Preview 2018: Arizona Wildcats. New Coach, New Era, Same Fireworks

Preview 2018: Arizona Wildcats. New Coach, New Era, Same Fireworks

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Arizona Wildcats. New Coach, New Era, Same Fireworks


What You Need To Know About The Arizona Offense

– After handling the Texas A&M offense under Kevin Sumlin over the last few years, offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone is inheriting a heater. At least, he’s getting one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in college football, and now this should be a whole lot of fun.

The Arizona offense was as explosive as any in the country, leading the Pac-12 averaging 490 yards and 41 points per game under the Rich Rodriguez style. And here’s comes the slight tweak, with the hope it’ll take Khalil Tate from amazing to Heisman-level unstoppable.

He was already close to the latter throughout a long stretch of last season, and now one of the most dynamic players in football should be able to add more to the passing game, too.

The rushing attack that averaged 309 yards per game and finished third in the nation will still be doing its thing, but the passing attack that finished last in the conference – but was efficient and explosive – should start to be a bigger part of the equation.

– Tate was already a solid passer, and now he’s going to do more of it. He has the receivers in place to make it all rock, with top targets Tony Ellison and Shun Brown returning after combining for 80 catches and 11 touchdowns.

Throw in two talented young tight ends in Bryce Wolma and Jamie Nunley, and Tate won’t have a problem spreading the ball around. However, the ground game will be the preferred mode of transportation.

– Tate might be the team’s most dangerous runner, but J.J. Taylor is a factor, too. The 5-6, 180-pounder leads a decent but inexperienced group of backs for an offense that rolled for 4,021 yards and 48 touchdowns, but the more help the backs can give Tate, the better.

The concern, though, will be the offensive line – at least early on. Left tackle Layth Friekh will miss the first two games of the season, but he’ll be one of the Pac-12’s better blockers when he returns. Nathan Eldridge is a good one at center, but there’s not a lot of experience to fill in the gaps at the other spots, and even less in the way of developed depth. So, besides the blocking …

Biggest Key To The Arizona Offense

The coaching staff has to quickly pivot to the talent for the ground game. Texas A&M wasn’t bad on the ground last season, but the rushing attack came up with just under half of the rushing yards the Wildcats put up – and most of those came in the first five games.

Of course there will be more for the passing game – and Tate is ready – and the devastating spread attack run under Rodriguez won’t be around anymore. However, if you have a team with the talent to think about 4,000 rushing yards, you work it out. There will be tinkering, but the offense wasn’t the problem last year – and it shouldn’t be this time around, either.

NEXT: Defense Breakdown, Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen


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