Cats’ strategy: Slow down Cougars’ air game, keep own offensive options open
It will be an all-out assault on BYU quarterback John Beck. At least the University of Arizona hopes so.
If the Wildcats are successful getting in the backfield and rattling the Cougars’ senior, the high-flying BYU offense might be contained.
The UA front line is being told to get to No. 12 before the Cougars can rack up the passing yards.
“I don’t think you are going to stop them or shut them out, but we have to slow them down and come up with big third-down stops and get to the quarterback,” UA coach Mike Stoops said. “Those are plays you have to make.”
The Wildcats are better equipped with tackles Lionel Dotson and Yaniv Barnett and starting ends Johnathan Turner and Marcus Smith getting help this season.
There were few options in the past to rest any of the starters. Now the Wildcats have Paul Philipp, Jason Parker, Donald Horton and prized JC transfer Louis Holmes.
“They like to throw it and they are going to throw it 40, 50 times if they possess the ball that long,” Stoops said.
Protecting Wildcats quarterback Willie Tuitama so he can do his stuff is just as important.
BYU allowed too many quarterbacks time in the pocket last year, allowing 270 yards passing per game in the process.
“By no means are we going to be afraid to run it or feel like we can’t throw it 50 times if we need to,” UA offensive coordinator Mike Canales said. “We are going to do what we need to do.”
THE BIG QUESTION
Can UA beat BYU in an offensive shootout?
Yes, if the Wildcats can score early. That would help their confidence and open up the playbook.
UA should excel through the air, led by quarterback Willie Tuitama and receivers Mike Thomas and Syndric Steptoe.
But UA is still waiting to see who will step up at tailback: Chris Henry, Chris Jennings or Xavier Smith.
If you go and more
BYU (0-0) at Arizona (0-0)
When: Saturday, Arizona Stadium, 7:15 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5 FM, 1210-AM (in Spanish).