Arizona Wildcats Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Arizona season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Arizona Wildcats Preview
Head Coach: Jedd Fisch, 2nd year at Arizona, 1-11
2nd year overall, 2-12
2021 Record: Overall: 1-11, Conference: 1-8
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Arizona Top 10 Players | Arizona Schedule & Analysis
Arizona Wildcats Preview 2022
Jedd Fisch had a complete overhaul to do when he took over as the head coach last season, and it started by trying play defense again at the University of Arizona.
Overall, the lines just weren’t there to hold up, the O was far worse than the D, and even when things sort of worked, there was an implosion of mistakes that screwed everything up. It took a COVID-depleted Cal to help the Wildcats get their one and only win, but things are different now. There’s a shot that for a huge improvement with a little bit of luck.
Arizona was all over the transfer portal, loaded up with a fantastic recruiting class, and now there’s actual depth to go along with what should be a far better starting 22. It’s not time to think Pac-12 Championship yet, but the fan base will finally have a more competitive team to get fired up about.
Arizona Wildcats Preview 2022: Offense
Injuries played a huge part in the 2021 disaster, and not getting enough from the line turned out to be the biggest issue. There wasn’t enough from the running game, the pass protection wasn’t there, and there wasn’t any scoring punch with the O hitting the 20 point mark just two times. That’s about to change.
Again, injuries were an issue. The quarterback situation was never quite settled, but that’s about to change with Washington State transfer Jayden de Laura coming in to start winging the ball around. He was a terrific get, and UTEP WR Jacob Cowing – 141 catches, 2,595 yards, 13 touchdowns averaging over 18 yards per grab for the Miners – might be even bigger. But …
Can the line give everyone time to work? Transfers and freshmen – like new recruit Jonah Savaiinaea at guard – should help the front five turn into a positive as the year goes on. Michael Wiley is a good veteran back with some nice freshmen behind him, but to keep this going, they need room to move.
Arizona Wildcats Preview 2022: Defense
The Arizona defense wasn’t great, but it was a whole lot better. Considering the offense didn’t help the cause in any way, finishing fifth in the Pac-12 in total D was a miracle.
No, the secondary wasn’t great, and the red zone defense was the worst in college football, but the defense wasn’t awful on third downs, it fought the good fight over and over again, and it allowed over 400 yards in total offense just five times after giving up that many in all five games in 2020 and 11 times in 12 2019 games.
Eight starters are expected back and, like the offense, the help is coming from the transfer portal and recruiting class.
There’s decent size up front and there’s a little bit of depth now. Kyon Barrs is the All-Pac-12 caliber nose for everything to work around, and the freshmen who took their lumps last year will form a good rotation on both sides. The pass rush has to come from the linebacking corps, and it starts with USC transfer Hunter Echols playing a big role. However …
Arizona likes to get as many defensive backs on the field as possible, and they can hit. Christian Young is a 6-3, 222-pound hybrid safety who works well in the Viper role, and the hope is for UCLA transfer DJ Warnell to shine as a nickel defender. The corner tandem of Christian Roland-Wallace and Treydan Stukes will quietly be good if the pass rush can help.