Five Things We Learned This Week: Arizona Wildcats Spring Game
1. Position Battles Still Wide Open
What we saw from the spring game is that all of the jobs that were open before are still open now.
All three linebacker positions are open, though it seems that Derek Earls has all but locked up the spot in the middle. Arizona played five other linebackers to try and get a look at who could step up and make an impact on the field. No other linebacker looks to have a secured spot. (Jake Fischer and RJ Young got the most first team reps)
The safety position opposite Robert Golden and both defensive tackle positions are open as well.
Safety Adam Hall had an excellent game as he was all over the field but Joe Perkins took most of the first team reps, with Anthony Wilcox also getting an extended look.
At defensive tackle it is still anyone's game, but Lolomana Mikaele seems to have secured himself a significant role in the rotation. Otherwise, it is a wide open battle.
Marcus Benjamin seems to be in the driver seat for the corner position opposite Trevin Wade.
There was a constant shuffling of players as they seemed to mix and match to get a feel of who could mesh well with the other players the best.
2. Sloppy Play Highlights Spring Game
The offense was very sloppy from start to finish.
In the first three plays, Ricky Elmore had "sacked" Nick Foles twice. The Bash Brothers (Elmore and Brooks Reed) combined for three sacks on the day.
On the day the quarterback play was very inconsistent and receivers dropped too many wide open passes. Combined, the quarterbacks threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Not all of the sloppy plays were on offense, though. The defense missed tackles and let the running backs get extra yards where the could have gotten stops.
None of this comes as a shock. It is April and this team still has a lot of kinks to work out before the first game of the season, just like every other team in the country.
3. Vanilla Playbook in Full Effect
Mike Stoops admitted after the game to not wanting to show anything in the game.
This puts the offense at a big disadvantage because it limits what they are doing and what they have been practicing.
Stoops and Co. have done this in the past, and while it limits the film that can be built up for opponents to use, it also makes for a very bland game that doesn't show the public what they can expect for the season.
Wildcat fans, don't worry, though. They'll still be able to put up large numbers on the scoreboard this season.
4. Taimi Tutogi Getting a Real Shot At Running Back Position
If there was one player that stood out during the spring practice it was Taimi Tutogi.
The 260-pound fullback was put on display in every aspect of the offense at the Spring Game. He blocked, ran, and caught the ball.
Tutogi ran the ball more than any other running back on Arizona's roster. He also made the biggest play of the game, a 73-yard catch where he dragged the defender 15 yards before being piled on.
The Wildcats really like what Tutogi brings to the offense and don't be surprised to see him as the goal-line back pounding it into the endzone.
Tutogi was used very little his freshman season but expect to see a lot of the bruising back this upcoming season.
5. "Cheetah" Put on Display
Arizona's new defensive co-coordinators have implemented a new defensive scheme and they call it Cheetah.
They call it that because it puts three or four defensive ends on the defensive line and six defensive backs on the field.
This will likely be used in third-and-long situations, utilizing speed to put pressure on the quarterback. It will be a fun defensive scheme to watch. When it was used in the spring game, you could feel the buzz on the defensive sideline to show it off for the first time.
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