Arizona's week off could not have come at a better time with a few Cats working on getting healthy including both of our tailbacks, Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin. Arizona will travel to Seattle to take on the Huskies of Washington who have to be kicking themselves for not being able to execute close to the goal line against Notre Dame. So, what should the Cats look to improve on and prepare for this week in preparation of Washington on Saturday? Let's break some of it down:
Nick Foles: Time to step it up. Oregon State was a huge coming out party. I truly think that if Foles were playing against Iowa, we would be 4-0. Regardless, Foles can't have a slump after his big debut. Dykes needs to produce plays that will give Foles some early confidence while playing in the rowdy Seattle atmosphere. Look for simple hooks and "smoke screen" for the young man to get his rhythm started. I would avoid throwing the fade, unless we are going for a TD.
Running Backs: Get healthy Grigsby. Get healthy Antolin. Arizona can only go down from the game against Oregon State. Our line dominated and all of our backs made terrific plays. Keep up the good work. Washington will have some huge linemen, who can be managed, and our OL should be competitive.
D-Line: Stoops needs to make sure Horton stays on the sideline as much as possible. Lolomana Mikaele was much better at DT and is one of the guys who can make a difference in the middle. Elmore, Mitchell, and Reed are as solid as any D-line in the conference. We are going to need to put pressure on Locker in order to win this game. Period. Chris Polk racked up 136 yards on 22 carries against Notre Dame. He can really get going if you let him.
Linebackers: Oregon State had these guys running around like a bunch of chickens with their necks cut off. They need to step it up, big time. Xavier Kelly and Corey Hall (played a lot at rover) looked out of place all night. Let's hope they get back on track.
Secondary: If Trevin Wade keeps playing like he is, he should be a front runner for the Thorpe Award. Locker ate up a lot of Notre Dame DB's last Saturday. He has a huge arm and can move around in the pocket enough to create his own looks on broken plays.
Offensive Play Calling: On offense, I think the Cats I formation will be the formation of choice. Chris Gronkowski will be the fullback and Grigs or Antolin will be behind him. I am looking for Foles to hit 10-15 passes under the 15 yard mark with some play action mixed in going for the big one. The one thing the Cats have been missing all season is a vertical attack down the middle (Gronk! damn). I think Simmons should get one or two passes down the seam to keep the safeties honest and hopefully open up some opportunities on the outside.
Defensive Play Calling: Locker will absolutely torch you if you give him time. Look for Stoops to bring the heat with Tuihalamaka or Xavier Kelly on blitzes and possibly dropping Mitchell or Elmore into zone coverage in the flats or 1/3ds on their side. Our Defensive line must get pressure on Locker. Arizona can't be predictable and should line up for man to man and different zone coverages to hinder the pass. Of course, if we stop the running game, we should be able to make them one dimensional and turn the tides fast.