Wildcats offense is still a work in progress, but it’s getting there

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

In reality, Arizona is in a major rebuild as the Wildcats have lost 15 straight games dating back to 2019. Although they are 0-3 so far in 2021, one could point to just a handful of plays that would make Arizona 3-0 and the story of the conference.

First-year head coach Jedd Fisch installed a brand new offensive scheme and has three quarterbacks that he’s still trying to figure out which is the best one going forward.

Considering they lost 70-7 to Arizona State in the 2020 season finale, just being in the game with ranked teams such as BYU (24-16) and San Diego State (38-14) is a huge improvement.

The majority of the snaps have gone to either redshirt freshman Gunner Cruz, a redshirt freshman transfer quarterback from Washington State or freshman Will Plummer. But in their most recent loss to Northern Arizona, Plummer and transfer Jordan McCloud were to two quarterbacks that split time under center.

“Each one of their quarterbacks has a different skill set. I think they’re still going to run their package,” Oregon defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said. “You can’t tell right now that their offense is changing very much depending on the quarterback, but of course, that can change.

No matter who is throwing the ball for the Wildcats, they seem efficient enough to win games. As a team, Arizona is completing 63 percent of its passes. But it’s the touchdown-to-interception ratio (5-4) that is their downfall. A Pick-6 late in the game against the Lumberjacks completed their upset over Arizona 21-19.

The biggest problem for the Wildcats offense is the lack of a sustained running game. Arizona’s leading rusher, Drake Anderson, averages just 38 yards a game and as a team, the Wildcats rush for 79 yards per contest.

Stanley Berryhill III leads the team in receiving with his 28 catches for 263 yards (87.7 ypg). The 5-foot-10 redshirt junior was Arizona’s top receiver for the 2020 season and led the team in receptions (23), yards (227), and touchdowns (3). He’s already eclipsed most of those numbers this season and is on his way to possibly receive conference honors.

“I’m excited about guys like Stanley Berryhill,” Fisch said. “There are a lot of positives out there. Unfortunately, we haven’t strung enough of them together to get the wins we’re looking for.”

Perhaps even more unfortunate for the Wildcats is that they may face a replenished Oregon defense. Players such as Kayvon Thibodeaux, Mase Funa, and Keith Brown could very likely make their return for the conference opener.

List

Oregon's FPI Update: ESPN gives Ducks 7th-highest odds to win National Championship

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting