Arizona Wildcats still trail ASU, UCLA in Pac-12 South

Ethan Miller

We concluded our conversation with Jason Bartel and Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Desert Swarm to learn more about the Wildcats and what they still have to work on to get better as a team.

What do the Wildcats still have to work on as a team to improve? What are the biggest weaknesses you see so far?

Jason: Pass protection and punting are probably the two biggest areas. Think Denker will look downfield more against UTSA and he'll prove that he can throw the ball. The longest completion of the year so far is 31 yards, and that was in the first couple minutes of the NAU game. Biggest weakness is clearly the passing game. Part of that's on Denker, and part of that's on the inexperience at receiver.

Kevin: Can't really go with anything other than the lack of a passing attack here. The defense was bad last season but looks much improved from last year, though I suppose you could worry about the lack of pass rush (I don't believe we've seen anything more than basic schemes from Jeff Casteel to this point, however). Likewise, there are a lot of returning players across the roster. Even with a few freshmen in the receiving group, it all comes down to who can get them the ball.

Again, it's a wonder what's behind Denker. It's easy to say Arizona should try to find a quarterback who's a better passer, but there must be a reason Rodriguez hasn't pulled the trigger on that.

Where would you rank Arizona in the Pac-12 South at this moment based on how everyone else has performed?

Jason: Third behind UCLA and ASU.

Kevin: I'd put the Wildcats third behind UCLA and ASU. For as big of questions as they have, I think the Wildcats deserve to be ranked ahead of USC. And though Utah has shown signs its ready to come in the Pac-12, I'm not going to buy into their success until the consistency is there.

UCLA and ASU deserve to be ahead of Arizona. They have better defenses. Oh, and they are pretty set at QB.

What new things would you like to see from Arizona against UTSA?

Jason: New thing? I'd like to see Denker have less than 11 rushing attempts. He's not big enough to take the kind of punishment he's been taking for an entire year.

I'd like to see Ka'Deem Carey start, and I have a feeling that'll happen. Jenkins started the UNLV game because RichRod said he "earned it". I think Ka'Deem went out there and earned the starting job back.

Kevin: If we get away from the quarterback situation, I'd like to see the Wildcats continue with their playmaking on the defense side of things. So far they've scored more points from the defense than they've given up, and against a cupcake non-conference schedule, that'd be good to keep up with.

But yeah, it'd be nice to see if there are any other quarterbacks who might be better off. At the least, it'd be nice to see Denker get more opportunities to toss it about, just to get him more comfortable once Arizona needs him to take some pressure off the run game.

Follow Jason and Kevin on Twitter and check out Arizona Desert Swarm for more Wildcats action!

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