Arizona Football Predictions

Written by Vegas Top Cappers | July 31, 2013

2013 Arizona Football Predictions

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez has coached in both big games and in big places during his eleven-year major college career. With seven seasons at his alma mater West Virginia, and three seasons at Michigan, Rodriguez has a good idea of what it requires to “run with the big dogs.” His first season at Arizona was thoroughly entertaining as he brought his zone-read spread option offense to the desert and guided the Wildcats to an 8-5 record, including a victory over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl. Considered an offensive pioneer with his unconventional no-huddle, spread attack, Rodriguez has work to do at Arizona, but if the first season is any indication, he has the ‘Cats on the fast track to becoming an offensive juggernaut.

To effectively run the Rodriguez offense, an agile, intelligent, quick-thinking QB is a must, and that’s where the Wildcats have a problem. Rodriguez has at least five candidates, two transfers, a redshirt freshman, a true freshman and senior B.J. Denker, the only QB on the roster to actually run the spread option, albeit very briefly. Whoever gets the job, they’d be well-advised to quickly become familiar with RB Ka’Deem Carey, who set a school record in his sophomore season with 1,929 yards and 23 TDs. With a little luck and good health, Carey could surpass the 2,000 yard mark in 2013. However, a pair of off-the-field incidents have raised questions about his maturity. Carey has leadership potential, but he also needs to realize what a golden opportunity has been handed him and the responsibility that goes along with it.

Injuries have thrown the receiving corps into a bit of a quandry, with David Richards and Trevor Ermisch missing spring practice. The passing game isn’t a big part of the spread option, but a minimum of balance is needed. Three starters return on the O-line, and the overall depth on offense is decent, aided by an impressive recruiting class.

All eleven starters are back on defense, but there’s still a major need for cohesiveness and better fundamentals. Arizona’s linebacking unit is deep and experienced, probably one of the best in the conference. Marquis Flowers, in particular, is an all-conference-type, despite missing spring practice with a bum shoulder. Other returnees expected to be standouts include CB Shaquille Richardson and NT Dan Pettinato. Missed tackles were a recurring issue last fall, so a return to basic fundamentals is expected to be a defensive focus once pre-season practice starts up in late summer.

The Wildcats were a very young team in 2012, and considering all they accomplished using the youngsters, optimism rules when looking ahead. The defense ranked a miserable 118th overall in total defense last season, and almost any measure of improvement will be welcome. Rodriguez usually focuses himself on the offense, so it will be the defensive coaching staff’s task to do whatever is necessary to improve those numbers. Once a QB is settled in and Carey gets his situation squared away, Arizona definitely has the look of a top-tier PAC-12 squad, and an additional win or two above 2012’s total wouldn’t be a shocker.

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