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Analyzing Arizona’s offense vs Colorado with Pro Football Focus

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arizona-wildcats-football-offense-colorado-buffaloes-analysts-pff-pac12-2021 Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats went to Boulder hoping to end their losing streak, however, they ended up getting shut out by Colorado after the offense struggled.

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 Buffs.

As a reminder, see the grading scale below:


Quarterbacks

Arizona had probably some of the worst QB play I’ve seen in some time. PFF tends to agree.

Gunner Cruz started the game and ended up leaving after suffering a season ending thumb injury that is pretty serious. I wish him a speedy and successful recovery. Now, while he was playing, it wasn’t good. He very rarely threw the ball down the field and mostly focused on the shorter passes and passes behind the line of scrimmage. That won’t cut it. He missed wide open receivers all day that were at the 7-10 yard level, as well as the intermediate level. Even when he did throw to open receivers at that level, the passes weren’t good.

Will Plummer came in and did ok. He did overthrow a wide open Stanley Berryhill in the middle of the field. The result was the ball bouncing off the Berryhill’s hands and into the waiting arms of a Buff safety. Plummer did hit some receivers down the field which was a nice change of pace. He will need to solidify his game as UA has a short turnaround game this week as the Washington Huskies come to town on Friday.

STAT LINES

  • Gunner Cruz: 13-for-22, 82 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT & 3 car, 12 yds
  • Will Plummer: 7-for-17, 71 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT & 2 car, 15 yds

SNAP COUNTS

  • Gunner Cruz: 49
  • Will Plummer: 26

Running backs/Fullbacks

There was really only one running back who had consistent success throughout the game and he is a freshman.

Jalen John had the best game of his career. He came in and just started chewing up yards up the middle. He was unable to score from the 1-yard line, though, that was mostly due to lack of push from the offensive line. I would expect him to get more run due to his success as the ‘Cats make their way through the second half of the season.

Meanwhile, Drake Anderson and Michael Wiley did not have as much success on the ground as John. Anderson left early after dinging up his shoulder and Wiley couldn’t gain steam. However, Wiley did find some success in the passing game.

Stevie Rocker Jr. also got some run but couldn’t find much success.

Clay Markoff played his most snaps of the season. He found some success with run blocking but he did catch a 9-yard pass out of the backfield in which is what I hope to be more touches for him.

STAT LINES

  • Jalen John: 11 car, 71 yds
  • Michael Wiley: 7 car, 7 yds & 4 rec, 29 yds
  • Stevie Rocker Jr.: 1 car, 1 yd & 1 rec, -2 yds
  • Drake Anderson: 1 car, -1 yd & 1 rec, 1 yd
  • Clay Markoff: 1 rec, 9 yds

SNAP COUNTS

  • Jalen John: 38
  • Michael Wiley: 30
  • Clay Markoff: 8
  • Drake Anderson: 5
  • Stevie Rocker Jr.: 4

OVERALL

  • Highest: Jalen John (72.7)
  • Lowest: Clay Markoff (56.9)

RUNNING

  • Highest: Jalen John (76.5)
  • Lowest: Drake Anderson (59.5)

PASSING

  • Highest: Clay Markoff (77.0)
  • Lowest: Jalen John (52.5)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Drake Anderson (67.7)
  • Lowest: Michael Wiley (21.4)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Jalen John & Stevie Rocker Jr. (60.0)
  • Lowest: Clay Markoff (46.5)

Wide receivers

The group wasn’t all that effective throughout the game, however, it isn’t their fault. As mentioned above, the QB play was not good.

Stanley Berryhill III had his lowest receiving yard total this season but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

B.J. Casteel and Jalen Johnson both had over 20 yards. Casteel made an excellent catch while he was streaking across the middle wide open and Cruz threw the ball very low.

Jamarye Joiner finally got his first catch on the season on another bad throw by Cruz that was tipped. Joiner made the heads up play to snag the pass and get a first down. He was also wide open for a touchdown but was overthrown.

Freshman Anthony Simpson caught his first collegiate pass for 10 yards and he had a nice run on a jet sweep as well.

Boobie Curry and Tayvian Cunningham were both targeted but didn’t catch a pass. Cunningham was also wide open deep down the field but couldn’t run under it and just missed it past his hands.

STAT LINES

  • Stanley Berryhill III: 8 rec, 48 yds & 2 car, 9 yds
  • B.J. Casteel: 2 rec, 25 yds & 1 car, 7 yds
  • Jalen Johnson: 1 rec, 23 yds & 1 car, -6 yds
  • Jamarye Joiner: 1 rec, 10 yds & 1 car, 5 yds
  • Anthony Simpson: 1 rec, 10 yds & 1 car, 7 yds
  • Boobie Curry: N/A
  • Tayvian Cunningham: N/A

SNAP COUNTS

  • Stanley Berryhill III: 51
  • B.J. Casteel: 45
  • Boobie Curry: 36
  • Jalen Johnson: 19
  • Jamarye Joiner: 18
  • Tayvian Cunningham: 14
  • Anthony Simpson: 10

OVERALL

  • Highest: Anthony Simpson (69.6)
  • Lowest: Boobie Curry (51.4)

PASSING

  • Highest: Anthony Simpson (65.3)
  • Lowest: Boobie Curry (52.0)

RUNNING

  • Highest: Anthony Simpson (63.4)
  • Lowest: Jalen Johnson (57.5)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: B.J. Casteel (53.5)
  • Lowest: N/A

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Tayvian Cunningham (81.4)
  • Lowest: Stanley Berryhill III (45.9)

Tight ends

The group was pretty quiet against the Buffs and this was the first game no tight end caught a pass this season.

Alex Lines was targeted twice by Cruz but the passes weren’t delivered on target. On a good note, Lines was good in pass protection.

It’s the same story for Bryce Wolma and Zach Williams, who played his second game this season.

STAT LINES

  • Bryce Wolma: N/A
  • Alex Lines: N/A
  • Zach Williams: N/A

SNAP COUNTS

  • Alex Lines: 53
  • Bryce Wolma: 37
  • Zach Williams: 7

OVERALL

  • Highest: Zach Williams (53.6)
  • Lowest: Bryce Wolma (49.8)

PASSING

  • Highest: Zach Williams (52.1)
  • Lowest: Alex Lines (46.7)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Zach Williams (67.8)
  • Lowest: Bryce Wolma (62.9)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Alex Lines (59.1)
  • Lowest: Bryce Wolma (53.7)

Offensive line

The o-line had another inconsistent game.

Josh McCauley continues to be a force and one of the anchors of the line. He did grade out at the lowest score of the season so far, but he did have have his best pass protection grade of the season. McCauley has only allowed seven total pressures this so far.

Donovan Laie, the other anchor, also had a solid day. He didn’t allow any pressures for the first time this season and has allowed only eight total. He did go down with an injury in the game, went into the locker room, and came out to compete with his team with the game out of reach. That not only shows us what type of player he is, but what type of teammate and person he is.

When Laie was off the field, Grand Valley State transfer Matthew Stefanski Jr. came in and did a decent job. He was strong in run blocking but needs a little work in the pass pro category.

Josh Baker, Jordan Morgan and Paiton Fears did not have great games at all. Fears, who arguably played his worse game of the year, allowed three pressures. Morgan, who has been inconsistent this season, allowed his fourth sack on the year and three pressures total. Baker had another rough game, but I’m not too worried about him as he is still very young.

SNAP COUNTS

  • Josh Baker: 75
  • Paiton Fears: 75
  • Josh McCauley: 75
  • Jordan Morgan: 75
  • Donovan Laie: 59
  • Matthew Stefanski Jr.: 16

OVERALL

  • Highest: Josh McCauley (57.7)
  • Lowest: Paiton Fears (43.1)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Matthew Stefanski Jr. (65.9)
  • Lowest: Jordan Morgan (46.2)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Josh McCauley (87.2)
  • Lowest: Matthew Stefanski Jr. (32.3)