Most can agree that last Thursday was a poor performance from the Arizona Wildcats, leaving many reconsidering their season outlook. Scooby Wright III went down and it's still unclear when he will actually return, and that could spell trouble for Arizona's defense. The offense had it's struggles, but still managed to bounce back. It's only been one week, and after just one week, it's still too early to panic and reconsider expectations.
The defense couldn't seem to figure it out, which is very concerning, as UTSA wasn't running anything special, yet still managed to drive down the field with ease.
Arizona knows it's without Scooby now. It can't be a good feeling when you're on defense and you suddenly lose arguably the best player in college football after about two drives. But the defense knows what it has to do now. They go into the week knowing their role, owning their responsibilities and putting themselves in position to make plays vs. Nevada.
They're no longer scatterbrained, being thrown into the fray without much notice. At one point, it seemed as if Jeff Casteel was rotating about 25+ guys. It was really just to see who could go in and make a play, but that just seemed to cause even more imbalances in the defense when considering chemistry and experience.
As practice goes on without Scooby Wright, the confidence should start to set in the defense.
As for the offense, it'll be at full strength. Samajie Grant is back, Trey Griffey is on the two deep depth chart, and it seems as if Freddie Tagaloa will be ready to go for Saturday.
For one, I thought Anu Solomon's performance was under appreciated. He threw for four touchdowns, no interceptions and completed over 60% his passes. Only four quarterbacks did that in week one, which includes Florida State's Everett Golson, USC's Cody Kesser and Brandon Allen of Arkansas. All of those guys are seniors, and are in their third year as a starter.
Solomon had a near flawless second half, picking apart the defense and going 11-14, which also helped out Nick Wilson. Wilson finished with 97 yards after going for just 16 yards through the first two quarters. Yes, Anu did overthrow a few balls that would have gone for touchdowns, but that's going to happen every now and then and it's better than him going full B.J. Denker and just throwing it up for anyone to grab.
The role of Jared Baker and whoever the third string running back will be key as well. While they might not be the great surprise we got with Terris Jones-Grigsby, they'll be depended on a lot throughout this season.
Last year, Arizona only beat UTSA by three points on the road to winning the Pac-12 South. Although, last year was a completely different team in the sense of expectations. This year, Arizona has higher expectations than ever, and that could be a burden held over their head.
Now, can Arizona still compete for the Pac-12 South? Absolutely. Much like ASU still, and maybe even Utah. USC came out like a well-oiled machine, and Josh Rosen showed that he has what it takes, but it's still far too early to judge what any team in this league can do. 10 wins will be tough for this team, much like any team, but this team has a lot of time and a lot of room for improvement.