Arizona Football Offensive Preview


The 2014 Arizona Wildcat offense will feature a bunch of new faces, but before we take a look at this year’s offense lets take a quick look at the 2013 offense.

In 2013, led by two-time consensus All-American RB Ka’Deem Carey, the Arizona offense found themselves sixth in scoring offense (33.5 ppg) and fourth in total offense (458.5 ypg) in the Pac-12. The Cats had the second best rush offense (264.9 ypg), but the worst pass offense in the league with only 193.5 a game. The Cats lost most of the offense with the loss of Carey, and QB B.J. Denker, so the big question in 2014 is who will fill those shoes. Lets take a look at the 2014 Arizona Wildcat offense.

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The starting QB of your 2014 Arizona Wildcats will be redshirt freshman QB Anu Solomon, for now. Rich Rodriguez announced yesterday that Solomon would take the first snap of the season, but that was all he promised. Rich Rod said that more than one QB could play Friday, which probably means there are some packages for LSU transfer Jerrard Randall. If Solomon performs well and keeps the starting spot all season the future could be bright for this Wildcat team. He will hit his peak next year and it will be nice to have a QB in Tucson for more than one season.

If Solomon does not perform well expect either Randall or USC transfer Jesse Scroggins to take over the starting role. Either way the Wildcats QB competition is finally over, sort of, and it is up to Solomon to solidify the number one spot.

Running Back

Get ready to learn a lot of names in the backfield this season. There are six players that may get touches in the non-conference games to start the season. This will be the definition of running back by committee and it will take a few games to see who stands out and takes control. Just a quick mention of everyone involved: Jared Baker, Terris Jones-Grigsby, Nick Wilson, Johnathan Haden, Zach Green, and Adonis Smith. Lots of names, but the talent levels of each remain to be seen. No one stood out in camp, but with so many people taking snaps it is hard to stand out.

The top two right now have to be Baker and Jones-Grigsby, but no matter what get ready to hear a lot of names in the backfield, on ESPN, Friday night.

Oct 26, 2013; Boulder, CO, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Nate Phillips (6) reacts to a forty four yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver

A familiar face is back with the team this year, as the Cats get 2012 leading receiver Austin Hill back from his torn ACL last season. In 2012 Hill had 81 catches for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 1,364 yards was good for second in the Pac-12. Entering the 2014 season Hill is on every award watch list, including the Maxwell (best offensive player), Biletnikoff (best receiver), and Walter Camp (top player).

Joining Hill will be freshman All-American Nate Phillips who had 51 catches for 696 yards and seven touchdowns. Hill and Phillips are the 1-2 duo, but the Wildcats have the best depth at receiver in the entire nation.

The duo will be joined by the sophomore Texas transfer Cayleb Jones, Notre Dame transfer DaVonte’ Neal, junior David Richards, sophomores Trey Griffey and Samajie Grant, and freshman Tyrell Johnson.

This receiving group is loaded and as long as Solomon can get them the ball the Wildcat offense should be fine.

Offensive Line

The Wildcats have one of the most experienced starting five in the entire nation, but after that it is looking pretty bare. LT Mickey Baucus, LG Cayman Bundage, and C Steven Gurrola started every game at their respective positions last season and they all return in 2014. RT Fabbians Ebbele started all but one game in 2013 and RG Lene Maiava started one game at RG and one game at RT in 2013. Overall, between the starting five, that is 53 starts from last season returning. This will really help the RB by committee get sorted out and take some pressure off of Solomon because he knows he will be protected.

The only question mark on the offensive line is who will step in if someone goes down. It looks like the three backups are three true freshmen, which is never a good thing for an offensive line. Layth Friekh, Jacob Alsadek, and Levi Walton all seem to have the inside track to being the primary back ups.

As long as the offensive line stays healthy the Arizona running game still has potential to be a huge threat in 2014, even without Carey.

Offensive Expectations

Even with the loss of a two time All-American running back and their starting quarter back I expect this offense to a normal Rich Rodriguez offense that puts up a ton of points and runs the ball effectively. Rich Rod has a knack for finding good backs and with a very talented offensive line I think he does that again in 2014. Put a solid offensive line with the best group of receivers in the nation and you have a recipe for success on the offensive side of the ball in Tucson. Three more days Wildcat fans.