T.V. HenryContributor ISeptember 11, 2009

1 JAN 1991:  Temple Owls mascot looks on during a game against the George Washington University Colonials played in the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger  /Allsport

Week 1 victory has ominous trends for Arizona




As we go into week 2, after a week of positive spin by the Arizona coaching staff, we’ll see how they address the issues of obvious concern on the offensive side of the football. Chief among these are:


Arizona has no explosion without Rob Gronkowski- Central Michigan did hold an FBS  opponent to less than 20 last year. . .Temple. No platitudes about “ball control” can mask the fact that he Arizona offense had only two plays of 20 or more yards against team that finished 104th in total defense last year. This might because . . .


Arizona has little confidence in Matt Scott, none in Nick Foles-When you get beyond the coaches speak, this becomes abjectly obvious.


The Chippewas returned nearly everyone from a defense that finished 118 out 119 in pass defense last year. With senior quarterback Willie Tuitama departed, and a demonstrably outstanding defense, THIS is the game you see what both (or either) guys can do. Now, had they started the season against Iowa, it would have made sense to simplify the playbook. Instead, even when it became clear the Chippewas offense was outclassed, they put the clamps on Scott completely.


Of course, the opportunities to create early confidence for Scott presented themselves early. Arizona started 4 drives inside the Central Michigan 48 . . .in the first quarter. And all the Wildcats had to show for it was 2 field goals. It’s as if Jessica Biel flirted with them early at a party, and they decided to stay there to see “if something better develops.”


Offensive Coordinator Sonny Dykes had a rare loss of linguistic coordination last month when, after a practice, he remarked, “[Foles and Scott] both looked lousy.”  Maybe he was on to something. Both kids can be excused given how superb the first team defense they practice against is. But CMU is not even Washington State on the defensive side. On the other hand, if they wanted to protect Matt Scott, the short screen to the best playmakers, Antolin and Grigsby, are the best bet, getting them out in space. Speaking of those two . . .


Arizona’s Offensive Line had no push-In addition to the early drives that started in Central Michigan territory and stalled, the first and third drive after halftime stalled at the 26 and 20, respectively. Keep in mind, this was the 49th ranked FBS run defense last year, with nearly everyone back. In a pass-first MAC, that’s like being 90th or worse. They have the smallest defensive line Arizona will face this year. The 3rd quarter is when you break a team like this, and the 12-20 yard runs start coming like a rain torrent. This line it seems, lacks mean, something they’ll have to have in conference when that crucial first down comes down to hitting somebody in the mouth late


The 13.5 spread was predicated on the belief that Dan Lefevour would put together a couple of touchdown drives. But the starters, having exceeded expectation, were on the field way too long protecting a lead that should have been 30. The Temple Owls aren't good in the MAC. They'd be brutalized in the Pac-10.