Arizona Coach Jedd Fisch called last season, his first with the school, “year zero” because the roster was largely made up of players his team hadn’t signed.
With that in mind, he sees 2022 as the first year of rebuilding the program.
While this is a bit of a pun intended to soften the blow of a 1-11 campaign, there is certainly some validity to his perspective. There’s a reason they say a coach should have at least a few seasons before a judgment is handed down, and if this past offseason is any indication of what Fisch and his team will accomplish, better days are ahead. come.
Could those days be this upcoming season? Arizona was chosen to finish 11th by the Pac-12 media, while the people setting the betting lines hover around 3 wins.
Never before has the possibility of tripling the previous season’s win tally seemed so dreary and uninspiring.
Of course, there are others who have a slightly better chance from Arizona. One such person is Justin McIllece, which has an algorithm that seeks to predict what will happen in the upcoming season. Based on the numbers, he predicts the Wildcats will be the most improved team in the country.
Having chatted with McIllece on Wildcat Radio 2.0, the idea that Arizona would not only be better, but rather good, was beginning to seem more realistic. And hey, given that now is the time to be optimistic, that seems like a good reason to look into what we want to see at fall camp to really feel good about this list.
So without further ado, here’s what needs to happen:
from Laura turns out to be the answer
To say the quarterback is important hardly qualifies as high-level football analysis. We’ve all seen how the offense struggled last year with post inconsistencies, and the hope – or expectation, really – is that quality play from this spot will produce an offense that scores sharply. more than 17.2 points per game.
Could Laura’s Jayden be the key to unleashing the list’s hidden potential? The Wildcats have top-notch talent at skill positions, with size, speed and athleticism at running back, receiver and tight end. The offensive line is a question mark, of course, although they certainly look better if the receivers can open up quicker and the QB can give them the ball.
We know from her time in Washington State that Laura can play. The question is whether he can play well in a very different scheme. The guess here is yes, because he wouldn’t have transferred to Arizona if he hadn’t wanted to learn a more professional style system.
Can he learn it fast enough to be comfortable on Sept. 3 at San Diego State? He’s had all the spring ball and is now getting a whole fall camp as the team’s QB1, so the opportunity is there.
Children show they are ready
Arizona has assembled the 22nd best recruiting class in the nation. Many went into the sales pitch, but no doubt the opportunity to play as a freshman helped.
In previous years, relying on freshmen wouldn’t have seemed so exciting. But it’s hard to imagine Tetairoa McMillan failing to find their way into a cohesive and impactful role, with the same for Keyan Burnett, Jonah Coleman, Jonah Savaiinaea and others, especially on defense.
In reality, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a good chunk of the class see the pitch, but how much and at what time will be decided over the next few weeks. Arizona has had an impact on freshmen before, but rarely has there been a class filled with so many players who you can confidently say will play because they are the best option, not the last.
Coaches are a year wiser
Not many people have got into the habit of blaming the coaches for what happened last season. The coaches weren’t perfect, but given what they had to work with and it was their first season, some leeway was warranted. But just as players are meant to learn and grow, so are coaches.
Over the past year, we have often heard how difficult Fisch’s system is to master. For the QBs, at least. Was the playbook too large? Too complicated or different from what they were used to? Either way, it took too long to get everyone on the same page.
Ideally, Fisch and his team have improved their teaching methods because Arizona needs to be ready to go from the start. Considering a lot of the roster was on the team last season or was in town for Spring Ball, this shouldn’t be as problematic as it was last year.
Focus on should.
Upgrading Talents Makes the Difference
It is very difficult to determine how good or bad a team is when training against itself. Are interceptions a sign of a good defense or a bad attack? Is the attack that scores at will an indication of what will happen on either side of the ball?
What can be seen, especially among watchers who have watched a lot of (bad) football over the years, is the difference in raw ability. Is a guy fast? Does he have great jumping ability? Hands? Strength and speed on the edge? Precision?
These traits can be seen and documented, and it is important that they are.
With success in the transfer portal and on the recruiting track, Arizona looks like a pretty talented team. Not the most talented, but definitely good enough to compete on a weekly basis. The Wildcats needed an infusion of talent in the worst possible way, and now is the time for it to start having an impact.