Arizona Football

Thoughts on the Arizona Wildcats depth chart

The Arizona Wildcats released a depth chart Thursday in advance of Saturday night’s game against BYU at Arizona Stadium.

Quick thoughts:

–Arizona lists Layth Friekh as the starting left tackle, which the senior and returning starter most certainly will be after he sits two games because of an eligibility issue. The backup is true freshman Donovan Laie. A true freshman starting the opener at the key left tackle spot? Not ideal. We’ll see.

–Michigan State transfer Tshiyombu Lukusa is listed as the starting left guard ahead of Michael Eletise, the third-year sophomore who was one of the true “gets” of Rich Rodriguez’s 2016 recruiting class. Thought he would be ready to make an impact by now.

–Nathan Eldridge, the expected hub of the line at center, was out injured during fall camp (new coach Kevin Sumlin doesn’t talk about injuries), and, as expected, he’s not on the depth chart. Redshirt sophomore Josh McCauley is the No. 1 center, backed by junior college transfer Steven Bailey, who began his career at NAU.

–One of the key preseason concerns for Arizona has been depth at receiver. The backups include redshirt freshmen Drew Dixon and Stanley Berryhill (slot), as well as sophomores Brian Casteel and Devaughn Cooper (slot). If two could emerge — Berryhill and Casteel, I’d say — that would be a plus.

–Running back Gary Brightwell has been one of the most talked about players in camp, and he should see plenty of action behind J.J. Taylor. Converted safety Anthony Mariscal is third-team, ahead of sophomore Nathan Tilford, who looks good in a uniform but hasn’t been able to translate that to the field yet.

–Hey, there are four 300-pounders on the defensive line two-deep (and only one of the eight down-linemen listed is a senior).

–I’m not sure the secondary has some 2018 All-Pac-12 players, but it has a lot of depth. Three positions have tri-starters — spur safety, boundary corner and free safety. Let the competition begin.

As for special teams…

Lucas Havrisik and Josh Pollack are co-starters at kicker, with Havrisik having the bigger leg. Looks like plenty of shifty options on kick returns, especially with J.J. Taylor, Gary Brightwell and Stanley Berryhill.

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