Thanks for stopping by and chatting some Arizona Wildcats football. Game time is less than seven hours away. Let's get started!
I like the Sir Berk, although I'm not sure I deserve that status! In my opinion, the reason Denker will likely start tonight is because he has the best understanding of RichRod's offense and has the timing down. He can make the majority of the throws you need to in that offense. That said, you're right, I don't think he'll make those downfield throws like Matt Scott could, but there aren't a ton of QBs out there that can. I do think he's a solid athlete and can gain some yards with his legs, but I don't expect him to be like a Pat White or Denard Robinson.
RichRod still hasn't told you, huh Ka'Deem? My best guess is you don't play the first half, but I think we see you in the second half. I'd be surprised--not shocked--if you're out the entire game. RichRod has kept quiet on this topic, so no one truly knows, but a one-half suspension is my best guess.
Great question! Bauman is NAU's workhorse and one of the top RBs in the FCS. He had 99 yards down here as a sophomore and is a better runner now than he was then. However, NAU's line has a couple of question marks and isn't as good as it was in 2011. With Carey's uncertainty, my answer to your question is Daniel Jenkins. I think the senior has a big game and is active early and often.
I think that really depends on two major factors. First, how well Denker plays. Secondly, how close the game is. If Denker plays well and the game is relatively close, I wouldn't be surprised to see the senior lefty play the entire game. If he struggles and it's close, you could see as many as three. If he plays well and it's a blowout, I think two or three play. I think Javelle Allen is the No. 2 right now since he has a better understanding of the offense than Jesse Scroggins.
I don't expect to see him tonight. He's a true freshman and is still learning RichRod's complicated offense. He's maybe not as far along as the coaches would like him to be, but I don't think there's a major concern about his future. He still has skills that the coaches like and is a heck of an athlete. Things can certainly change, but I expect him to redshirt this season unless things get real ugly at the QB spot the first few games.
I like this question. We're getting some good ones today! Keep them coming! I'll give you three guys that could have big games. 1. Freshman WR Nate Phillips--he had a strong camp and is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. He's going to see the field a lot tonight and I think RichRod and Co., want to get him the ball. 2. Senior WR Terrence Miller--he's eager to get back on the field after an injury-plagued 2012 season and is the most trusted receiver the UA has. 3. Senior LB Marquis Flowers--I think Flowers has a breakout season this year. He's comfortable at his LB spot after moving from safety last year and is a heck of a talent. Against a smaller NAU team tonight, I think Flowers makes a couple of big-time plays against an inexperienced offensive line and QB.
We won't really know the answer to this question until we have a few games to watch. But, I think they're deeper for sure and more talented. The lack of depth was the biggest issue DC Jeff Casteel wanted to address this offseason and it feels like he did. He was tickled with the play of the freshmen linebackers and thinks they can be instant impact players. They looked good in camp and now will get a shot in a game. Do I think the UA's defense will be one of the best in the country this year? No. Do I think they'll be improved and better than last year? Yes.
He's coming along. He's in the mix like he was in the spring, but still has a bit of a ways to go. If Austin Hill, David Richards and Tyler Slavin were all playing tonight, Griffey could blend in the background and wouldn't be counted on to do much his redshirt freshman season. Since those guys are out, the expectations for him have risen. He'll get a shot tonight and the next two games. WRs coach Tony Dews wants to play as many guys as he can and get his starters plenty of rest.
Another really good question! We may not truly know what the potential of this team is until after the Washington game when the UA travels to LA for its Thursday night game against USC. It will be hard to learn a ton the first three weeks against NAU, UNLV and UTSA. But, we should have a pretty good idea of what this team is about after the road contest at Washington.
I say over, because, as you pointed out, he should return some kicks and punts. But, 100 is a high number and if he doesn't, it certainly won't be a disappointment. But, I think the coaches want to get him the ball tonight.
I personally think you're a little nuts! There's a lot of talent in that division and opening up the conference schedule with two road games isn't an easy task. They might be better than some of the experts are predicting (SI has the UA going 5-7), but I think the South champions may be going a little far.
I think with the schedule UA has this year (missing Stanford and Oregon State), reaching six wins should be an attainable goal. So, yes, I do think this team goes to a bowl game this year.
I think Tra'Mayne Bondurant is the man in the secondary who will have a big game. He's aggressive, likes taking chances and is going against a QB making his first-career start at the position. As for special teams, that's a good question. It sounds like the competition during fall camp for placekicking between Jake Smith and Casey Skowron was a good one. They both seemed to please RichRod and I bet they both get a shot tonight. I think in the end, they should be in decent shape at that spot. Drew Riggleman is the punter and has a big leg. He needs to work on his consistency, which should come with game experience.
The Wildcats have 24 known commitments for next season, plus Texas transfers Connor Brewer and Cayleb Jones. That gets them 26. If Davonte' Neal isn't cleared for this season, that's 27 incoming players for 2014. I guess they add 5-6 more guys before signing day in February, with the possibility that a few guys on board right now end up de-committing.
It really seems like we should have heard by now. When camp opened, RichRod made it sound like it would just be a few days before he found out about Neal's status. That changed to a week and then sometime before the game. Obviously, like you said, the game is in six hours and we still don't know for sure. It seems like one way or the other, they should have made a call by now. I really don't know what the holdup is at this point.
A big one. If Neal is cleared, he'll jump right into the mix. He'd be one of their top receivers and playmakers on offense. There's a reason they want him to play and are trying so hard to get him cleared. He's a guy that is really good in space and seems to like and understand RichRod's offense. The coaches have him on the scout team right now, but he's still getting enough reps in practice to keep up with the system and know the plays.
I'm glad we all agree the T-Pads leaving is Pat Finley's fault. Clearly not mine! I'm really going to miss them by the way. Anyway, the defense...A few guys I think you see a lot tonight. 1. LB Scooby Wright (and not just because I enjoy typing Scooby). He had a great camp and really impressed his coaches and teammates. He's going see plenty of action. 2. CB Devin Holiday. He'll give Jonathan McKnight a breather at times and could see some time at the nickel position. 3. LB Derrick Turituri. This man is a load and brings some much-needed size to the defense. Expect to see him on third downs. I do think these true freshmen will help the defense. When I see names like Sir Thomas Jackson, Dakota Conwell and C.J. Dozier missing from the two-deep, it tells me the coaches think these freshmen are going to be good right away.
I'm answering this for entertainment purposes only of course, but 33.5 sounds high to me. I think an NAu team that went 8-3 last year and return 18 starters should be able to keep it closer than that.
I think Denker ends up starting the most games, but you're right, the emergence of Javelle Allen this fall camp has been intriguing. I also wouldn't count out Jesse Scroggins. Something to remember: When West Virginia's Pat White had his breakout season for RichRod, he wasn't named the starter out of camp. He split reps with Adam Bednarik (who??) before Bednarik suffered an injury and White took over.
I think the defensive coaches are still excited about Kelley and his potential impact. He hasn't created a ton of buzz this camp, you're right about that, but he should still play plenty tonight. I think tonight's game is a good one for the UA's defensive line to have so early. NAU's offensive line is shaky and should give Kelley and other defensive linemen some chances to get to the quarterback.
It sure seems like Ka'Deem is going to face more attention from opposing defenses. With no Matt Scott or Austin Hill, things will certainly be tougher for him. That said, as my man Ryan Finley has pointed out a couple times this week, who was talking about Austin Hill this time, last year? There could very well be a WR on the roster poised to have a breakout season and take the pressure off Ka'Deem.
This is a good one to end on. Believe it or not, I've never been to Northern California so I am stoked for the Cal trip. I also think that should be a good game and an intriguing storyline with Sonny Dykes as the head man there now. I'm also never opposed to a trip to Boulder. I love that town!
Thanks so much for joining me today to talk some Arizona Wildcats football. I got some excellent questions. Let's do it again next week. Enjoy the game tonight and be sure to pick up a Star tomorrow. We'll have tons of good stuff in there. Thanks again!