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Arizona football recruiting needs, plus USC takes

We chat with our Wildcat writers to learn more about what the Wildcats have to do for the present and the future.

Ethan Miller

If you were Arizona, where would your focus be on the recruiting front to help improve the Wildcats?

Jason Bartel, Arizona Desert Swarm: Defensive line could be an issue with two seniors in Tevin Hood and Sione Tuihalamaka leaving. I'm horrible when it comes to understanding recruiting, but as far as I can tell from the transfers and the guys that are sitting out this year, the offense is in a pretty good place moving forward, and a lot of freshmen at linebacker and in the secondary are proving they can play big boy football.

Kevin Zimmerman, Arizona Desert Swarm: There aren't any notable holes at any one position this season aside from quarterback, but at that spot, the Wildcats will certainly have more options next season with Texas transfer Connor Brewer and four-star recruit Brandon Dawkins committed. On offense, Ka'Deem Carey and Daniel Jenkins will leave a big hole to fill at running back, and what's left behind them is relatively unknown. Defensively, Arizona will be losing some guys in the secondary, but most importantly will need to begin recruiting better athletes there and along the defensive line. Right now, the spurs, bandit and linebackers are carrying a lot of weight on their shoulders.

Adam Butler, Pac Hoops: Depth, depth, depth and I'd be scrounging that up out of Southern California. That area has been a national pipeline but RichRod holds some national cred and while the area is a one-headed monster I'd jump in there and gather up as much talent as I could. What's more is the Wildcats are still just filling a nearly baron cupboard stemming from the Stoops era. Plus, why wouldn't I want to get over to SoCal?

What are the keys to victory against USC? How do the Wildcats pull off a win in what figures to be an emotional environment in Los Angeles?

Jason Bartel, Arizona Desert Swarm: I think that the offense and the defense need to be able to weather the storm early in the game, and then hopefully take control of the game in the second half. I don't expect Arizona to be leading at halftime, but the USC defense showed against ASU that they will tire out against a fast-paced offense, and they didn't look particularly good against the read-option plays that the Devils were throwing at them. So basically, playing a full 60 minutes and not getting down on themselves early in the game is key for the Wildcats this week.

Kevin Zimmerman, Arizona Desert Swarm: Stay home. The defense can't take too many risks. USC is bound to try some tricky things this week with Ed Orgeron trying to make the Trojans have fun playing football again. USC is probably going to pound the small Wildcats with their run game, so the offensive needs to at least keep the defense fresh by winning the time-of-possession battle. And the offense simply has to keep the defense honest. It very well could've been a fluke and a snowball effect last week against ASU, but the Trojans are darn good. Arizona has to get 3-4 yards per play without trying to do too much.

Adam Butler, Pac Hoops: The primary key would be to outscore them. After that, I'm interested to see how the Wildcats have adjusted within the passing game. Defensively we were satisfied with what we saw in Washington and no one has been overly impressed with USC's offense. With Marqise Lee remaining "highly questionable" the Arizona defense has got to be feeling at least a little more comfortable. If you'll recall, he caught 345 yards of pass in Tucson last fall. You might also recall this awesome video. Alas, the Wildcats may be best suited in controlling this ball game's tempo in order to win it. I imagine these Trojans will be chomping at the bit to get out and move. Slowing the tempo - yes I'm asking that of a RichRod offense - may behoove them early.