After a blowout loss at home to USC, the Arizona Wildcats find themselves in much need of their upcoming bye week. Much ado was made about the first career start of 17-year-old freshman quarterback Khalil Tate, and all that hype was whisked away by the end of the third quarter Saturday when Rich Rodriguez subbed in a reserve tight end ( senior Matt Morin) to spell the struggling Tate. With injuries abound, the Wildcats are in dire need of players getting healthy before hitting the backstretch of their schedule, which begins in just under two weeks at home against Stanford.
While the backstretch of Arizona’s schedule is, on paper, easier than the front half, a bowl game appearance for Arizona would appear out of reach at this point. Sitting at 2-5, Arizona would need to finish 4-1 or better to reach the .500 mark needed to be bowl eligible. To be frank, Arizona may be better suited trying to get healthy, getting some young players reps/experience, and trying to win its rivalry game against ASU in late November. Just as well, the Territorial Cup against ASU is a barometer of success for both teams in most years anyways.
Rich Rodriguez is fairly shouldering a lot of the blame for what is looking like a lost season. He is in charge, he is the main voice clamoring for better football facilities in the offseason, and he is the one who the buck stops for. Injuries at several main positions, however, are out of his control. At the quarterback position, especially, Rich Rod has been left with a rather barren cupboard. Anu Solomon remains out currently and likely for much of the year. Brandon Dawkins has shown promise, but has also left or been limited physically in multiple games in his young career due to injuries. Does Rich Rod continue to trot out Khalil Tate, who obviously needs more time to adjust to the offensive scheme and college game as a whole? Or does he work with Dawkins, the redshirt sophomore who has at least some semblance of comfort with the offense? Building a team with experience at key positions is imperative in order to be a successful team in college football. Unless Arizona pulls a 180 on this season, that will be the biggest, and maybe only, positive to come out of this year.