Weekly Q&A – Arizona answers

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OFFENSE

In announcing he would tighten up the running back rotation, does that imply Jim Mora and the coaches are happy with the offensive line’s performance? Given your perspective from watching practices and games, what do you think is the primary reason for the running game struggling as much as it has?

Mora and the coaches didn’t just imply that they’re happy with the offensive line’s performance, but Kennedy Polamalu said specifically that he was happy with it. He was asked specifically if the offensive line had to shoulder any of the blame after Stanford and Polamalu said no. Mora said Monday that everything was blocked the way they wanted it to be blocked. Polamalu said it’s up to him to teach the running backs better to see the holes and break through arm tackles. Mora said when he watched the film, he thought the team left 100 yards out on the field. When watching the game again Sunday night, I thought the offensive line actually did pretty well and I did notice a lot of the holes Mora would reference the next day. Solomon Thomas was a beast for Stanford and definitely got the better of Kolton Miller and Najee Toran, but I thought the offensive line had an overall decent day against a very good defensive line. I haven’t watched practice in more than a month since they closed everything after the first 20 minutes to the media, so I can’t speak to what’s going on at practice, but I think it falls on the running backs. Like the coaches said, there were holes to run through and tackles to be broken against Stanford. Continue reading “Weekly Q&A – Arizona answers” »

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Five questions: The Arizona Daily Star’s Michael Lev on Arizona

UCLA is searching for a bounce-back performance against Arizona after a heartbreaking loss to Stanford. The Wildcats are just two years removed from their Pac-12 South championship, but fell quickly from the divisional perch. They finished fifth in the Pac-12 South last year and revamped their entire defensive staff this year. They have a dangerous mobile quarterback who nearly led them to an upset victory over Washington last week. The Arizona Daily Star’s Michael Lev answered some questions about quarterback Brandon Dawkins, the team’s struggling defense and its running back situation. 

1. Brandon Dawkins took over the starting role for an injured Anu Solomon and had some success. Even if Solomon is healthy, will Dawkins keep the starting job and if so, what necessary component does he bring to the offense?

I believe he will keep the starting job. He isn’t as polished a passer as Solomon, but Dawkins is a superior athlete. He can be a real difference-maker with his legs. We weren’t sure he could run effectively against Washington’s vaunted defense, but he did and then some (176 yards, two touchdowns). He has a big frame and a strong arm and has shown promise as a passer. But he still needs a lot of work (reading defenses, remaining patient in the pocket) to become a proficient all-around quarterback. Continue reading “Five questions: The Arizona Daily Star’s Michael Lev on Arizona” »

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First look: Arizona at UCLA

Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins is a threat in the air and on the ground for UCLA. (Photo: Rick Scuteri/AP)

Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins is a threat in the air and on the ground for UCLA. (Photo: Rick Scuteri/AP)

UCLA Bruins (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) vs. Arizona Wildcats (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m., Rose Bowl
TV: ESPN
Radio: AM 570

Scouting report: Arizona got off to a slow start to the season, losing a thriller to BYU then squeaking by Grambling State. The Wildcats had a quarterback controversy during the offseason and settled on Anu Solomon, but Solomon was injured in practice after the season opener. Three games later, it seems his replacement Brandon Dawkins is here to stay. Dawkins is a dual-threat quarterback who gave No. 10 Washington’s stout defense fits. He ran for 176 yards and passed for 167 while scoring three total touchdowns in the overtime loss. Freshman running back J.J. Taylor is out due to a broken ankle suffered against UW. He was second on the team in rushing (after Dawkins) after starter Nick Wilson was injured in Arizona’s win over Hawai‘i. Like last year, defense is a concern for the Wildcats. They gave up 512 total yards to the Huskies, including 352 on the ground and rank 10th in the conference in total defense. Continue reading “First look: Arizona at UCLA” »

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TV time set for Arizona game at the Rose Bowl

UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) stiff-arms Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) stiff-arms Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Get ready for another late night at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA’s Oct. 1 game against Arizona is set for a 7:30 p.m. PT kickoff with ESPN on the TV broadcast.

Both teams are 2-2 overall with losses in their Pac-12 openers. The Wildcats are coming off an overtime loss to No. 9 Washington at home.

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UCLA 2016 schedule preview: Arizona

UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) stiff-arms Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) stiff-arms Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Continuing the look at UCLA’s 2016 schedule, here is a breakdown of the Bruins’ fourth opponent, Arizona.

UCLA vs. Arizona
Saturday, Oct. 1 | Rose Bowl

2015 in review

In one year, Arizona (7-6 overall, 3-6 Pac-12 in 2015) went from Pac-12 South champions to a lowly fifth place, only above Colorado. The Bruins gave up a season-high 353 rushing yards to Arizona last year, but still came away with the win on Sept. 26 because Arizona’s defense was even worse than UCLA’s. The Wildcats gave up six (!) rushing touchdowns during that game and two more through the air while the Bruins ran away with a comfortable 56-30 win. Arizona was 10th in the conference in yardage and points allowed last year and revamped the entire defensive coaching staff. Continue reading “UCLA 2016 schedule preview: Arizona” »

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