1) Last week the Wildcats took the top offense in the Pac-12 to Seattle to take on the top defense in Washington. After that initial field goal drive the Wildcats were unable to score again. What happened to this potent offense?
Jason Scheer: "Without Nick Wilson, this offense really takes a hit. Jared Baker isn’t terrible, but he goes down on first contact and Wilson doesn’t. Baker is likely the guy again this week as Wilson still struggles with injuries. In addition, Anu Solomon hasn’t been the same since he suffered a concussion against UCLA. I don’t think it is necessarily the concussion that is bothering him as much as it is a complete lack of confidence. Jerrard Randall is getting playing time, but he is a one trick pony. Mix that in with an inconsistent offensive line and it all kind of came to a head and went sour against Washington."
2) When Anu Solomon came back from injury a few games back it looked to have a very positive impact on this Wildcat offense. What happened at that point and do you think using two quarterbacks, or at least the threat of two quarterbacks, has had a negative impact on Solomon and the offense in general?
JS: "I do think it is obvious Rodriguez doesn’t have confidence in his quarterbacks right now. Anu went from a player that had no chance to getting benched to one that basically has two series to do well or Randall comes in. The read option doesn’t work because defenses know Solomon is not going to run any more and Randall can’t throw well, so it is keying in on each quarterback’s weaknesses. To be blunt, Solomon probably isn't as good as some assumed he was. He has always struggled with man coverage and that has not changed."
3) Washington struggled on offense all season, but put up 49 points last week against Arizona. What is the injury situation with the defense and do the Wildcats have the ability to bounce back with a better performance against USC?
JS: "Arizona’s defense is in rough shape. It’s missing each of the three linebackers it expected to start this season. Anthony Fotu, arguably Arizona’s second best defensive end, has been suspended for the season. Davonte Neal, Tellas Jones, Jarvis McCall, and Jamar Allah are all players in the secondary that have missed some time. Even if they were healthy though, Arizona’s defense would struggle. The talent just isn’t there and that’s not changing against a team like USC."
4) Rich Rodriquez expressed his concerns regarding the lack of bye weeks and over abundance of night games on the Arizona schedule. Now his name is coming up for head coaching searches like Virginia Tech. Do you think these issues have been distractions for this Wildcat team, contributing to the struggles lately?
JS: "It’s hard to ignore when your head coach comes up in every rumor. I thought the Washington game was the first one since Rodriguez came to Arizona in which it looked like the team just didn’t want to be there. Is that the coaching rumors? I don’t know, but I do know that the lack of a bye week has been awful to Arizona because there is so little time to evaluate possible changes."
5) What are the keys for Arizona to win this game and what is your prediction?
JS: "The defense has to play much better and simply tackle. There have been numerous games this season where Arizona looks like it literally can’t tackle. The Wildcats also need to be able to establish tempo, whether that is on the ground or in the air. The offense succeeds when there is tempo, but fails miserably when there isn’t. Arizona tends to lose one game it shouldn’t and win one it shouldn’t as well. I just don’t see anyway that upset will occur this week though, as Arizona likely loses by a few touchdowns."
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