clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Arizona football should handle UTSA, so what are trouble spots to watch from Wildcats?

What do the Wildcats need to focus on before the season gets tougher?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats should win this game at home in Tucson handily, so it's best to look at areas of concern for the Wildcats and what they can improve before the next game.

1. Can Anu Solomon take that next step forward?

The Wildcats are going to have several trouble spots offensively, so Solomon is going to have to dump his inconsistencies and start becoming more efficient on a week-to-week basis.

Daniel Berk of Tucson.com with more on Solomon.

Solomon is the most important. The UA doesn't want to find out what life is like with Jerrard Randall and Brandon Dawkins. In Solomon, coach Rich Rodriguez has a player he can trust to run his scheme without any hitches. With some uncertainty on the offensive line, injuries at wide receiver and two backups with no real game experience, Solomon's health and availability this year are vital.

2. Is the offensive line ready for primetime?

Arizona lost three starting linemen and have two starters in new spots. The Wildcats had to do a lot of mixing and matching in the trenches, and UTSA has a solid enough defense. If Nick Wilson and Solomon are getting stuffed enough on rushes and Arizona is in a tight battle in the second half, that does not bode well for Pac-12 play. More from Berk:

"Offensively, that's certainly the group," coach Rich Rodriguez said when asked if the line was the group he was most unsure about. "Obviously there's a couple of guys that will be playing for the very first time and other guys in different roles. So it's a little nerve-wracking."

3. Can a revamped secondary handle its own?

The Wildcats had an aggressive group of defensive backs that found their way all over the field, tackling ball carriers or quarterbacks in the backfield or mixing into coverage and gaining some fortuitous turnovers for their explosive offensive to capitalize on its own.

More from Bill Connelly and his SB Nation preview of Arizona.

A pessimist notes simply that four departed DBs were not only instrumental in Arizona's big-play prevention but also combined for 18 tackles for loss, seven sacks, eight picks, and 24 breakups, not to mention eight forced fumbles. This unit was deep and experienced enough (and, it must be said, healthy enough) that Casteel could use it aggressively and still avoid disaster. And now it is far less deep, and if the injury bug decides to bite, the experience level will drop off a cliff.