Jon Woods of RalphieReport.com, SBNation's Colorado site, joined Desert Swarm to talk Saturday's Buffalo-Wildcat tilt. Since joining the Pac-12 Conference, CU has serious bragging rights over Arizona. The Buffaloes beat UA in the Pac-12 basketball tournament to finish the season 2-1 over the Wildcats, and last year in the inaugural football showdown stampeded out to a big, early lead.
Arizona will try to exact a measure of revenge and secure a bowl bid on Saturday. What can Wildcat fans expect from the Buffaloes? Ralphie Report sounds off.
Q. Which quarterback gives CU the best opportunity to beat Arizona?
It's really too hard to say right now because we have only seen the back-ups, Nick Hirschman and Connor Wood, when the team is already down by a significant margin. We have a good idea what Jordan Webb can do and we know that his ceiling is not high enough to consistently beat Pac-12 opponents. We have finally gotten what we've been asking for, a real shot for a quarterback other than Webb, and it will be interesting to see how they do?
Q. How does the offense most effectively attack the 3-3-5 defense?
RR: Well, this offense doesn't attack any defense effectively. It would have to be a 3-3-3...
I believe you attack it with a heavy dose of running and trying to pound a defense that doesn’t have a lot of size on the field. Running the ball and keeping the Arizona offense off the field is a priority to attempt to try and stay in the game. We frankly don’t have the speed to attack Arizona vertically with our receivers so running the ball is key.
Q. Where do you see Jon Embree in the rebuilding process? Obviously Dan Hawkins left a big project; I see it a bit like Stoops coming into Arizona after Mackovic when the earth was salted. How long does it get to get things on track, and what are your benchmarks for success this early?
RR: He certainly has a lot of work to do still. There will most likely be changes on his staff in the offseason and who he is able to bring in will go a long way towards helping him achieve that success. Next year, the roster will be filled with "Embree guys" and the youth excuse won't really be applicable. I think the floor for Embree has to be 5 wins next season, if not a bowl game. But if he doesn't find a quarterback that can be successful I'm not sure that I can see how he can get there.
Q. How much different is this season with Richardson available?
RR: It certainly would have helped, he is the one receiver on this team who can stretch a defense and his leadership would be a huge help to the rest of the unit. But seeing what we have from this team, I don't know that it would have made much of a difference in conference play. The CSU and Sacramento State games could have turned out a bit differently though.
Q: A basketball question, since there seems to be a fun rivalry building between these teams: coming off its conference championship run and NCAA tournament appearance, the Buffs seem to get no love. Where do you see CU stacking up in the Pac-12 race? Is another NCAA in the works? Another league title possible?
RR: Personally, I think the team will finish anywhere from 3-5. The Buffs lost a lot of leadership from last years NCAA Tournament team and will need some new guys to step into those roles. But there is a ton of talent still there. Andre Roberson is going to have a monster season and will be in the hunt for Pac-12 Player of the Year. Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker should improve on very strong freshmen seasons and the Buffaloes have a fantastic recruiting class coming in (generally regarded to be third behind you and UCLA). Josh and Scott and Xavier Johnson especially should be special right away. If this team can get over some inexperience they should be right there in the hunt for another tournament berth.