Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats vs. Utah Utes: Quick-read notes

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>> In case you missed it: My first article with Bleacher Report touches on the top five Mike Stoops recruits who are impacting the Rich Rodriguez era at Arizona.

>> I assess at Lindy’s Sports who is on the Heisman fringe. Take Terry Bridgewater’s name off the list after Louisville’s upset loss to Central Florida on Friday night.

>> Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez told Sirius/XM on Monday afternoon that Arizona is a couple of years away from having the kind of defense he wants. He said Arizona went 11 deep (the starters) last season in his first year, and the Wildcats go to about 14 this season. He said the ideal number is 22.

>> Arizona is home for the first time since Sept. 14. Utah, meanwhile, is leaving its state for the first time this season after five home games and a trip to BYU. The Utes are 4-2. Their losses are at home in overtime to Oregon State, which is on a five-game winning streak, and to UCLA (5-0) by seven points.

>> The Wildcats played only one home game in a 50-day span (Aug. 30 to Oct. 19) They hosted UTSA on Sept. 14 after playing their first game against NAU on Aug. 30. They then had two bye weeks mixed with two games at Washington and USC. Coincidence: Arizona had a similar stretch in 2011 when it hosted Utah after playing only one game at Arizona Stadium over a 41-day span (Sept. 24 to Nov. 5). Utah beat the Wildcats 34-21 for its first Pac-12 road victory. That was against an interim staff after Mike Stoops’ firing.

>> With the way B.J. Denker passed against USC (28 of 44 for a career-high 363 yards) can you imagine if he had a healthy Austin Hill, who would not only be a threat but open up avenues for others? David Richards, a 6’4″ target, has already made an impact on the passing game with his return from a foot injury. Hill continues rehabbing with the hopes of returning this season. Stay tuned.

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>> The age debate (Utah’s grown men vs. Arizona’s young ones) even involved Utah’s athletic director this week. The reality is Arizona’s 22 projected starters on offense and defense have more experience in football years at the collegiate level than Utah. Arizona has 17 juniors and seniors listed as starters while Utah has 16.

>> True freshman linebacker Scooby Wright has 34 tackles, trailing team leader Jared Tevis, a junior safety, by two. Tevis will not suit up for Arizona because of a knee injury. No UA freshman has led the team in tackles since the school tabulated the stat in 1973. Ricky Hunley came close with 96 tackles as a freshman in 1980. Jack Housley, a linebacker, led the Wildcats with 104 tackles that season.

>> Arizona lost its last two games at Washington and USC but the Wildcats were outscored by only 30-28 in the second half of both of the games. The Wildcats fell behind 11-0 against Washington and 28-3 against the Trojans. The Wildcats responded by outscoring the Huskies and USC by a combined 41-30 afterward. That was on the road against two 4-2 teams with a quarterback (Denker) who never started a Pac-12 road game in his career. Things could have unraveled but they didn’t.

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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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