Arizona’s offensive line helped it to the ninth-ranked passing offense and the 22nd-best overall offense last season, and depth and flexibility was a major key.
The Wildcats were in a similar situation two days before their opening game of when true freshman Raymond Pulido, expected to start at right guard, got into a bike accident and was unable to play. Thankfully, senior Sam Langi was ready to step into the starting lineup.
Langi has been in this position before. Last year for UA he filled in at left tackle for an injured Jordan Morgan twice and also made a start in place of left guard for Josh Donovan. He played in 11 games for UA last season.
The only chance for Arizona’s five starters to practice together was in a hotel ballroom for a pregame walkthrough.
“I think it was a little tricky just because of the fact that Raymond (Pulido) was taking all the reps with the ones for two weeks straight,” UA coach Jedd Fisch said. “And then all of a sudden, after your last practice, you don’t have him.”
During the opening game, the offensive line looked impressive, only allowing one sack and two tackles-for-loss, while the UA’s offense had 186 rushing yards and 292 passing yards.
Offensive coordinator/OL coach Brennan Carroll credits the success to his line being able to know and play multiple positions and getting the communication down right.
“That’s why we cross-train our guys so that they can jump into any spot, if we need to,” he said. “I mean, it was no flinch, no blink. The guys just went out and played and knew their assignments. Assignment wise we were really good, technique stuff obviously we got to fix a bunch, but knowing where they were going and who they were going to, they did a great job.
Carroll said center Josh Baker did a “fantastic job” calling the game for the rest of the offensive line.
Pulido’ status is still in the air for Saturday’s game at Mississippi State. Fisch said they won’t know until Thursday or Friday if he will suit up and make his collegiate debut.