Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the Arizona Wildcats season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Arizona Previews 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
2018 Record: 5-7 overall, 4-5 in Pac-12
Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin, 2nd year, 5-7
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ARIZONA OFFENSE
– The offense did its part. It led the Pac-12 total offense with the league’s best ground game and downfield passing attack, but it took a few weeks to get up to speed, and it couldn’t keep up with the defense giving up yards and points in chunks. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has to rebuild the receiving corps and the line, but …
– The backfield is all set. Khalil Tate wasn’t the devastating rushing machine he was in 2017, and he was a bit too inconsistent as a passer, but he pushed the ball down the field well and only threw eight picks. There’s young talent behind him, but 6-5, 222-pound new recruit Grant Gunnell and dangerous redshirt freshman Jamarye Joiner need tine and seasoning.
– Tate is still a dangerous runner, but junior JJ Taylor is the star of the ground attack. The 5-6, 184-pounder was a reliably tough workhorse with 255 carries for 1,434 yards and six scores. 206-pound junior Gary Brightwell was second on the team with 525 yards – he brings a little more power – and there are more option behind him.
– The receiving corps isn’t totally starting over, but it’s undergoing a redo. The top four targets are gone, making fifth-leading receiver Cedric Peterson the top returning starter after coming up with 18 catches.
Sophomore Cedric Berryhill has some flash, but like Peterson, he’s not exactly big and physical. That’s where 6-2 freshman Boobie Curry and 6-3 redshirt freshmen Tre Adams and Zach Williams come in. The tight ends aren’t totally ignored under Kevin Sumlin, but they’re underutilized – ask former Texas A&M Aggie Jace Sternberger.
– The O line that was such an issue for a time early on with injuries turned out to be a positive as the season went on. Senior Cody Creason is a sure thing somewhere on the inside at one of the guard spots, and 315-pound sophomore Donovan Laie is set at left tackle. There’s decent depth, helped by JUCO transfers Paiton Fears – a 6-5, 308-pound tackle – and 317-pound guard Josh Donovan from College Station, Texas.