With all the uncertainty over who Arizona Wildcats coach Mike Stoops will hire, I'd like to turn the focus to the players for a bit. Heading into the 2011 season, there are positives and negatives with regard to players leaving and staying. In the past week or so, there have been announcements that were exciting, and deflating. So let's take a look at what we think we know so far.
QB Nick Foles will return. While for me this is a negative, it is a positive for the Wildcats to have him on the roster next season. I personally would have liked to see Nick Foles enter the draft, and let Matt Scott take the QB1 slot uncontested. More on this in the 'negatives' section.
WR Juron Criner will return. This is the best news of the post-season so far. With Dan Buckner joining the WR corps, he and Juron Criner look to be among the best 1-2 WR combos in the nation. Coach stoops has already stated that he will be pushing the offense more towards a pass-friendly spread, so this offense could be prolific.
P Kyle Dugandzic signed a letter of intent to play for Arizona. Yes, Arizona has a new punter. I don't need to say a lot here. We all know the situation with the kickers. And yes, coach Stoops has stated that it is possible that another kicker will be signed. The only Arizona kicker that appears to be safe is John Bonano, who Stoops apparently likes as a kickoff specialist. Then again, if Kyle Dugandzic and a potential second recruit perform well enough, it is likely that none of the kickers from 2010 will see any time in 2011. Breathe a sigh of relief, Wildcat fans. Coach Stoops is addressing the horrible kicking situation.
Check out the negatives after the jump.
OL Vaughn Dotsy and DE Apaiata Tuihalamaka forced to end football careers due to injury. Ouch. The offensive and defensive lines looked to be a major question next season, and this news just makes it worse. Vaughn Dotsy was to be a leader on the offensive line, and will be sorely missed. Apaiata Tuihalamaka was to provide much needed depth at DE, and now the load on DT Justin Washington will be a bit heavier. Hopefully the new OL and DT coaches are up to the challenge. On a positive note, former co-offensive coordinator and OL coach Bill Bedenbaugh stated that the group likely to start on the OL next season looked to have the greatest potential of any he had coached. We'll see.
The QB controversy continues. Not only will Matt Scott and Nick Foles likely battle for the starting QB position in the 2011 pre-season, but if Scott doesn't win the starting job outright, he may redshirt, so he can start in 2012. This headache will never go away. I'll state this again. I'm pulling for Matt Scott to be the unquestioned starter at QB next season. He may not be as accurate as Foles, but few are. Let's go over why he should start.
-He is a good passer. He can make all the necessary throws, and looks to take another leap forward in his passing game over the summer.
-He is mobile. I'm not advocating a bunch of designed run plays. I'm saying that he is extremely talented at escaping the blitz, and making something out of nothing. Further, his ability to scramble forces defenses to play the run as well as the pass, leaving receivers open.
-When Scott plays, the entire offense is better. The rushing yardage is over 100 yards higher when Scott starts, and it is not at the expense of the passing game. Scott completed 71% of his passes this season, and was surprisingly accurate under pressure.
So, tell me what you think about these positives and negatives. Which excites or concerns you the most, and why?