Thursday, October 11, 2007

Arizona Offense Preview

Probable Starters vs. USC:

: 84 Terrell Turner 6-2 190 So. -1L
Tight End: 48 Rob Gronkowski 6-6 250 Fr.-HS
TE (Small): 9 Anthony Johnson 6-2 210 Sr.*-3L
Left Tackle: 76 Peter Graniello 6-5 310 Sr.*-3L
Left Guard: 64 Colin Baxter 6-4 295 Fr.*-RS
Center: 50 Blake Kerley 6-2 285 So.*-1L
Right Guard: 75 Joe Longacre 6-3 315 Jr.*-2L
Right Tackle: 77 Eben Britton 6-6 310 So.*-1L
WR(Z): 10 Mike Thomas 5-8 195 Jr.-2L
Quarterback: 7 Willie Tuitama 6-3 220 Jr.-2L
Running Back: 23 Nic Grigsby 5-10 178 Fr.-HS
H-Back: 49 Earl Mitchell 6-2 265 So.-1L
H-Back (Small): 18 Delashaun Dean 6-4 198 Fr.*-RS

Best Offensive Player: WR Michael Thomas

Quarterback -- Junior QB Willie Tuitama exploded onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2005, but has yet to build off of that first season. He's been beaten up behind a very porous offensive line throughout his career, but he is as dangerous as ever in the spread offense that new offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes has implemented. This spread offense emphasizes short and intermediate routes, but Willie T has a very strong arm and can make any throw on the field. He is athletic and can make plays outside of the pocket as well. The key for Tuitama will be his health and consistency.

Passing Game -- Arizona's offense revolves around its passing game. Not counting rushes by Wildcat QB's, which include sacks, Arizona has attempted 270 passes to only 141 rushes. That's almost a 2 to 1 ratio. USC's defense employs a bend but don't break philosophy, so the pressure will be on Arizona to take what the defense gives them. They have an electrifying player at WR in Michael Thomas (38 catches, 423 yards, 6 TDs) that can score from anywhere on the field. Thomas can run past an overly agressive corner on a deep route, or turn a short 5 yard pass into a 50 yard gain by making tacklers miss. "X" receiver Terrell Turner (25 catches, 327 yards, 2 TDs) and "small" tight end Anthony Johnson (25 catches, 290 yards, 1 TD) present bigger targets for Tuitama. Running backs Chris Jennings (18 catches) and Nicholas Grigsby (14 catches) have been active targets out of the backfield.

Running Game -- True freshman Nic Grigsby became the starter at running back in Arizona's 4th game and hasn't looked back. In 4 appearances this season, Grigsby leads the Wildcats in rushing with 345 yards on 68 carries, good enough for 86.2 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry. WR Michael Thomas is a threat and reverses and end-arounds, gaining 111 yards on 7 carries. The Wilcats aren't going to play smash mouth football and control the clock on anybody, but they will catch defenses that are overly focused on stopping the pass sleeping.

Look for the defensive preview later on tonight...

Fight On!

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