The Wildcats’ offense may take a hit with two key injuries. Taimi Tutogi is out for the Cal game and Juron Criner is day-to-day and may not play against the Bears. So where does that put the Arizona offense?
While Criner has the bigger role in the offense, Tutogi is the harder player to replace. There are a number of able bodies at the outside receiver spot and some young players who have ability. The same is not true at Tutogi’s spot. The Cats do not have another scholarship H-Back and have to use tight end A.J. Simmons more in the backfield than they would have liked. Simmons had to play H-Back almost exclusively against Toledo and that was one of the factors Mike Stoops believed hindered the running game. Stoops has said that he feels the running game works best with Simmons on the line and Tutogi in the backfield, either at fullback or as a tight end off the line and in motion.
When Tutogi got hurt in the preseason the Wildcats began working with linebacker/defensive end C.J. Parish as a fullback. The senior had no experience with the position, but got a crash course in the position in fall camp when Tutogi first went down with a high ankle sprain.
Now Parish sits atop the depth chart. He will see time in the Cal game, but it will be interesting to see how much they allow him to do. Parish admitted to the media that he has had a few too many drops in practice.
Don’t expect Parish to get carries, or factor into the passing game, but he’ll certainly be used as a blocker.
It is yet another move for Parish who has had a crazy college career. Parish was a standout at Blinn College and came to Arizona with a lot of promise. He looked very good at the start of fall camp with his size and physicality, but it soon became apparent that he did not have a great grasp of the defense and was behind the three seniors.
Paris played sparingly his junior year and in the spring the Wildcat coaches experimented with using him at defensive end and the experiment continued in the fall before they started also trying him at fullback.