We are now just 40 days away from Arizona Wildcats football.
Hopefully, if we do this next year, this post could find itself closer to the season-opener.
Arizona allowed 40 sacks last season, which ranked 105th out of 125 FBS teams. Now, that's only 8th in the Pac-12 (ASU, Washington State, Oregon State and UCLA worse per game numbers), but this number needs to come down a lot if the Wildcats want to repeat as Pac-12 South champs.
Granted, I understand that Arizona runs more plays than most teams in the country, which means more sack chances for the opponent. And Arizona doesn't run the ball as much as some of the best teams in this stat, but this is a combination of things that need to get better.
While the offensive line was loaded with experience last year, the coaches will tell you that their play was, for the most part, average in 2014. This year, putting Freddie Tagaloa on Anu Solomon's blind side, and letting Lene Maiava focus on one position (RT), I believe that you will see better protection overall from the line. Center is probably the biggest question mark anywhere on the field for Arizona heading into fall camp, but I believe that with the spring reps, and offseason workouts this summer, center will turn out just fine no matter who it is.
The second part of decreasing this number is Anu Solomon and his increased awareness in the pocket. This was probably most obvious on the final drive of the Fiesta Bowl, where instead of throwing the ball away, the redshirt freshman took a sack, and time ran out on the comeback attempt.
With another year of experience, another year of watching game film, and another year with all of his primary weapons, Solomon's pocket awareness should be much better this season, which could transform him into one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. He's also improved himself physically, which might allow for him to escape pressure more often, and not injure his ankle several times like last year.
All those sacks last year led to a ton of three-and-outs and punts as well. If you're not losing yards on sacks, the offense is gaining more first downs, the defense is getting more rest, and everyone gets better.
Cut down on the sacks, and Arizona's right back in the mix for a Pac-12 Championship.