How much do you trust B.J. Denker after his first two performances? What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?
Jason: I've found that I'm sort of the contrarian here, and I think Denker is doing exactly what he needs to be doing to get the most out of this offense. Through two games, he doesn't have a pick, and his only turnover was on a botched snap in the third quarter of UNLV. He's shown that he can read defenses effectively. If you count the Colorado game from last year, the team's averaging about 50 points per game in his three games. I think that's pretty good. I'd rather have him out there than Javelle Allen or Jesse Scroggins.
I think his biggest strength is recognizing where the running lanes are immediately. That shows with the large number of really long runs that the Cats have had in the first two games. His weakness is recognizing open guys downfield. Everything seems to be at a quicker pace for him compared to everyone else, and he doesn't get his eyes downfield enough to see if someone's actually open down there. He just decides to take off the second the pocket collapses even a little bit on him.
Kevin: I actually trust Denker more than most people, I think. The general feel is everyone is very down on him, but if we're talking about trust, he seems to be making the right plays and not trying anything he can't do -- I think he knows the offense better than any other quarterback and is a decent-enough game manager. He's pulling the ball on zone reads, isn't forcing passes into tight spaces when he shouldn't and aside from a couple of possessions late in the UNLV game hasn't played out of his comfort zone.
Now, the issue is whether he's too one-dimensional. Everyone is worried about his lack of an arm and lack of accuracy on passes greater than 10 or 15 yards. Rich Rodriguez has coached offenses that didn't necessarily have a great passer and had success, so we're hoping that's the case if Denker is truly the best option. He looks like he's fast enough to be a threat to run so that fits with the offense. But if teams start stacking the box on the run game, it sure will get interesting.
With Ka'Deem Carey back, do you think are the Wildcats the second most explosive offense in the Pac-12?
Jason: Eh, tough to say. Washington and UCLA probably have strong cases for that distinction. Don't think he'll keep up his average of over 10 yards a carry, but having three running threats (Carey, Jenkins and Denker) on every play is kind of nice.
Kevin: I think because of the one-dimension aspect of this offense, it might be third or fourth in terms of explosiveness, at best. Oregon, ASU and UCLA can all run the ball and pack a lot of snaps into little time. Washington so far has also looked impressive since Keith Price has a little bit of time in the pocket. So even with Carey, I think the lack of a passing threat will do a great deal to keep it simple for opposing defenses.