I wanted to try something new this season to show how Arizona plays against its opponents. It took a couple of weeks to figure out the format but I think I have it nailed down.
Each week, I’ll break down how each position group on offense and defense faired against each opposing team and compare my point of view to that of Pro Football Focus.
With that let’s get started with UA’s offense versus NAU. See below image for how each player is graded.
Starting with the signal-callers, it was obvious to anyone that Will Plummer struggled all night, except for his 49-yd touchdown to Boobie Curry. That was a great pass, no doubt. However, the rest of his night was very inconsistent, and at times, just plain bad.
McCloud came in and impressed. He made one real mistake on his very first snap. Instead of rolling right with the bootleg, he scooted left and ended up getting sacked. His second series, however, showcased what he can do when he settles down. It is safe to say that he will most likely be Arizona’s starter to begin Pac-12 play.
Overall, I agree with how PFF graded the two.
The backs were an interesting group. Michael Wiley did not have a good game and was rated as the lowest performer on the team. Drake Anderson started off slow but picked it up in the second half in a big way.
Stevie Rocker Jr., who saw action in his second career game, hasn’t had that big of a sample size as of yet. Jalen John, however, made the most of his time on the field. He gashed NAU’s defense and started solidifying the run game. Based on his performance, I can see him getting more carries this year.
The WR group actually had a decent game. They were open down field or in the intermediate more than one might think. Boobie Curry really showed what he can bring to the table and I hope we see more of that from him.
Stanley Berryhill III was the workhorse of the bunch, while Tayvian Cunningham had a rough outing for the most part.
The group will need to work on their run blocking, but overall a good effort from the receivers.
The TEs have been rather inconsistent this season.
On one hand they have been open more often than not. But on the other they aren’t always ready to catch the ball.
The blocking has been so-so as well. Bryce Wolma, by a wide margin, had his best blocking game against NAU. Alex Lines was more inconsistent. That is to be expected for a young tight end at the Power Five level.
It is possible that the players settle down and start contributing more this season. It will all depend on the QBs and TEs working better together.
Finally we get to the last position group. This one really surprised me.
Overall, the group was pretty strong when it came to pass protection. It didn’t really seem like it, but they settled in after the first couple of series in that regard.
However, run blocking was a different story. The line struggled to open up holes for the running backs until later in the game. Though, a good portion of that lies directly on John’s and Anderson’s ability to find a hole and shed would-be tacklers.
It is worth noting that Paiton Fears was strong in all aspects, while Jordan Morgan struggled.
Below, you’ll be able to see the amount of sacks, pressures, QB hits, and QB hurries allowed by the linemen. I’ve also added a PFF-specific stat of pass rush efficiency.