#46 Arizona Football 2013 Preview

Arizona Wildcats

Overall Rank: #46
# 8 Pac-12

Arizona Team Page#46 Arizona Football 2013 PreviewBuy Arizona Football Tickets

The Rich Rodriguez era got off to a nice start in year one as the Arizona football program got big wins over Oklahoma State and USC at home in Tucson. The Wildcats do face a huge task of replacing Matt Scott, the fifth-year senior starting quarterback in 2012 who led a school record setting offense with over 500 yards per game. There is a still a need for some depth in the program, especially on defense, but there is a lot of confidence in this program after last year’s eight-win season. If the Wildcats can stay healthy, they should be able to light up the scoreboard and give Pac-12 teams fits all season long and compete for a spot in the upper tier of the Pac-12 South Division.

2012 Record: (8-5, 4-5)
2012 Bowl: New Mexico Bowl vs. Nevada (W 49-48)
Coach: Rich Rodriguez (8-5 at Arizona, 128-89-2 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Calvin Magee, Rod Smith
Defensive Coordinator: Jeff Casteel

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ka’Deem Carey, RB, 1,929 yards
Passing: B.J. Denker, QB, 259 yards
Receiving: Austin Hill, WR, 1,364 yards
Tackles: Jake Fischer, LB, 119
Sacks: Marquis Flowers, LB, 5.5
Interceptions: Marquis Flowers, LB, 3; Jonathan McKnight, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: WR David Richards, WR Garic Wharton, WR Richard Morrison, OL Cayman Bundage, OL Chris Putton, CB Shaquille Richardson, S Tra’Mayne Bondurant, S Jared Tevis, DE Reggie Gilbert

Key Losses: QB Matt Scott, WR Dan Buckner, OL Addison Bachman, OL Trace Biskin, C Kyle Quinn, OL Shane Zink, RB Daniel Jenkins, TE Drew Robinson

The durability of Ka’Deem Carey at running back is going to be the cornerstone of the up-tempo Rich Rodriguez spread offense in 2013. Carey is probably the best returning running back in the country and is a legit threat to get to 2,000 yards if he stays out of trouble and injury free. The returning experience on the offensive line is a huge plus as well for the Wildcats. The trio of Mickey Bauccus, Chris Putton, and Fabbians Ebberle are multi-year starters that will anchor the growth of the offense until a quarterback steps to the forefront and takes control of the void left by Matt Scott. In addition, it will be vital to replace the depth in the receiver core to offset the loss of Austin Hill, who is out with a knee injury until November.    

The defense has to take steps forward in 2013. They gave up a school record 499 yards per game last season. Depth was a huge issue last year on the defensive side of the ball and will continue to be until Rodriguez acquires the recruiting numbers to achieve a more balanced level. The development of more depth this season will go a long way in protecting the defense from wearing down later in games. The kicking game also has questions to answer.  Syracuse transfer Jake Smith will need to be effective on field goals and extra points. The Wildcats lost three games by seven points or less in 2012. Walk-on Drew Riggleman will be in at punter and will need to do a solid job of protecting field position for Arizona. The inexperience at quarterback needs to be settled fast.  B.J. Denker is the one returner who has the most experience in a three-way battle for the starting job.

The Bottom Line:
The Wildcats should start out fast as the non-conference schedule has Northern Arizona, UNLV, and Texas San-Antonio at home. Thus, the Wildcats should start the season with a 3-0 record before tough back-to-back road games against Washington and USC.  If Arizona can replace the production of Austin Hill with players like David Richards in the passing game and have a quarterback step up they should end October with a 5-2 record at worst. The most likely candidate to start at quarterback will be B.J. Denker, a Colorado transfer. Then, the Wildcats should be in position to be peaking in November when UCLA and Oregon come to Tucson on consecutive weekends. Overall, Rodriquez’s second season should develop more depth on defense and more comfort and continuity on offense to put the Wildcats in a position to win eight or nine games in 2013.

Projected Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 227.8(15th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 298.4 (23, 3)
Total Offense: 526.2 (7, 2)
Scoring Offense: 38.2 (15, 3)
Rushing Defense: 206.2 (105, 11)
Pass Defense: 292.9 (117, 12)
Total Defense: 499.0 (118, 12)
Scoring Defense: 35.3 (102, 11)
Turnover Margin: -0.08 (63, 8)
Sacks: 1.23 (108, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (28, 2)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#43 Ka'Deem Carey
#107 Austin Hill

Madness 2013 Recruit Rankings:
#233 Pierre Cormier


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