October 19, 2006

The View from the Desert: The Wildcat's take

Throughout the remainder of the 2006 football season, BeaverBlitz.com will
run a story previewing Oregon State's upcoming opponent through the view of an
expert from that team.

This week, Josh Gershon from GoAZCats.com
was kind enough to take time out to give OSU fans insight into their next opponent,
the Arizona Wildcats.

Arizona is coming off of a dominant performance against Stanford, in which the
Wildcats shut out the Cardinal's offense, winning the game 20-7. The lone Stanford
touchdown came off of a pick six. Oregon State's win over Washington has Beavers
fans reasons to be a little more optimistic heading into Tucson.


Arizona's offense has been very disappointing this season and injuries at the
quarterback position haven't helped the cause. Sophomore quarterback Willie
Tuitama was expected to be one of the nation's best at his position coming
into the season, but has struggled with injuries, a lack of a running game and
an inconsistent offensive line. After a concussion against UCLA - his second
in 28 days - Tuitama is out indefinitely.

Backup Adam Austin damaged his MCL against Stanford, leaving 2003-04
starter Kris Heavner as the man at quarterback against Oregon State.
He hasn't taken a snap since the 2004 season so it's tough to have any expectations
for Heavner and it's expected that Arizona will see what it can do on the ground.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the running game has been the biggest weakness
of the team so far. Starter Chris Jennings is a junior college transfer
that walked on the team this summer. Backup Chris Henry also gets carries
but before the Stanford game, Arizona had negative rushing yards in three straight
Pac-10 contests.

At wide receiver, Arizona has three consistent weapons in Syndric Steptoe,
Mike Thomas and Anthony Johnson. Don't expect to see many
wideouts get passes thrown their way besides those three. Steptoe and Thomas
are big play threats, while Johnson is more of a possession wide receiver.

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