Thanks for stopping by today and chatting some Arizona Wildcats football. There were tons of good questions last week. I'm looking forward to another good session today. Lets get it started!
Even though the offense ran just 47 plays, I thought their pace of play on offense was about where it was last season. On the team's first drive of the game, where it went 75 yards in 10 plays, the tempo was really solid. NAU was back on its heels and B.J. Denker and the offense took advantage. It maybe slowed as the game progressed a bit, but I didn't sense from RichRod that it was a big cause for concern this week.
I was definitely surprised last night when RichRod said Jenkins was going to start again Saturday night and Ka'Deem would come off the bench and play in the first half. That tells me Ka'Deem is still working his way back into the good graces of the coaching staff and they don't want to just hand him everything back. Jenkins did play well against NAU, but it's certainly surprising to put Ka'Deem in a reserve role. We'll see how long that lasts. It
It's going to be fun and interesting to see how Ka'Deem runs when he finally gets on the field. I'd think he'll have more yards Saturday than Jenkins.
Not yet. RichRod said on Monday that he was hoping to hear something by today. It's certainly been strange how long this thing has dragged out and I know the UA coaches and Neal's teammates are really hoping to hear something as soon as possible. I still think it's a longshot that he's cleared to play, but it's hard to really know. As soon as we know anything, we'll pass it on.
I wouldn't be too concerned yet. I think it's important to see how Denker plays against some FBS teams when RichRod and the offensive staff open up the playbook a little more. The head coach has said he wants to be more aggressive in the passing game this week and going forward, so I think we'll know more here in the next week or two. My feel is that this team will be more of a running team than a passing team this year, but that has more to do with having Ka'Deem Carey and Daniel Jenkins in the backfield than it does lack of arm strength by Denker or the other QBs.
I'm sticking with my grade, but certainly understand people who say it should be a D or lower. You are right that the two fumbles could have flipped the momentum of the game. I still think the special teams did a few things well and that's why I went with the C. Jake Smith made all of his extra points and four of his six kickoffs went for touchbacks. It's certainly a unit that has to improve as the season moves forward. But, I will admit, I'm a generous grader. I always enjoyed those when I was in school!
They were both definitely in the mix and should have gotten a decent amount of playing time this season. Conwell was a guy that the coaches were excited about in the spring and really came on toward the end of his freshman season last year. Freshmen like Scooby Wright, Derrick Turituri, DeAndre Miller and even Jake Matthews were going to make it harder on Conwell and Dozier to get on the field, but they were both going to have some sort of a role. Obviously, health comes first and RichRod said when their doctors urged retirement, both players made the right call to quit playing football.
I don't know the exact protocol, but do know the coaches have been very aware and cautious with players suffering concussions this year. Several players were held out of practices after suffering headaches and see multiple doctors and have examinations before returning to the field. In the case of Conwell and Dozier, they both had suffered concussions prior to this season and were urged to retire. It seems like the program is on top of it and not letting any of their players on the field with any symptoms.
We're only allowed to watch the first 20 minutes of practice, so it's hard to know if it was one or two units that really annoyed the coach. My gut feeling after practice and then again yesterday, was that it really was more of an entire team deal. I just don't think he liked the effort that was given and thought it was sloppy following a win that he thought could have been even bigger. I also think he wanted to really get his team's attention. To me, that UNLV score last week to Minnesota was a bit deceiving and the Rebels actually played pretty well at times. My guess is RichRod didn't want to take anything for granted this week and wanted to make sure he had the full attention of his players the entire week and didn't want them to pay too much attention to UNLV's result from last week.
I'd expect to see Drew Riggleman punt again this week. You have to remember this is a local kid, who was getting his first game experience at Arizona Stadium. The nerves for him had to be crazy high and it showed. But, he has a strong leg and won the job in fall camp. I'd doubt they would make a change after just one game. He also had a 55-yard punt in the middle of his two in the teens. If he continues to struggle, it wouldn't surprise me to see Jake Smith get a shot, but I think the job is still Riggleman's to lose.
I wouldn't read too much into it. He still appears to be fourth on the depth chart behind Denker, Allen and Scroggins. RichRod said last night the decision to put him on the travel squad this weekend was mostly about getting the Las Vegas native a quick trip back home. From all indications, he's done everything the coaches have asked and is progressing, but we all know this is a tough system to learn for a true freshman. It would certainly surprise me to see him play Saturday.
Good question here. UNLV's biggest strength is probably their skillplayers. Running back Tim Cornett is a load. He's a north-south runner, but also has enough speed to outrun defenders. He had more than 1,200 yards last season on a bad team and the UA will certainly have to limit him on Saturday. QB Nick Sherry also looked better last week and has a big arm. His stats aren't great from last year, but he's a big guy with plenty of ability. Combine those two with receiver Devante Davis and for a team with four wins in two years, the Rebels are in pretty good shape at those three spots. The UA has to keep those guys in check in order to have a good weekend in Vegas.
Boy, I'd love to know the answer to that. I asked RichRod about that last night after practice and he said it will depend on the flow of the game. To me, it would seem like they'd want to see a little more of Javelle Allen. The guy gets in and on his first series takes a run 61 yards for a score. I'd certainly be intrigued if I was a coach. But, if Denker is playing well and the game is relatively close, they may be hesitant to turn things over to the redshirt freshman. I'd be surprised to see Scroggins get "quality minutes," but that doesn't mean it won't happen.