The 2022 Arizona Football season ended on Friday with a win against Arizona State, and we hand out grades in review of the year.
Well, the 2022 Arizona Football season is over, and by most accounts, it was a relatively successful one. The Wildcats ended their year with a 5-7 (3-6) record, three of their wins coming against teams with winning records, and most importantly a win over ASU.
The team showed steady progress in year two, and when you realize that Vegas had Arizona winning just 2.5 games to begin the year, this was great progress from a 1-11 (1-8) finish we saw in year one under Jedd Fisch.
The Wildcats have come a long way in such a short time, and when you consider that Fisch took over a program devoid of talent, a culture that was broken, it seemed like a lengthy rebuild is in store for us.
And for the first time in a while, Arizona Football has a lot of optimism for heading into next season, but first, we hand out grades for 2022.
We saw a lot of improvements in year two on offense for the Wildcats, and that was in large part because of the influx of talent brought in by Coach Fisch.
For the first time in a while, the offense was exciting, they could score points in a hurry, and they featured a pair of 1,000-yard receivers for the first time in program history. Beyond that, Jayden de Laura was a very capable quarterback, and Arizona’s running backs were more than serviceable as well.
Finishing the year by averaging 30.8 points and 461.9 yards per game, this was a potent offense that was exciting to watch.
Unfortunately, why Arizona gets a B and not an A, is because of their red zone issues. The Wildcats still struggled in the red zone this season, and the hope is that heading into 2023, those issues will be resolved a bit more.
In short, this group was horrendous. Granted, the Wildcats lacked a lot of talent on this side of the ball and introduced its third defensive coordinator in the past three seasons but overall, it was not good.
Arizona struggled to get a consistent pass rush, they couldn’t stop the run, and their soft coverages and limited pass rush allowed opposing offenses to pick apart this defense.
The silver lining is that Arizona returns a lot of young talent, and will bring in a lot of young talent as well, plus, this group did get better in the later parts of the season, but overall, it was a pretty rough year. If the Wildcats had a more competitive group, this team likely wins six, maybe seven games.
Special Teams: B
Overall, Special Teams for Arizona did pretty well this year, and they didn’t make many mistakes that directly lost them games.
Tyler Loop looked like an all-conference kicker, connecting on 38 of 38 extra-point attempts and 18 of 21 field goals with a long of 48. Meanwhile, Kyle Ostendorp was solid again, totaling 33 punts compared to last year’s 58 punts, averaging 45.5 yards per punt.
Outside of their game against Cal, coaching was never an issue this season. The team made progress throughout the year, a lot of guys got better in year two from year one, and the team fought and competed all season, despite facing six teams that are currently ranked in the Top 25.
I may have been at odds sometimes with how the defense was schemed and called, but you figure those things will improve with more talent and another year with coach Johnny Nansen. But overall, the coaching for Arizona was solid, which is why they get a B- in my opinion.