Rich Rodriguez's debut defense at Arizona will feature:
*A walk-on true sophomore starting at defensive back—and in the critical Bandit role.
*A halfback doubling as a pass-rush specialist.
*A defensive line whose best player was on the scout team last year.
*One of the team's best safeties playing linebacker.
Those aren't the only issues, but in an unforgiving offensive conference like the Pac-12, that's enough to stir panic at the possibility of coughing up an average of 40 points per game.
The Wildcats came within a touchdown of doing just that last year, allowing over 35 per along with 460-plus yards of offense. That was before losing the program's best cover corner, Trevin Wade, and almost everything up front.
Rodriguez owns no illusions about what's going to hurt his crew in 2012 (via SI.com):
"The best way to compete is to have good players. I think we have some, but I don't know if we have enough. We've got to identify our problems and then work like crazy to fix them. And that's what we're doing."
Arizona's offense, on the other hand, does seem to own talent—including a couple players of the potential-star variety in running back Ka'Deem Carey and quarterback Matt Scott—and should score at a Pac-12 caliber.
It's the defense that appears to have multiple severe issues that could rank it among the worst in the school's history.
Here are five reasons why Arizona's defense is in trouble: