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Analyzing Arizona’s offense vs. Oregon with Pro Football Focus

Arizona v Oregon Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

After Arizona’s impressive performance against #3 Oregon this past weekend for the first 3+ quarters, they weren’t able to limit mistakes that led to the deficit going from five to out-of-reach. The result was a 41-19 loss.

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

Jordan McCloud made his first start as a Wildcat this past weekend and it is best described as up-and-down.

McCloud was extremely successful at moving the ball and making the right reads....most of the time (more on that in a few). He was also successful, and effective, using his legs to make plays and move the ball.

What killed him, and UA, was his five interceptions. It’s a known fact that he has the weakest arm of the QB room and that came into play with one of his last picks where he rolled left and threw a floater all the way across the field that was picked off. Other mistakes just came from him forcing throws or not seeing coverages clearly.

With that said, he is the QB for the rest of this season. He moves the ball well and executes the best out of any QB. Clean up his mistakes and make sure he isn’t forcing things and we might see an even better effort against UCLA.

Gunner Cruz did come in for one play after McCloud’s helmet came off after a QB sneek.

STAT LINES

  • Jordan McCloud: 21-for-35, 233 yds, 1 TD, 5 INT & 9 car, 64 yds
  • Gunner Cruz: N/A

SNAP COUNT

  • Jordan McCloud: 92
  • Gunner Cruz: 1

Running backs/Fullback

I thought the group had a good game against BYU but this was by-and-large their best effort so far this season.

Drake Anderson is getting better and better every week. He gets tough yards when he needs to and can gain big chunks a few times a game. Not to mention he is a viable threat out of the backfield in the passing game.

Michael Wiley had a very rough game against NAU. That was not the case against the Ducks. He ran the hardest that I’ve ever seen him. He didn’t go down easy....at all. He bounced off the first would-be tackler and gained a few extra yards. He moved the pile for a first down. He looked like a completely different player than against the Jacks. This is what everyone was expecting from him when the season started.

Jalen John and Stevie Rocker Jr. also got in on the action. Rocker didn’t get any carries but he had a nice 18-yard catch and run down the sideline to put Arizona into scoring distance. John didn’t have the success on the ground he did against NAU, but he was an absolute problem in the passing game, getting 21 yards on two catches.

Clay Markoff got into the game more than he has the past two games. He didn’t have that strong of a game but I’d expect Arizona to figure out better ways to use him as conference play rolls on.

STAT LINES

  • Drake Anderson: 21 car, 67 yds, 1 TD & 3 rec, 16 yds
  • Michael Wiley: 15 car, 63 yds & 1 rec, 4 yds
  • Stevie Rocker Jr.: 1 rec, 18 yds
  • Jalen John: 2 car, 3 yds & 2 rec, 21 yds
  • Clay Markoff: N/A

SNAP COUNTS

  • Drake Anderson: 51
  • Michael Wiley: 34
  • Jalen John: 7
  • Clay Markoff: 4
  • Stevie Rocker Jr.: 2

OVERALL

  • Highest: Michael Wiley (74.3)
  • Lowest: Clay Markoff (59.0)

RUNNING

  • Highest: Michael Wiley (75.1)
  • Lowest: Jalen John (57.0)

PASSING

  • Highest: Jalen John (85.8)
  • Lowest: Michael Wiley (58.6)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Drake Anderson (78.4)
  • Lowest: Michael Wiley (70.0)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Drake Anderson, Stevie Rocker Jr., Clay Markoff (60.0)
  • Lowest: Michael Wiley (57.3)

Wide receivers

The receivers had an overall better showing than they did against NAU and SDSU.

Stanley Berryhill III continues to be the best receiver on the team. He was targeted 11 times, though not all those were catchable, and had six carries as well. It’s easy to see with that type of attention that Jedd Fisch and Brennan Carroll understand that they need to get the ball into his hands as much as possible.

B.J. Casteel and Tayvian Cunningham both had very quiet games. They combined for three catches for 20 yards on five targets. They will need to do a better job of getting open if they want to see the ball come their way more. That being said, this was the first game neither got open much. I do want to point out that Casteel was the best run blocking receiver of the night and Cunningham improved from his NAU performance in that regard.

Then we get to Boobie Curry, who is like a different receiver under this staff. He is really starting to figure it out and come into his own. He will need to learn to gain more YAC instead of just catching and sitting down. He is, however, starting to establish himself as a reliable possession receiver. He will only see his snaps and opportunities increase if he continues his positive development.

The final three players to see action are Jalen Johnson, Jamarye Joiner, and Anthony Simpson. None were targeted but did have decent success in run blocking. Joiner and Simpson got their first offensive snaps of the season. It is worthy to note, I do think Joiner will be back in the rotation sooner than later.

STAT LINES:

  • Stanley Berryhill III: 5 rec, 75 yds & 6 car, 5 yds
  • B.J. Casteel: 1 rec, 11 yds
  • Tayvian Cunningham: 2 rec, 9 yds
  • Boobie Curry: 4 rec, 49 yds
  • Jalen Johnson: N/A
  • Jamarye Joiner: N/A
  • Anthony Simpson: N/A

SNAP COUNTS

  • Stanley Berryhill III: 87
  • B.J. Casteel: 74
  • Boobie Curry: 48
  • Tayvian Cunningham: 28
  • Jamarye Joiner: 9
  • Jalen Johnson: 8
  • Anthony Simpson: 2

OVERALL

  • Highest: Boobie Curry (70.5)
  • Lowest: Jalen Johnson (45.7)

PASSING

  • Highest: Boobie Curry (69.9)
  • Lowest: B.J. Casteel (45.4)

RUNNING

  • Highest: Stanley Berryhill III (57.2)
  • Lowest: N/A

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Boobie Curry (62.1)
  • Lowest: B.J. Casteel (39.4)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: B.J. Casteel (70.3)
  • Lowest: Stanley Berryhill III (46.7)

Tight ends

The tight ends did have a good game overall, however, there are still some things to work on.

Bryce Wolma had the lone touchdown catch of the night with an 11-yarder. It was his first since he caught a TD from Khalil Tate against Hawaii in August 2019. However, Wolma did not have a good day on the pass pro front. He was dinged as giving up the lone sack of McCloud.

Alex Lines had a solid game. he was very good in pass blocking situations and had a nice 19-yard catch before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. Hopefully he’ll be healthy by the time the Bruins come to town.

Finally, we get to Stacey Marshall. His PFF scores don’t show it, but I believe he had a solid game. He was very good in run blocking and his score shows that. But I believe he was better in passing situations than PFF does. He was open on an out route in the red zone but McCloud threw the ball late and Verone McKinley picked it off.

STAT LINES

  • Bryce Wolma: 1 rec, 11 yds, 1 TD
  • Alex Lines: 1 rec, 19 yds
  • Stacey Marshall: N/A

SNAP COUNTS

  • Bryce Wolma: 60
  • Alex Lines: 40
  • Stacey Marshall: 11

OVERALL

  • Highest: Alex Lines (62.8)
  • Lowest: Bryce Wolma (52.0)

PASSING

  • Highest: Alex Lines (64.3)
  • Lowest: Stacey Marshall (52.7)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Alex Lines (75.8)
  • Lowest: Bryce Wolma (46.9)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Stacey Marshall (66.3)
  • Lowest: Bryce Wolma (48.2)

Offensive line

When it comes to the offensive line, I don’t agree with a lot of PFF’s ratings for the unit. They did get some things correct, but not everything.

For example, I believe they got Paiton Fears’ rating accurate. He had his worst showing of the season in pass pro to date. He allowed the Ducks to get 3 hurries against McCloud but did not allow a sack. With that said, this has been his best season in terms of pass protection since coming to Tucson. I’m interested to see if he can stabilize and continue to shore up his bad plays.

Josh Donovan’s performance is another I agree with PFF on. Donovan is by far Arizona’s best pass blocking lineman and had his second straight game not allowing a pressure against the QB. This is a major step forward in his development from last year. If he can solidify his run blocking and clean up some of his penalties, he’ll be one of the biggest surprises of the season. I mean, he already is with his pass blocking success.

Donovan Laie’s rating, unfortunately, is another that I agree with. Laie allowed Oregon to hurry McCloud 3 times, bringing his allowed pressures up to 7 in 4 games. Now, Laie isn’t playing at 100%, however, this upcoming bye week should allow him to get healthy as Arizona moves further in Pac-12 play.

Jordan Morgan played his best game of the season, but PFF doesn’t seem to think so. They gave him a decent run blocking grade, however, it is the opposite for his pass blocking. He only gave up one pressure out of 44 pass blocking snaps so I’m not sure why he’s graded so low. Even so, this game gave Morgan plenty to build off of the rest of the season and should boost his confidence.

Josh McCauley is another player who had a very good game, even though PFF graded him lower than expected. He looked strong against the run, getting to the second level and attacking linebackers to open up holes. He allowed only one pressure all game and that, apparently, warrants his pass pro rating to be lower than it should be. He is easily the second best pass blocking lineman on the team and, after a disastrous BYU game in that regard, he has be consistently good.

We finally come to Josh Baker. Now, the youngster has had his struggles this year, especially in the first two games. That is changing, however. He has really started coming into his own the past two games, giving up zero pressures in 22 pass pro snaps. PFF, however, gave him the lowest pass blocking grade among the linemen. Mind you, Baker wasn’t perfect, but he gave up zero pressures. In my opinion, the Oregon game was the best he’s looked all season.

Overall, I think PFF was bullish on Arizona’s OL, after owning the line of scrimmage (for the most part) and controlling the game.

SNAP COUNTS

  • Paiton Fears: 93
  • Donovan Laie: 93
  • Josh McCauley: 93
  • Jordan Morgan: 93
  • Josh Donovan: 60
  • Josh Baker: 33

OVERALL

  • Highest: Jordan Morgan (65.9)
  • Lowest: Donovan Laie (50.7)

PASS BLOCKING

  • Highest: Josh Donovan (87.7)
  • Lowest: Josh Baker (48.3)

RUN BLOCKING

  • Highest: Jordan Morgan (67.6)
  • Lowest: Donovan Laie (48.1)