Arizona-Toledo preview: Video, stats, links, predictions and a pollby Anthony Gimino on Sep. 03, 2010, under Sports
You’re ready for some football. Of course, you are.
For Arizona, the goal is Pasadena, the time is now.
The season starts tonight with a game at Toledo (5 p.m., ESPN) … so let’s get to it.
Arizona player to watch: RB Nic Grigsby
The senior has feasted on non-conference opponents over the years, including rushing 20 times for 135 yards and three touchdowns against Toledo in 2008.
Throw out Grigsby’s four carries against Nebraska last season, when he shouldn’t even have played because of his injured shoulder, and he has played in eight non-conference games in the past three seasons. His numbers: 135 carries for 919 yards and 10 touchdowns.
That’s an average of 6.8 yards per carry and 114.9 yards per game. Half of his career rushing touchdowns have come in those 10 games.
Toledo player to watch: WR Eric Page
The sophomore is the Rockets’ top weapon — fast, shifty and versatile.
“He’s a nightmare. The guy can play,” said Arizona co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Greg Brown. “He’s not a particularly big guy, but he knows how to play. They are going to get the ball in his hands and see what kind of damage he can do.” Brown knows. When he was on the staff at Colorado last season, Page caught three passes for 138 yards and a touchdown in his second career game.
He’s great in open space (as you can see in the video below) and can impact the game as a returner. The Wildcats’ secondary will especially have to tackle well.
He said it
“I think we’re going to come out and try to pound the ball down their throat.” — Arizona senior left tackle Adam Grant.
Arizona coach Mike Stoops has been cautioning his team about Toledo’s 5-1 record in its past six home games against BCS-conference opponents. It’s an impressive stat, although some of the games took place several years ago (when the Rockets were more dangerous than they are now), and only two of those BCS foes went on to winning seasons. They were 2007 Purdue, which beat Toledo, and 2003 Pittsburgh).
Here is the list:
2009: Toledo 54, Colorado 38
2007: Toledo 36, Iowa State 35
2007: Purdue 52, Toledo 24
2006: Toledo 37, Kansas 31
2003: Toledo 35, Pittsburgh 31
2001: Toledo 38, Minnesota 7
Don’t sleep on …
Toledo’s offensive line. This is an experienced group, including junior tackle John Morookian, who have made a combined 99 starts. Arizona’s expected starting offensive line — with Jovan Hayes at right guard instead of Vaughn Dotsy — has 63 career starts.
He said it, Part II
“We want to make sure speed is a factor in this game. We want to be as fast as we possibly can.” — Stoops
Arizona is in great shape. Just a couple of minor questions: Offensive guards Conan Amituanai (knee) and Vaughn Dotsy (back) missed most of camp, so how is their conditioning and how much can they play? FB Taimi Tutogi (ankle) should get some playing time.
He said it, Part III
“I’m starting to get more excited about what we’re doing. I’m starting to see some growth and maturity, and that’s important. It took us a little bit longer to come together, but that’s OK.” — Stoops, on his defense.
Arizona will get tough. The Wildcats will use their superior offensive line and depth of tailbacks to control the game against the Rockets. Toledo’s offense will have its moments — and it will be telling how the Wildcats fare against a spread team with a wide-open attack — but Arizona just has too much at the end. Arizona 38, Toledo 21.
What do you think?
This week’s coverage from TucsonCitizen.com:
He said it, Part IV
Our Sports Network partner WildcatSportsReport.com uploaded this press conference video of co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown. Good stuff: