Arizona has been putting up ridiculous numbers in their last three games. Nick Foles is dominating right now and leads the nation in completion percentage at 73.9%. He also has 1152 yards with 9 TD and only 2 INT's. Both INT's are questionable as to his fault. Also, Nic Grigsby is leading Arizona's rushing attack with 509 yards on only 62 attempts for an 8.21 yards per carry. There is no question that the Cats offense is on fire right now. So, what can the Cats improve on? Seriously?
If you think you know the answer, check for more after the jump.
Defense. You guessed it. Atrocious. That's the only word for it. When your offense has been scoring like ours has, it only takes a few defensive stands to turn a game around quickly. Imagine Arizona scoring on consecutive series and actually having a padded lead. Getting up in a football game allows the defensive coordinator to open up his playbook. Arizona is giving up 332 yards per game and that is including Central Michigan and NAU. Our linebackers have been the major weakness in our defensive unit this year and a change needs to be made.
(Time for Xavier Kelly to step it up at the LB position)
I am not sure if Stoops should try other players or switch the scheme to allow the linebackers to plug the holes faster. C.J. Parish is a key player who almost gives you another defensive back on the field with his 4.5 speed. We either need to play more in the box or go deeper on the defensive back (Parish) attack for the linebackers.
Keys to the Game:
Kickoff Coverage: Arizona gives up an average of 21.48 yards per return, good enough for 64th in the nation. This is ridiculous. No team with as much speed as Arizona should give up this amount of yards on special teams kickoffs. It killed us in the Washington game and could come back to haunt us again in the future. Something has to change. What's the deal? Coach Hammerschmidt needs to figure something out, and do it quick.
Vertical Passing Game: Teams that have been watching Arizona know that our wide receiver screen play has been our bread and butter since the Oregon State game. It's time to start mixing in some more vertical passes to our inside receivers and Simmons. The screen replaced our weak rushing game during Grigsby and Antolin's injury phases and should now be used less as a short yardage substitute for the run.
Home Field Advantage: Arizona has won 10 of its last 12 games at home and winners of 3 of the last 4 against UCLA, the Cats look to continue their winning ways in Tucson. That means the home fans need to keep up the good work in giving the Cats a true advantage. An average of 51,928 fans have attended the Cats first 4 games of the year. No doubt, UCLA will be another great game at home and hopefully the stands will be loud and intimidating to the visiting UCLA players.