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Analyzing Arizona’s offense vs UCLA with Pro Football Focus

arizona-wildcats-football-offense-ucla-analysts-pff-pac12-2021 Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats came off their bye week and played the UCLA Bruins tough until the fourth quarter when UA lost it’s starting QB with major leg and knee injuries.

Let’s take a look through the Pro Football Focus lens, in conjunction with my analysis, to see how Arizona’s offense performed against the Ducks.

As a reminder, see the grading scale below:


Quarterbacks

Well, it’s not good news when it comes to the QBs.

Jordan McCloud played smarter and better than he did against the Ducks before the bye week. He learned from his mistakes and didn’t force the ball into places he shouldn’t and he didn’t play “Hero Ball.” Instead he went through his progressions and if there wasn’t anything there, he threw the ball away. Unfortunately, McCloud went down with pretty serious injuries in the fourth quarter and is out for the season after successful surgery.

That brings us to Gunner Cruz, who came in to relieve the injured McCloud. His first drive did not inspire much confidence. He held onto the ball too long, which led to a sack. He skipped the ball to a wide open Jamarye Joiner in the flat on a WR screen. It just wasn’t good. However, I will give him credit where credit is due. The second drive was MUCH better. He was decisive, found open receivers quickly, and got the ball to them quickly. If he can continue that type of play, Arizona should win their game against Colorado.

STAT LINES

  • Jordan McCloud: 21-for-30, 182 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT & 8 car, 21 yds
  • Gunner Cruz: 4-for-7, 48 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT & 1 car, -7 yds

SNAP COUNTS

  • Jordan McCloud: 72
  • Gunner Cruz: 14

Running backs

The backs, overall, had another solid game.

Drake Anderson got the start again and he had a decent game on the ground. And in the passing game. I don’t agree with how low PFF graded him in the passing game, but I do agree with their grade for pass pro. Anderson did not have a good game in that regard.

Michael Wiley also had another good game and continues to build momentum after having a rough start to the season against SDSU and NAU. He scored the only TD on the night on a nice pass from Jamarye Joiner on a trick play. PFF graded him low in the passing game and I’m not sure why they did so. He continues to churn out yards on the ground and appears to be gaining his confidence back.

Finally, we come to freshman Stevie Rocker Jr. Jedd Fisch has been using him in the fullback spot and it is working. He has become an absolute threat in the passing game every time he is on the field and showed nice ground game on a 9-yd run for a first down.

STAT LINES

  • Drake Anderson: 16 car, 58 yds & 3 rec, 22 yds
  • Michael Wiley: 13 car, 46 yds & 3 rec, 43 yds, 1 TD
  • Stevie Rocker Jr.: 2 car, 12 yds & 2 rec, 27 yds

SNAP COUNTS

  • Drake Anderson: 53
  • Michael Wiley: 30
  • Stevie Rocker Jr.: 10

OVERALL

  • Highest: Stevie Rocker Jr. (75.9)
  • Lowest: Drake Anderson (62.1)

RUNNING

  • Highest: Michael Wiley (67.2)
  • Lowest: Drake Anderson & Stevie Rocker Jr. (64.7)

PASSING

  • Highest: Stevie Rocker Jr. (79.5)
  • Lowest: Michael Wiley (44.3)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Michael Wiley (75.5)
  • Lowest: Drake Anderson (19.4)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Drake Anderson, Michael Wiley, & Stevie Rocker Jr. (60.0)
  • Lowest: N/A

Wide receivers

The group had some ups and downs all game.

Stanley Berryhill III continues to be the best receiver on the team and top target. He did what he normally does so I won’t go into detail.

B.J. Casteel played his best game of the season. He was open more times than I remember. He showed great burst after the catch to pick up more yards. However, there is one aspect of his game that has improved immensely. After the NAU, receivers coach Kevin Cummings challenged his group on their run blocking. Casteel has certainly answered that call as you can see below.

Tayvian Cunningham is a mystery. His production has slowly tampered off as the season progresses and he didn’t record any stats against UCLA, though he did have two targets. One was not his fault as he came streaking over the middle wide open and McCloud threw the ball a little behind him.

Boobie Curry continued to produce. He did a much better job against UCLA than Oregon when it comes to YAC. Against the Ducks, Curry would catch the ball and sit down. This time he actually continued to run and gain yards. One thing is for certain, he is quickly becoming a possession receiver for UA.

Jamarye Joiner is slowly working his way back and is starting to get involved in the passing game...though not like you’d expect. He threw the only TD of the night on a trick play in the red zone. He threw a nice ball to Wiley, who was wide open.

Jalen Johnson logged his most snaps of the season and freshman Anthony Simpson made his way back onto the field as well.

STAT LINES

  • Stanley Berryhill III: 7 rec, 59 yds & 1 car, 3 yds
  • B.J. Casteel: 4 rec, 40 yds
  • Tayvian Cunningham: N/A
  • Boobie Curry: 6 rec, 43 yds
  • Jamarye Joiner: 1-for-1, 10 yds, 1 TD
  • Jalen Johnson: N/A
  • Anthony Simpson: N/A

SNAP COUNTS

  • Stanley Berryhill III: 66
  • B.J. Casteel: 58
  • Boobie Curry: 31
  • Tayvian Cunningham: 28
  • Jalen Johnson: 20
  • Jamarye Joiner: 19
  • Anthony Simpson: 11

OVERALL

  • Highest: B.J. Casteel (64.1)
  • Lowest: Tayvian Cunningham (47.0)

PASSING

  • Highest: Stanley Berryhill III (65.8)
  • Lowest: Tayvian Cunningham (47.2)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Stanley Berryhill III (62.1)
  • Lowest: N/A

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: B.J. Casteel (77.2)
  • Lowest: Stanley Berryhill III (51.9)

Tight ends

The best TE on the field was Bryce Wolma. On the stat sheet he only caught one pass, however, two others were negated by costly penalties. Wolma did a wonderful job in pass pro against an aggressive UCLA defense.

Another player who held up against the blitz was freshman Alex Lines. Other than that it was a forgettable game for Lines. He is getting thrown out there for a young guy, but he his gaining invaluable experience.

Stacey Marshall came in for two snaps and Zach Williams earned his first offensive snaps of the season.

STAT LINES

  • Bryce Wolma: 1 rec, 6 yds
  • Alex Lines: N/A
  • Stacey Marshall: N/A
  • Zach Williams: N/A

SNAP COUNTS

  • Alex Lines: 54
  • Bryce Wolma: 46
  • Stacey Marshall: 2
  • Zach Williams: 2

OVERALL

  • Highest: Bryce Wolma (68.6)
  • Lowest: Alex Lines (43.7)

PASSING

  • Highest: Bryce Wolma (69.6)
  • Lowest: Alex Lines (46.9)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Bryce Wolma (75.1)
  • Lowest: Alex Lines (72.2)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Zach Williams (60.0)
  • Lowest: Alex Lines (51.3)

Offensive line

The o-line had an interesting game. There were good moments and not so good moments. They gave up 11 pressures and two sacks, which will happen against a defense that blitzes as much as UCLA.

Starting with Donovan Laie who played wonderfully. He is fully healthy thanks to the bye week and he looked very good. He easily had his best game of the season. He gave up only one QB hit.

Moving to Josh McCauley, who continues to be consistently solid this season. He has given up the second least amount of QB pressures this season and only gave up one hurry against UCLA.

Josh Donovan, who has been very good this season aside from penalties, played his worst game of the year. It is probable that he was playing with a leg injury, which has caused him to be listed as “day-to-day” as UA heads into the weekend.

Paiton Fears had another solid game, giving up only one hurry. His run blocking needs a lot of work but his pass blocking has improved. He has already played more snaps than he did last year and has given up 8 fewer pressures in as many games.

Jordan Morgan struggled, giving up two sacks. Josh Baker, who is gaining a ton of experience and could be in-line to start in Boulder, had a rough game as well. As of now injuries have not helped Morgan’s development, while there should be no cause for concern for Baker as he is still very young.

SNAP COUNTS

  • Paiton Fears: 86
  • Donovan Laie: 86
  • Josh McCauley: 86
  • Jordan Morgan: 86
  • Josh Donovan: 61
  • Josh Baker: 25

OVERALL

  • Highest: Donovan Laie (66.7)
  • Lowest: Josh Donovan (49.8)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Donovan Laie (85.1)
  • Lowest: Josh Donovan (52.4)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Josh McCauley (64.8)
  • Lowest: Jordan Morgan (51.9)