Arizona Football

Professor Pigskin: Importance of UH game, QB’s, injuries,

Nick Wilson

Professor Pigskin is taking his talents to AllSportsTucson. Over the week I have gotten texts, e-mails, DM’s, phone calls, and questions from my dad about Arizona football. Here are my responses to these (mostly) real questions.

I heard you say on the radio that you think this is the most important game of the season for the Wildcats. Still think that way?

Yes. I have said this for most of the summer, I think this is what I call the “lynchpin” game. I think as this game goes, so goes the Arizona season. Part of that is I feel that going 3-0 in the non-conference is huge. The Cats could go 2-1 against a I-AA team and a terrible D-I team and have no momentum. Conversely, 3-0 not only gives them momentum, but it means they only have to win three of their final nine games to be bowl eligible.

Secondarily, it is a measuring stick game. Houston has a lot of talent. They are not as good as the past two teams, but they still have legit talent, including an All-American defensive lineman, and if Arizona can beat Houston they are likely more talented than we thought.


You have mentioned that another media outlet has dubbed their podcast the Wildcast, the same name as yours, but isn’t Professor Pigskin a rip-off of their Ask Doctor Football?

Absolutely. I have never claimed that this is an original idea, and they were not the first to do the concept. I started this column in some ways as a response to Greg Hansen’s column, which I felt was less his opportunity to answer questions, and more a deft way to tackle a few narratives within one column. Every week I was getting tons of questions via texts, e-mails, message board posts, facebook, twitter and even in person and thought this was a good way to tackle it. As much as I am ripping off Greg Hansen and those who came before, I am also ripping off Bill Simmons and all those who have done a mailbag before.

Yup, these are my readers (just kidding). are already calling for Khalil Tate to replace Brandon Dawkins at quarterback. Do you agree?

Not from what I have seen. The article makes a compelling case that Arizona needs a more adept passer and that whatever advantages Dawkins has at this time in running the read option, are offset by Tate’s superior passing ability. The one problem is there is no empirical evidence that Tate is the better passer.

How do we know that Tate is the better passer? They make assumptions he is the better, more accurate passer but how do we know? They were basing this on one throw in the NAU game where Tate threaded the needle on a beautiful touchdown pass (that was called back.). In a limited sample size, Tate only completed 40% of his passes last season, albeit as a 17 year old freshman with a shaky offensive line and no run game. Dawkins is in neighborhood of 53% for his career, not very good, in a larger sample size. The fact is none of us really know. The coaches have had 50 practices to evaluate the QBs and chose Dawkins. Tate did completely out perform Dawkins at the final spring scrimmage, but Rich Rodriguez said it was the best he played all spring.

Another part of the argument is that Tate was a great high school quarterback in a great league. There is no doubt that Tate was a terrific high school player, but so was Dawkins. Both players played in really tough leagues in Southern California. Both players put up monster numbers. Tate threw for 3,543 yards, 36 touchdowns, and completed 55% of his passes at Gardena’s Serra Hs. Dawkins threw twice as many passes while at Oaks Christian, throwing for 8,427 yards and 88 scores, while completing 63% of his passes. Tate was the superior runner, rushing for 3,625 yards and 46 scores, while Dawkins ran for 1,397 and 20 scores. Ironically enough, both players fell to Mater Dei in their final high school games.

I am not saying that Tate is not the future, or even the present (in fact I hope he is because Dawkins is close to his ceiling), I am just saying there is not enough evidence to make that decision. Some may not love RichRod and his staff, but I trust their judgment on which quarterback can best win games (and in effect save their jobs).

I thought you said Marvin Bagley was not going to play college basketball.

Uh, that was Doctor Dribble, not Professor Pigskin. In all seriousness, I did not think it would be that easy to clear him with his vagabond high school career, and he might eventually go pro or train for the draft. While I thought he might get cleared, I am surprised it happened on September 8.

I assume you are not surprised that Nick Wilson is hurt again.

No. Much like DeAndre’ Miller and Trevor Wood, some guys are just injury prone.

Which of those guys does Arizona miss the most?

Wilson is the most talented, but he is at the position with the most depth. Although Kylan Wilbon had a great debut, the Cats need more depth at LB/DE, so they will be better when Miller comes back.

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