ippolito and likely DeAndre Miller, and numerous other players that aren’t likely major contributors.
Q: What can the Beavers do in order to help their chances on Saturday?
JS: Make Arizona one dimensional. Without a run game, Arizona’s quarterbacks aren’t good enough to lead it to victory. Brandon Dawkins can’t read coverage on a consistent basis and Anu Solomon has little confidence and struggles with the blitz. If the Beavers can take away a dimension of Arizona’s offense, the Wildcats are in trouble. Defensively, Oregon State should be able to throw the ball effectively and Arizona has struggled with stopping the run. If Oregon State can hold off Arizona’s aggressive blitzing, the rest of the defense isn’t good enough to make plays.
Q: Is Rich Rodriguez on the hot seat?
JS: With fans, absolutely. Not with the AD, however. Arizona can’t afford to fire him and Greg Byrne recently informed boosters he is bringing Rodriguez back next season.
Q: What is your prediction for the game?
JS: This is the toughest game of the season to predict. Arizona starting Solomon would go a long way towards a possible win. However, it’s hard to think Arizona can do anything positive right now because it is just that type of season. I think the Wildcats hang around for most of the game, but fade early. Oregon State 31, Arizona 27