The Arizona Wildcats have recently been on the wrong side of a defensive star having a breakout game on the offensive side of the ball, and there seems to be a growing chance that it could happen again.
Arizona’s week two opponent, the Houston Cougars, have arguably the best defensive player in the country in defensive tackle Ed Oliver. But now there’s plenty of talk that the potential Heisman candidate could see some action on the other side of the ball in a variety of ways.
On Ed Oliver and his Heisman hopes, Houston HC Major Applewhite said that he will definitely be part of the offense: will run the ball, might catch, pass, and kick the ball. Applewhite says that you "want to get the ball in your best player's hands."— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) July 24, 2018
“Play a little running back,” Oliver said through a grin when asked where he would play at Houston’s media day this past week. “I don’t know I’m worried about my position and making sure our defensive line and our defense is straight.”
Oliver had a one-yard rushing TD vs. Fresno State in last year’s Hawaii Bowl, and the prospect of being able to use him on offense more this year has UH offensive coordinator Kendal Briles feeling good.
“I hope so,” Briles said when asked about if he’ll have Oliver as an option on offense. “I’ve got the green light from the head man, so that’s the number one key. But yeah I mean the guy’s the most talented guy on the team so if we can incorporate him down there then we’ll do that.”
The last time a team moved its best defensive athlete to the offensive side of the ball vs. Arizona, it did not go well for the Wildcats. The UCLA Bruins did it with Myles Jack in 2013, and the converted linebacker churned out 120 rushing yards, including a 66-yard score that put the game out of reach.
Oliver is arguably the most talented player Arizona will play in 2018, but now there’s the possibility that he’ll be on the field even more? Look out.
Arizona plays at Houston in week two. That game will start at 11 AM central time at TDECU Stadium on the University of Houston campus.