We won't have another taste of Arizona Football until the summer now, which leaves us with nothing to do but to analyze the spring game. Overall, it seems as if the offense is definitely a step ahead of the defense, which is to be expected in Rich Rodriguez's system. But here's a quick summary of the main takeaways and highlights.
- Devin Holiday was out there on the first team defense playing corner, and held his own going up against Arizona's deep set of receivers. DaVonte' Neal also showed that the switch from receiver to corner was beneficial as he was able to contain his side of the field. The best corner of the night could have been Cam Denson, who made many plays on the ball and had two near interceptions in the red zone.
- One key guy to watch this spring was JUCO transfer Paul Magloire and he delivered. He finished the night with nine tackles, five more than any other player on the defensive side of the ball. He was lining up at different spots all night long, going from free safety to coverage corner to strong safety.
- Equally as impressive in the secondary was Devon Brewer, who spent most of his time up top at safety. The early enrollee freshman has definitely turned some heads this spring and should progress even more as we get closer to the fall.
- The defensive line was also an area of interest heading into the spring game. We saw Marcus Griffin contain the edge on a read option, in perfect position to snag the ball from Brandon Dawkins for a long return before being tracked down.
- In terms of quarterback, Anu Solomon is the clear cut favorite to start going into the season at this point. He finished 19-25 for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He made all of his throws with confidence and precision. His counterpart, Jerrard Randall, finished the night 6-12 for 77 yards and a touchdown. And then there's Brandon Dawkins. He was not wearing a red jersey, which indicated that he was made available to hit, which probably shows you where he is in his progression. And he did get hit. A ton.
- We didn't see Nick Wilson at all and for good reason. With 12 straight games this season and his injury history, there's no need to expose him to contact this early. In place of Wilson was Jared Baker, who averaged 4.5 yards per carry, totalling 36 yards and two touchdowns. Jonathan Haden also looked good in the backfield, finishing with 27 yards on eight carries.
- The tight ends were very active in the passing game, working a combination of routes in the flats and even up the seams. Out of the 30 receptions, 11 went to tight ends, five of those to Josh Kern. But among the receivers, Tyrell Johnson had an excellent game and has proved that he can be a shifty piece in Rich Rod's offense. After the game, William Parks was asked if there was any receiver that might come up big this season that we don't know about. His immediate answer, Tony Ellison.
Highlights of the game are below courtesy of Arizona Athletics