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Arizona football roundtable: Recapping the Wildcats' week one performance

The first week of football had some weird things happen

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Every Monday night we'll be going roundtable to look back at the Arizona Wildcats and really the rest of the Pac-12 from that week.

With that said, what stood out to us from the Arizona game and other games from around the conference? Well...

1. Most surprising result from around the Pac-12?

Gabe Encinas: I'll go with Arizona State. I honestly expected them to beat A&M, but they looked absolutely miserable and I'm 100% okay with that. It's only week one, but they'll need a lot of work to compete with USC, UCLA and Oregon for the Pac-12.

David Potts: Stanford losing to Northwestern. At least some people thought this team was a national title contender and they lost to a not-so-great Northwestern team. No other loss or close call is that surprising. Even Washington State losing to FCS Portland State isn't that unexpected - after all, Wazzu fans have even coined a term for those sort of depressing last second losses.

Ryan Kelapire: I can't say that I was that surprised about Stanford and Arizona State losing. However, Washington State losing at HOME to Portland State was certainly a surprise. Losing to an FCS team is always embarrassing, and it's not like Portland State is an FCS powerhouse. They were 3-9 last year. It could be a long year in Pullman.

Jason Bartel: I don't even think it's close and it was Washington State. I think people who don't pay attention sort of lump all the Big Sky teams together, but Portland State is a LOWER TIER Big Sky team. This is not one of the Montana schools, or Eastern Washington, or even NAU. This is Portland State, and no FBS team should be out here being in a game that's less than a two score victory, let alone getting beat on your home field by the Vikings. Nevada's first opponent, UC-Davis, is even a better Big Sky team than PSU.

2. Aside from injuries/suspensions, what was the most disappointing part about the UTSA game?

GE: The lack of pressure on defense. Understandable that Scooby is the catalyst on defense, but there was absolutely no pass rush, failing to record a sack vs UTSA. Arizona couldn't stop the run either, so UTSA was able to use their entire playbook, despite being down by double digits the entire second half.

DP: The defensive line. The unit up front wasn't able to generate any sacks against a freshman quarterback and a relatively inexperienced offensive line. Some of that is because of Scooby's injury, to be sure, and some of that is on the linebackers. But the defensive line was unable to generate any pressure. If that doesn't get fixed by the time Pac-12 play rolls around, we'll be in serious trouble.

RK: To me, Arizona's inability to run the ball was the most concerning thing. Sure, starting left tackle Freddie Tagaloa was out, but the interior line was intact. Yet, Wilson and Baker averaged about 4.3 yards per carry. That's not a horrible number, but it's definitely not impressive, especially when you consider how much tougher the Pac-12 defenses will be. If Arizona can't run the ball that well against UTSA, what are they going to do against USC, Utah, Arizona State, UCLA, and Stanford?

JB: I'm going to go with the defensive line here as well. And there's a lot of people who think Anthony Fotu returning from suspension will help, but I just don't see that happening either. This is going to have be done by utilizing Derrick Turituri in a different kind of way. I don't think a guy like Haden Gregory is ready or able to help make plays in the backfield.

3. How excited are you about having Johnny Jackson and Sir Thomas Jackson back in our lives?

GE: Johnny Jackson was a baller and he should continue to be a great option for Solomon once the receivers are all healthy. In just one game, he already contributed more than DaVonte' Neal did on offense last year. Sir T is a guy I've been wondering about all summer, and I'm glad to see him back out there. Hopefully he can step up and get back to his redshirt freshman form.

DP: I'm admittedly more excited that Sir Thomas Jackson is back only because the back of his jersey is way, way cooler than the back of Johnny Jackson's jersey. Of course, if Johnny Jackson produces the way he did against UTSA, the excitement levels will probably even out pretty quickly.

RK: I'm really happy about it. They are two guys that stuck around and worked hard to regain a place on the depth chart instead of transferring out. It's easy to root for players that are willing to put the work in like that instead of bailing. And in both cases, they're not just "good stories", they are key members at their respective positions. Johnny was arguably Arizona's best offensive player in the season opener.

JB: I agree with David's sentiment in that I really enjoy seeing the back of Sir T's jersey out there. I think Samajie Grant coming back will downplay Johnny's importance, but it was pretty cool to see him have that kind of game after being on defense just three or four weeks ago.

4. Do you like that a corner (DaVonte' Neal) led the team in tackles?

GE: Not entirely concerning. UTSA attacked DaVonte' frequently, but he didn't miss any open field tackles. He's a high energy athlete and flies around the field, which also helped lead to his 11 tackles.

The way injuries played out, and the number of guys in the rotation, there weren't too many guys who had the opportunity to rack up the tackles such as Neal.

DP: No. There is no good reason why that should happen. Either: (1) the opposing team is targeting Neal, forcing him to make a lot of individual tackles on receivers, or (2) the front six are missing tackles and Neal has to clean up after them. I don't think Neal will be targeted as much going forward, but ideally he shouldn't be in a situation where he has to make that many tackles.

RK: No. The rule of thumb for a cornerback is that a high number of tackles is not a good thing. It means that one, the cornerback was targeted often, and two, the quarterback was able to complete a good number of passes to the receiver that the corner is supposed to be covering. While Neal wasn't horrible at CB on Thursday, I definitely think UTSA made a conscientious effort to test out the converted wide receiver. He should get better as the weeks go on since he'll get more comfortable at the position, but it wasn't a great first performance.

JB: Also no. I didn't feel that UTSA was going after one corner in particular (David Morgan's not being covered by a corner) but I also feel like someone like Jamar Allah should be picking up more stops when UTSA is running things the way they were. It's nice to see that Neal's going to be a physical guy instead of the finesse receiver he was last year, but still, someone else has to be making those plays.