Only 12 days before the Cats take on the Rockets of Toledo in Ohio on September 3, 2010 at 8:00 E.S.T. The Cats are making their last minute adjustments before the start of the season and should solidify their starters within the week. The Cats look to continue their winning ways and build on their success from 2009. The Cats did not make the AP Top 25 but have a chance to quickly gain momentum into the rankings after the Iowa game early in the spring.
The Cats return 12 starters (8 on offense and 4 on defense). There may be some question as to who the starter is due to Matt Scott's impressive performance in the scrimmage last week. However, after Foles' impressive season last year and his performance in practice, he will be behind center on September 3 against Toledo. Look for Matt Scott to come in only on mop up duty or to give the Cats a change of pace should we find a team where his feet can exploit him. The Cats added Cameron Allerheiligen from Keller, Texas late in the recruiting process after Matt Brown decommitted from the Cats after Sonny Dykes' departure.
The offensive line brings back Adam Grant, Conan Amituanai, Colin Baxter, Vaughn Dotsy and Phillip Garcia. All of them have experience from last year and Colin Baxter is on the preseason Outland Trophy Wasch List. This will be the Cats strongest group and should allow Foles to have plenty of time in the pocket and give huge holes for our running backs. Look for leadership to come from this unit. The Cats added Mickey Baucus, Fabbians Ebbele, Carter Lees, and Trent Spurgeon to their already solid underclassmen class. Arizona is really building on their successful 2008 recruiting class and new blood is in the pipeline.
Senior Nic Grigsby and Junior Keola Antolin return to this year's team. Greg Nwoko, who contributed well last season, also will come back to the Cats this season. The Cats still look to be a pass-first type of offense after racking up 407.5 yards per game last year and 29.7 points per game. Most of these yards and points came through the air. These guys should have a huge year on yards per carry but depending on Foles' arm and our receiving corps, their overall yardage numbers could be down. The Cats did not sign a running back in the 2010 class.
Delashaun Dean was arrested on June 22, 2010 and charged with one count of suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon. He was suspended indefinitely from the team. One week later, he transferred to Texas A&M Kingsville. How quickly things can change. The Cats will utilize Juron Criner, William Wright, and Dave Roberts, David Roberts, and Travis Cobb at receiver this year. Tyler Slavin, a true freshman, may contribute off the bat as he blazing speed. The Cats added Tyler Slavin, Dan Buckner (One of my favorites from the University of Texas who must sit out this season), Austin Hill, Dexter Ransom and Garic Wharton. The Cats will use A.J. Simmons and Jack Baucus at Tight Ends. RE-LOADING....
Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed. Enough said. The outside of the defensive line is covered. Watch out for these guys. The inside will be covered by Sione Tuihalamaka and Lolomana Mikaele. Good luck to the announcers this year. Sione is a redshirt freshman and should step up big time. They can't be any worse than our guys last year who were exposed early in the year by Iowa's massive offensive line. These guys will once again be tested by Iowa on September 18, 2010. These guys are going to be crucial to the Cats due to the departure of all three linebackers from last year. Hopefully, the front four can keep opposing offensive linemen dealing with them and give our linebackers the room they need to make the plays. The Cats added Saneilia Fuimaono, Willie Mobley, Dan Pettinato, Kirifi Leuta-Taula, and Mohammed Usman to their roster for the class of 2010.
New blood! All three linebackers from last year are gone and the Cats are filling the void with some unproven players and a stud in Jake Fischer. Fischer, along with Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo will be the starters this year. This unit is going to have to step it up big time this year and show that there will be no drop off from last year's squad. I don't think that's going to be an issue considering how out of place our linebackers were all season last year. The Cats added Kyle Benson, Derek Earls, and Paul Vassalo to their squad.
The Cats return Robert Golden, Trevin Wade, Joe Perkins and Anthony Wilcox. Golden and Wade received huge chunks of playing time last year. The Cats will utilize their 5 star recruit from last year, Adam Hall, to be the nickel back in passing situations. There are a lot of newcomers waiting in the wings who need to get some experience this year. The Cats added Marquis Flowers, Jourdan Grandon, and Josh Robbins to the squad in the 2010 class.
Overall, the Cats are bringing back 12 starters from last year but others that will get playing time this year were effective in backup roles last year. It's going to be a fun season with the kickoff on Friday night on ESPN. Let's hope the Cats can take care of business as the Rockets are no slouch of a team.