After a Thanksgiving Day with the in-laws and some awful football games, I present you some thoughts on Wildcat sports while basking in my post-turkey glow.
Credit Vanderbilt. The Commodores kept adjusting all game long and finally found some strategies for which Sean Miller’s young charges had no answer. It’s not that Miller couldn’t think of the proper tactics, it was pretty apparent the team is not vested enough into the system to have a lot of the offense and defense implemented. Give the Cats a few more weeks and they might have had an answer.
One thing Vanderbilt was able to do is throw larger, athletic players at Nic Wise. It was very similar to what Lute Olson used to do with Michael Dickerson and Richard Jefferson. Both of those players were quick enough that they could keep up with fast point guards, but long enough that they really disrupted the passing lanes and made it tough for the shorter players to shoot. The good news is that I am not sure how many players in the Pac-10 have both the size and supreme quickness to stymie Wise.
Derrick Williams and Solomon Hill are legit. They both have a lot to learn and are far from finished products, but both players could have cracked the rotation on just about every Lute Olson team. The same can’t be said about MoMo Jones and Kyryl Natyazhko. Both are talented and seemed poised to have great Wildcat careers, both are probably playing bigger roles than ideally they should. Jones is ahead of Kyryl, but still has a lot to learn about running the offense and making good decision. Natyazhko just doesn’t have a good feel for the game. He is often out of position and is still building up his fundamentals.
Does anyone care about the ASU/UA football game? They hype for this game is at a recent low. A good part of that has to do with the fact that ASU fans just do not care about this football team. The Devils will suffer their second losing season in a row, the first time that has happened since the 1940’s, and they do not play a very interesting brand of football. Offensively they are a train wreck and a pretty good defense is not putting butts in the seats at Sun Devil Stadium. Add to that, the fact that Arizona still has an upcoming game against USC and you have a game that is slow in building the hype.
While he hasn’t said much, you have to assume that Nic Foles is amped up to play the Sun Devils. He was essentially forced out after verbally committing to Dirk Koetter before he was fired. While Foles seems thrilled with how things have worked out you can bet he’d like to show Dennis Erickson that he made a mistake. My guess is that Foles eclipses the 300-yard mark.
A number of callers to the 1290 postgame show which I co-host were upset that the Wildcat offense went conservative late in the loss to Oregon. After a fourth down stop with about 6:00 to play, the Cats picked up one first down, but needed two more to ice the game. The Ducks got the ball back and the rest was history. While there is some validity to the feeling that the Cats were two conservative, many of those same fans were upset in both the Washington and Cal games that the Cats were throwing late. You can’t have it both ways.
It was a pretty nice recruiting haul for the football team over the weekend. They landed three defensive linemen. One, Muhamed Usman, is a junior college player who originally verballed to Houston out of high school Willie Mobley is at a junior college right now, but is not playing and is essentially transfer from Ohio State, the school he played for as a true freshman. The third is a sleeper from Northern California who does not have a lot of hype, but there are some who have seen him who think he has a chance to really surprise. The Cats quickly bolstered a group that loses two key starters and has a number of upperclassmen.